One of the things I really dig about the HAM network is a lot of long-time users have shaped the modern technology we have today — such as, packet radio digital transmissions. HAM operators experimented with the transfer of voluminous information at a fast and efficient rate over the frequency bands and spurred on many derivate technological products and procedures we have today.
The cellular networks started from analog much like the way the HAM network is today. Eventually, the cellular mobile phone companies moved to digital communications, which, we, of course, use today via our Androids and iOS mobile devices.
So, the ingenuity of the HAM operators managed to blend the HAM network into the existing digital technology that exists today. Through HAM transceivers, we can send text messages, images, and utilize a digital networks to enhance clarity and distance in our communications — through our transceivers, we can have a conversation from the US with people in Europe, the Orient, and anywhere else in the world. The communication is crystal clear just like our mobile phones — quite a change from 70s whereby HAM operators only had their transceivers and antennas to communicate with people within the US and with the rest of the world. Now, HAM operators can link their transceivers to the internet and communicate with anyone in the world with clarity and efficiency.
Unlike mobile phones, HAM transceivers can still operate in analog mode if a major catastrophe hits a city and knocks out the cellular network and internet connections. HAM transceivers will no longer be able to utilize the digital networks if a catastrophe or war knocks out the power grid; but, HAM transceivers can still transmit communications over the airwaves — not so with mobile devices.
I’m a tech geek; and, I love learning and exploring new technological stuff. I love finding solutions to meet my own specific needs. My bar is high; so, when I engage in something like HAM operations, I must know the benefits of the operations to my specific needs; and, as I’ve come to learn from my HAM mentors and from my own personal experiences, there are many benefits to using HAM transceivers, which, by the way, is also really fun and cool.
My first HAM transceiver was the Yaesu VX-6R; and, to this day, I assert it is one of the best amateur products in the market from hand-held transceivers. It is not too big, but it is substantial; and, it is reliable for mission critical operations and for just having fun doing a rag-chew with another HAM operator.
Three months later, I learned about GPS and digital hand-held transceivers that are perfect for search and rescue and search and find operations. I learned about the reliability and efficiency of the digital network; and, the digital network I decided to invest time to learn are: Yaesu’s System Fusion and Motorola’s Mototrbo DMR. Let me make a distinction here…I asserted that Yaesu makes one of the best amateur hand-held transceivers; and, I stand by my assertion.
Now, I will make another assertion…Motorola makes the best hand-held transceivers. Motorola, which I will get into greater detail in another BLOG, is a commercial and professional transceiver used specifically for construction workers, transportation workers (e.g., MUNI and Yellow Cab), LEOs, Secret Service, hotel worker, military forces, and federal government employees. Motorola does not make amateur transceivers — they make professional transceivers.
Do amateur operators, like I, use Motorola transceivers for HAM operations — sure — but, it ain’t easy to do; and, an amateur operator must understand the specific purpose of a Motorola transceiver before using it for HAM operations — as mentioned, I will go over that in another BLOG.
So, with this distinction, I return to my initial assertion, Yaesu makes one of the best amateur hand-held transceivers.
I really dig this digital and analog hand-held transceiver by Yaesu. The FT1XDR has so many easy-to-use packed features to address pretty much any HAM operator throws at it for a variety of different operations.
Need to track your directions so you can back-track in the event you get lost in the woods? Yup — the FT1XDR has GPS.
Need to talk to another operator that only has an analog transceiver? Yup — the FT1XDR automatically switches between digital and analog depending on the transmission.
Need to access a digital network to send text messages, a picture, or download news? Yup — the FT1XDR is part of the System Fusion WiresX digital network.
For about $260, the Yaesu FT1XDR gives me the best of two worlds — digital and analog with dual band capacity.
Will it be the last hand-held transceiver you ever purchase? Could be, but you will probably, like I, purchase other transceivers as you get into HAM operations; but, I guarantee, it will be one of your go-to hand-held transceivers among the many others you will collect over time.
So, if you’re considering in getting into the digital network, check out the Yaesu FT1XDR.
/s/ Alfonso Faustino (K6ASF/AG)