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Race/Pit Radio Questions

Discussion in 'Shop - Electrical' started by pwerwagn, Apr 26, 2012.

  1. pwerwagn

    pwerwagn Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Location:
    Bosque Farms, NM
    Ive searched a lot on here and dezert rangers and stuff and havent found my answer...

    I just bought a race radio from PCI for the 1450 truck. 75 watt kenwood, full package with intercom and junk. I want to buy a cheap (way cheap if possible) pit/base camp kinda thing for our race in a week so that we can actually use the radio in the truck.

    I went to our local radio shop and they said the cheapest they could set me up for was 700$ for a chinese pos...and then I would have to pay for tower time because of the frequencies we are using??? I have done a lot of searching and the yaesu looks like a decently cheap radio to get us by for this race, but im told if I mod it to tx on the freq's the pci tx's on, its illegal? I did read somewhere that the "race org's purchase time on race days" but no more clarification on that. Im sure our race org isnt purchasing anything from anyone as far as radio freq's go.

    Im just totally confused. I just want a radio that I can talk to the pits from our race truck and its turned into a hassle and $$$$$$ (name of the game, right?).

    Anyone have any suggestions or a used cheap radio they want to sell or something?

    Thanks in advance.

    Jeff
     
  2. CoxTeamRacing

    CoxTeamRacing Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Location:
    Coto, CA
  3. az_amsoil

    az_amsoil Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2010
    Location:
    Gilbert, AZ
    I cannot confirm nor deny that I've "modded" any radio I own...
     
  4. Broncodawg

    Broncodawg Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2007
    Location:
    Bishop, CA
    Not to lead you away from PCI, as they are great, but the Yaesu FT2900 is a good little programmable radio that puts out 75 watts and was only $185. Yes, have to mod it, but anyone who can solder can do it easily and all the freqs. used by race teams are used by businesses, so just don't use the freqs when back in the city. Beauty of the modded hams is they are easily programmable in the field to add any new freq. you get. Hook the radio to a spare battery, throw a mag mount antenna on the roof, external speaker, and you have a base station for your pit.
     
  5. Old Uncle Larry

    Old Uncle Larry Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Location:
    Huntington Beach, CA
    I'm curious as to which 75 watt radio you are putting in your race truck?
     
  6. pwerwagn

    pwerwagn Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Location:
    Bosque Farms, NM
    Im aware they sell radios...I spent ~1500$ with them last week buying all the stuff I need for the truck.

    This is sort of what I am leaning towards. Are there any cheaper options in handheld that will tx/rx ~15-20 miles or so? Or are the handhelds limited in range??

    Pretty sure its this one:
    http://www.pciraceradios.com/ProductDetail.jsp?LISTID=6266722988498781953
     
  7. az_amsoil

    az_amsoil Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2010
    Location:
    Gilbert, AZ
    Rule of thumb is 1mile=1Watt, so a handheld is only going to get you about 5 miles in a near perfect world (5W handheld). Best use of a handheld is in the pit (you can talk to the driver/co driver over all the noise). I used the FT2900 with great success, the only reason I got rid of it was I needed a dual band (VHF & UHF) radio, but again Yaesu had a solution that works great!

    If you mount the antenna on a tower, you'll get better range. Buddy built this little jem for KOH http://www.utvunderground.com/f56/remote-race-dune-radio-setup-8975.html

    Me and the other chase vehicle were talking to each other 40 miles apart (my Yaesu FT-8900R in my truck and he was using the mobile setup with tower).
     
  8. pwerwagn

    pwerwagn Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Location:
    Bosque Farms, NM
    Awesome!!! Is the mod to make the 2900 tx on the freq's I need the same as the mod for the 2800? I found the 2800 de-solder mod, doesnt specify if its for the 2900 or not.

    Thanks for all the help guys.
     
  9. pwerwagn

    pwerwagn Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Location:
    Bosque Farms, NM
    Anyone have a 2800 or 2900 they want to part with? Or something CHEAP that will work for what I wanna do?
     
  10. High4

    High4 Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2010
    Location:
    East County San Diego CA
    Picked this one up at HRO in San Diego WITH mag mount vehicle antenna, out the door for less than 200 bucks.
    http://www.hamradio.com/detail.cfm?pid=H0-011362

    The guys at HRO will give you a sheet from Kenwood that describes how to mod the radio for extended Tx; I was concerned they would hassle me for modding the radio (HAM guys can get weird), but the guy was very helpful when I asked about it. He even told me how many inches to trim off the antenna mast to tune it for the range I wanted.

    You can read about the mod here:
    http://forums.radioreference.com/amateur-radio-equipment/220926-kenwood-tm-281a.html
     
  11. az_amsoil

    az_amsoil Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2010
    Location:
    Gilbert, AZ
  12. x9racer

    x9racer Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2004
    Location:
    kingman az
    I had a 2800 that was modified and it worked good when I was not next to other teams transmitting . When another radio would transmit in the next pit my radio would silent and not receive . I then got a icom f-121 and have never had the problem again . I was told that amateur radios that are modified do not have the signal rejection for hi power radios transmitting close .
     
  13. pwerwagn

    pwerwagn Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Location:
    Bosque Farms, NM
    Awesome, thanks for all the helpful info guys. Looks like I just need to decide between the kenwood 281 and the yaesu 2900.

    Thanks again!

    --Jeff
     
  14. Waldo

    Waldo Safehouse

    Joined:
    May 15, 2001
    Location:
    Ladera Ranch, CA
    Please educate yourself (& crew) about Radio etiquette when using ANY radio (mod or not) during events. There are plenty of resources between RDC, UTV-U, DR, PCI, etc... to rummage through regarding proper usage & installation of your radio package(s). Makes a HUGE difference when needing to communicate effectively!!! Thanks in advance...

    BTW ~ Both radios you have listed are good... As a HRO, I favor Yaesu.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2012
  15. pwerwagn

    pwerwagn Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Location:
    Bosque Farms, NM
    Will do Waldo. Thanks for the advice.

    I think Im going to get a Yaesu and not mod it. Now I understand I can RX w/o any mods...so that will work fine. If the pit radio can hear the race truck...thats my main concern. Thanks guys.

    If I ever need the Yaesu to TX on that freq, is it legal if a HRO mods it? Or is there no legal way to do it w/o buying one thats setup that way? Id prefer to stay legal...
     
  16. Broncodawg

    Broncodawg Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2007
    Location:
    Bishop, CA
    Not legal no matter who does it, but you won't get caught unless you pull some dumass move and continue transmitting on some company freq in the city. Almost never hear business radio uses at the races, so don't sweat modding it. Only being able to hear your racer and not transmit back will drive you nuts in no time....haha Google FT2900 mod and simple desolder probably identical to 2800, but don't quote me.
     
  17. Weatherman

    Weatherman The voice of desert racing

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2003
    Location:
    Parker, AZ / P C I Race Radios, Signal Hill, CA
    You are spot on! The cheap amature band radios lack the expensive reciever parts that filter out cross channel interference and inter-modulation. In other words, all the unwanted signals entering a cheap unfiltered radio. The proliferation of these cheap radios has cut down everyones range due to the amount of re-broadcast messages as the cheap reciever can't hear near as well as a comercial band radio in any high radio frequency enviorment, such as any crowded pit area.

    If you don't believe me take the covers off any cheap radio and compare the amount of parts against a commercial ICOM or KENWOOD radio. These are the more expensive reciever filters. Also read the fine print the FCC requires on cheap recievers, "this device must accept any interference recieved, including interference that may cause undesired operation". And finally IT IS ILLEGAL FOR ANYONE TO MODIFY THESE RADIOS FOR USE IN THE COMMERCIAL BAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
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  18. pwerwagn

    pwerwagn Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Location:
    Bosque Farms, NM
    Awesome!! Thanks Weatherman, and happy belated bday!!

    Im curious...how can PCI/Rugged/etc sell radios that can tx on those freq's without requiring me to have a hamm license? Or am I missing something totally, and the radio I bought doesnt?
     
  19. Weatherman

    Weatherman The voice of desert racing

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2003
    Location:
    Parker, AZ / P C I Race Radios, Signal Hill, CA
    Ham / amature licenses are for amature radios. A commercial radio needs a commercial license and there are a variety of frequencies that you could qualify for and there is no test. Call Scott at P C I - 800-869-5636.
     
  20. SoCalRally

    SoCalRally Member

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2004
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    While I am sure the receive selectivity & receive sensitivity of commercial business band radios is better than that of amateur ham radios for business band frequencies, I have found that amateur ham radios (most of which have extended frequency receive capability, at the expense of some narrowband performance tradeoff) work acceptably for business band _receive only_ applications, e.g. just monitoring Weatherman, _when used with a properly selected, tuned & installed antenna_.

    However, things become much more complicated when one introduces the desire to transmit into the equation. Legalities aside, the transmit section of amateur ham radios are not optimized for business band frequencies. All the internal components e.g. bandpass filters etc. in the TX section are optimized for the narrow range of ham radio frequencies (144 - 148 MHz), rather than business band frequencies (150 - 174 MHz). While those frequencies may seem close, a ham radio opened up to transmit on business band frequencies will likely exhibit severely degraded performance vs. a commercial business band radio purpose-designed for that specific application. This will impact effective TX range, as well as potentially causing interference with other radios operating on the same & nearby frequencies due to operation outside of design spec, something witnessed by PCI in both lab & practical applications.

    While PCI, and other vendors, do have a vested interest in trying to sell business band radios, this is also a matter of using the right tool for the right job, as well as being friendly neighbors (i.e. not dirtying up the airwaves for everyone else). The customer service & support provided by PCI is unrivalled in the offroad racing industry, and the often thankless hours of service provided by Weatherman, especially at the Baja races, should encourage anyone considering a business band radio for offroad racing applications to strongly consider PCI for equipment purchases (and the accompanying support for equipment purchased from them).
     
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