Race Radios

Steve_HKmtrsprts

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I am looking into getting a race radio. I was wondering if I could get some feedback. I will be using it to chase with. I was planning on getting a PCI Roadmaster. But have heard of the Kenwood and something called a Vector? Any info on prices, durability and reception would be great.
Thanks All
 

tkr

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We have the Kenwood TM261A 's in our chase truck and main pit. In our experience they work every bit as well as the Roadmasters. And being able to key in a frequency, and monitor two at once is a great benefit. You do need to open it up and cut the W1or W2 wire though...I can't remember which one it was. I'm sure someone else here will remember. I understand there are some issues though with using it without a license, since it is an amatuer radio.
As for durability, I've had the one in my truck for about two years now with no problems. I know more than one team has used them in their race trucks without problems as well. I personally would only use them for chase...don't seem tough enough for the abuse of a race vehicle. They were about $160 when we last bought one.

Note to PCISCOTT - we still have a Roadmaster in the race car and three others in chase trucks ;-)

Matt Nelson
Team Kwik Racing
 

Kritter

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I like the Kenwood as well. I would say it is very durable and with the frequency changeability I think it is awesome. I use it to chase with. Roadmasters are excellent for race, a bit pricey for chase in my opinion and don't have on-the-go changeability.

I was wondering while on this topic, what should be looked for in a chase radio besides durability? I see ads for all sorts of different radios but I never have taken the time to decipher between them. Is it only the frequency range we need or is their more to it then that? Fill me in

Kris
<A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.animalhousedesigns.net>Animal House</A>
 

frankh

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You need to look at these specs:

Power Out (in watts) higher the better

Receive Sensitivity (be careful on this one they use different ways I.e.: some use 12 db and some use 20db as a reference) the lower the better

Selectivity (in db) the higher the better
 

Kritter

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Is it trus that for every watt you get about a mile? I heard that before but was raluctant to believe it.

Kris
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Waldo

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That is the rumor...however, that is line of site (no hills, mountains or buildings in the way).

I have had a Kenwood TMV7A since '97 and have had nothing but positive performance. The Kenwood 261a is good also because both of these radios have dual bands and you can program your memory channels plenty! I have about fifty to seventy-five off-road and repeater channels in my radio's memory. You can also set different PL tones to talk only with certain race traffic or chase traffic (if both radios are programed the with the same tone).

As far as not having an "amatuer radio operator's" license, I know many people who have ham radios adn chase with them. They do not have their licenses. If you don't have your license, you cannot use public repeaters. Some of these "repeaters" have phone capabilities (autopatch) and you have to access them through a club or have you license and specific frequency and tones. I have a "no-code" license that cost me $6.25 to acquire. I bought a few books and studied for the test. There are several places to take the test in CA.

The radio does have to be "tweeked" in order to transmit and receive the majority of the off-road freqs. THIS IS ILLEGAL but is done on a regular basis. PM me if you want more info!

BRAAAAAAAAP!
 

JCA

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I use the Yeasu radios for chase. Basically the same as the Kenwood unit. Has always worked well for me and cost was about $200.00 for everything including ant. at Hamms Radio Outlet in Kerney Mesa. They have the Kenwoods as well. Sorry dont have the number with me.

J.C. Andrews
Andrews Racing
www.andrewsracing.com
 

mgobaja

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The Yeasu radios are also computer programmable, so any time you feel like changing channels you can do so. Ham Radio Outlet also sells handhelds that offer the same feature at around $ 150. All of these radios are nonbuisness band and are in "illegal" to use in a non-ham type manner. After they are modified they will work in the frequency range that is used by most race teams. From what I have seen they dont work very well in a race vehicle : difficult to hook to an intercomm, and too many features to mess with during a race. They do make bithcin chase radios though.
 

Kritter

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So are you using a handheld or regular? What model?

Kris
<A target="_blank" HREF=http://www.animalhousedesigns.net>Animal House</A>
 

mgobaja

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I use a handheld. I used to have a Maxon ( Roadmaster ) and a Yeasu. Both had there uses and both performed flawlessly when needed. The advantage with a PCI or RLH is that both offer onsite repair and adjustment at races if needed and thats the downside with the modified ham radios. But for the price of the ham radios you can buy 3 of them for the price of 1 PCI or RLH radio. The handheld I have is a Vertex.
 

BIG_FAT_LOSER

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I checked with the ham radio outlet website and the Kenwood TM-261a is only $169.95. Is this the radio you were speaking of?

<font color=red>PAT KAPKO</font color=red>
<font color=yellow>Fab by travolta</font color=yellow>
 

ntsqd

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Along this topic, I see periodic questions about the radios, but never anything about the antennas. If CB is anything to judge by, you can make or break the system with antenna choice. A good antenna can sometimes make a poor radio usable, but a poor antenna makes the best radio marginal.
Does this hold true in these freq's ? Any antenna recommendations ?

TS

"Teach you all I know and you're still stupid"
-- Howdy Lee
 

frankh

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here is the formula to calculate the free space loss. line of site only

Free Space Loss = 20Log10(Frequency in MHz) 20Log10 (Distance in Miles) 36.6

as you see it has the log function in it so the 1 watts to 1 mile does not pan out. but a closer rule would be for every 6db of power gain you can double the distance. 1 watt = 30 db ,2 watts = 33 db, 4 watts = 36 db.

a good receiver can see a -100 db signal. So if you calculate it out you would see in a perfect world we could talk around almost any course. but the true is ,it is not perfect.
 

tkr

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Yup, that's it.

Matt Nelson
Team Kwik Racing
 

Waldo

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Antennas and how they are mounted can play a factor into range and clarity. I have mine mounted on the top of my cab (good grounding plane). Drilled a hole and use a Comet SBB-2NMO 146/446MHZ (dual band) mobile antenna with an NMO connector. The gain db is 2.15/3.8 but the antenna is only 18" tall.

You can get a much taller antenna like the Comet SBB-7NMO 146/446MHZ (dual band) mobile antenna that has a db of 4.5/7.2. This one is over four feet tall and might not hold up to off-road abuse.

I chose the "middle of the road" model for my needs. It does plenty well up and down the state of CA. My radio also has different power settings. Low around town to use on local repeaters and high (40W) in the dez when playing.

BRAAAAAAAAP!
 

frankh

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Most of Kenwood Business radios have this function in an add-on board and then Kenwood sells a gps unit. I have two of this and a base this allows me to track two vehicles on a laptop. The system works great but only as good as your radio coverage
 

Jack

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What is also nice to do is get a dual band mobil and a hand held for the band you are not using, then put the mobil on your race frequency and one in the other band then put it in crosband repeat mode then you can use your handheld for within a 1/2 mile of the truck and be able to talk though the mobil to trucks many miles away.
 

BIG_FAT_LOSER

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Just bought the Kenwood TM-261a last night on line, waitin for it to get to me. Now, do I need it programmed or can the frequencies be entered manually? New at this. Mainly be using for helping with MDR races.

<font color=red>PAT KAPKO</font color=red>
<font color=yellow>Fab by travolta</font color=yellow>
 
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