Handheld Radios

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Fellow_Pilot, Nov 6, 2017.

  1. Fellow_Pilot

    Fellow_Pilot Filing Flight Plan

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    Is there a handheld radio that can receive and transmit on both AM and FM frequencies? Basically is there a handheld that can be used as both an aviation and ham radio? It's just that I find it rather inconvenient to need multiple radios for multiple purposes. Thanks!
     
  2. GaryV

    GaryV Pre-takeoff checklist

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    There are but I doubt that it’s legal. It’s very unlikely that they would type certify a radio for both purposes. Many of the multiband handhelds can be easily modified to transmit out of band for whatever system it’s designed for and there are (or were) icom and yeasu handhelds that could transmit in multiple modes.

    Gary
     
  3. Justin M

    Justin M Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I had one when I was a kid, but that was decades ago. It was very very low power, had a very poor internal antenna and seemed ancient when I obtained it from a garage sale. I had dreams of skipping via the ionosphere to Europe or Australia. I think my neighbor once spoke fake Russian to me, it was the highlight of my experience.
     
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  4. wilkersk

    wilkersk Line Up and Wait

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    I have a 2m/70cm handheld. It is receive only for 118-138mhz. I'm not positive, but I think its an FCC requirement.
     
  5. Axtel4

    Axtel4 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The only one I am aware of is the Yeasu VXA-700, but it is discontinued. They show up on eBay from time to time.
     
  6. tawood

    tawood Cleared for Takeoff

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    I’ve done the research and the Yaesu VXA-700 is the only radio made by the big four that do what you’re asking. But, the reviews say it doesn’t work well. I wanted one for awhile but then asked myself...why? I seriously doubt it would be much help in a communications emergency...
     
  7. Dana

    Dana Pre-takeoff checklist

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    AM and FM have nothing to do with frequency, it's how the signal is modulated. The entire transmit circuitry is different.

    It's possible to mod some FM transmitters to transmit on the aviation frequencies, a friend of mind did it with a Yaesu (not legally!), but it was almost unintelligible when received on a standard aircraft receiver, as it was still using FM and the aircraft receiver is AM.
     
  8. Axtel4

    Axtel4 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    IIRC someone was sanctioned by the FCC for interfering with aircraft communications at a large airport. They learned the guy used a VXA-700 to cause the interference. As a result result, I believe, Yeasu was fined and they pulled the unit from the market. It didn't matter that the unit was type accepted.
     
  9. wrbix

    wrbix Cleared for Takeoff

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    I have, and find very useful around KCDK, a WestMarine VHF250 handheld - receives marine, aircraft, AM, FM, and weather bands. Waterproof. Only transmits on Marine.
    Don't think a similar radio is made anymore but this one comes up on eBay from time to time.
     
  10. Salty

    Salty Cleared for Takeoff

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    Are you saying you transmitted FM, and were able to hear anything resembling the spoken word on an AM receiver?

    Or am I totally misunderstanding you?
     
  11. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Actually, most of the radios just do everything in software now. It's no big thing to support both AM and FM. Nearly every handheld out there has at least an FM receiver in it (they need this to receive the NWS broadcast frequencies). My VERTEX STANDARD 710 has both 2M ham and aviation band. The newer versions sub in GMRS for the HAM band.
     
  12. dmspilot

    dmspilot Pattern Altitude

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    Considering I can hear the AWOS on my car stereo when I drive past the transmitter, I believe he is saying that.
     
  13. Salty

    Salty Cleared for Takeoff

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    How can that possibly work? You're listening to an am station and pick up an fm signal as more than static?
     
  14. dmspilot

    dmspilot Pattern Altitude

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    I don't know how it works, just that it does :eek:
    Yes I can hear it and it is understandable.
     
  15. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    There's some interesting effects that occur if you're really close to the station. Indeed an FM receiver will receiver the AM modulation. Not the greatest in the world and relies on the fact your car radio, as far as FM receivers go, is a piece of crap.
     
  16. Dana

    Dana Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Correct, he transmitted on his FM transmitter and I could hear it, sort of, on my Icom aircraft handheld, but it was garbled to the point I could barely make it out... sometimes. OTOH, years ago I had a Radio Shack aircraft band receiver and I could clearly pick up FM stations near the top of the FM band (FM broadcast ends at 108 mHz, which is where the aircraft band starts).

    It makes sense if you think about it... FM is frequency modulation, which works by varying the frequency around the nominal center frequency. Since at least part of the time the transmitted signal will be on or passing through the center, an AM receiver tuned to that frequency will pick it up. That portion of the signal where the frequency is within the tolerance of the AM tuning will appear to the radio as if it's amplitude modulated (AM). A tightly tuned crystal controlled AM receiver won't get much so it will be clipped and distorted, but the cheapo Radio Shack with its looser variable tuning got more of it.
     
  17. Dana

    Dana Pre-takeoff checklist

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    No, that's the other way around... the AWOS is an AM broadcast, and his car stereo's FM receiver picked it up. I know I once heard an aircraft transmission on an old (tube based) FM receiver, it must have been right overhead.
     
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  18. Salty

    Salty Cleared for Takeoff

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    Ok, that makes more sense. I was thinking the other way round