[POLL] Handheld Radio in your plane

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Ravioli, Mar 7, 2021.

?

Describe the handheld radio in your plane:

Poll closed Apr 7, 2021.
  1. 1. Com only

    33.1%
  2. 2. Nav/Com

    29.1%
  3. 3. Nav/Com/GPS

    7.1%
  4. 4. I don't remember, it's always in my flight bag

    4.7%
  5. 5. It keeps dead batteries from rolling around

    7.1%
  6. 6. I don't have one

    18.9%
  1. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Some discussion of which handheld is best got me thinking about a couple things. One is the subject of this poll. But I'm curious:

    For those who chose answers 1 thru 5: Do you use your handheld to monitor Guard like we're all encouraged to do? I think that would be a better habit than using com2 since it wouldn't distract from the other uses for #2 and you don't have to remember to switch back to Guard after getting the weather or whatever you were doing. (I know, usually a flip flop button)

    For answer 6: Would using it this way encourage you to spend ~$500 for nice toy that you have gotten by without just fine for oh so many hours?
     
  2. chemgeek

    chemgeek Pattern Altitude

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    I have an ancient Sporty's unit that has both COM and NAV capability. In today's world, the COM function is unnecessary as everyone who flies should have backup EFB/GPS on a tablet or smartphone for emergencies. Therefore the portable radio is really only needed for emergency COM. For ease of use, it is advisable to have a headset adapter for the portable COM so you can pipe audio into your headsets, and use the headset microphone. (To really make it useful, one should consider installing an external antenna adaptor in the panel to attach the portable to in an emergency. Otherwise your transmit range is pretty short.) I keep the portable COM and the headset adapter handy in an easily accessible outer pocket of my flight bag. I have never had to use the portable COM in an emergency, but I often use it to obtain pre-taxi VFR and IFR clearances so I don't have to start the engine or deplete the plane battery.

    I don't use the portable in flight to monitor guard. (I can easily do that on COM2--COM2 is not usually needed in flight except to monitor ATIS on approach, and maybe to switch to ground after landing. Weather info comes through on FIS-B on my EFB or transponder screen.) Using the portable in flight would only deplete the batteries and lessen its usefulness as an emergency backup. Plus there is the problem in actually hearing it clearly without wiring it up to the audio system.

    I do think it is important to carry emergency COM for IFR and for that matter, VFR XC. Hope to never need it, though. But there are enough incident accounts where electrical failures and lack of backup COM was a contributing factor to escalating danger.
     
  3. Country Flier

    Country Flier Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Mine stays on a charger in the hangar, only to be taken out on IFR flights. VFR I don't bother. It has a Nav receiver only because I got a good deal on one with Nav, and with all the other navigation options available to me in the advent of an emergency (2 panel mounted GPS, an iPad with cellular with GPS, an iPhone with GPS), the Nav portion is practically useless to me. If I could have gotten a Com only for the price of the Nav/Com handheld, I would have...the Nav just possibly over-complicates things.
     
  4. SoCal RV Flyer

    SoCal RV Flyer En-Route

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    I've got an Icom IC-A16B that I keep in the mapbox for emergencies. Those Li-ion batteries hold their charge for a long time...I'm on a 6-month recharge schedule (with no use). I typically don't monitor Guard, but maybe I should start.
     
  5. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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    I answered #4. Using it to monitor guard while it's in my flight bag is rather inconvenient, so I use COM2 to monitor guard. A radio with a standby monitor function such as an SL30/SL40/GTR225/GNC255/A220/TY96 etc means not having to remember the flip flop button to stay on guard.
     
  6. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    No, having a nice toy for that purpose wouldn't be sufficient.

    I carry it because if everything goes south on the aircraft electrical system I want two things: battery powered communications and battery powered navigation. Hence the radio, and the Foreflight iPad (which also serves as an EFB for the plates, etc.).

    It's less of a risk with the twin, so more of a holdover from owning piston singles. And the portable com is probably less important today, now that we have cell phones and bluetooth to the headset.
     
  7. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    In order to use my handheld for monitoring purposes, I'd have to unplug my headset from the panel. I use the #2 com for guard, the only other thing I use it for is picking up atis/awos.
     
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  8. Lndwarrior

    Lndwarrior Line Up and Wait

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    Carried one in my flight bag for years. Never used it once so I finally sold it.

    If I was flying IFR I would probably want one.
     
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  9. wanttaja

    wanttaja En-Route

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    ICOM ICA5 permanently mounted in the panel, powered by a "battery eliminator" connected to the aircraft 12V bus.
    upload_2021-3-7_12-8-58.png

    Ron Wanttaja
     
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  10. Stan Cooper

    Stan Cooper Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Sporty's PJ2 COM only.
     
  11. TCABM

    TCABM Pattern Altitude

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    Ancient handheld used solely for wx. I’m the a-hole that doesn’t monitor guard unless asked by ATC to do so or hears someone else being asked by ATC to do so.

    Spent too many years forces to monitor 121.5/243.0 in the military to continue monitoring the jackàssery that goes on there. If I need 121.5, it’s just a long press away.
     
  12. Nub_Pilot

    Nub_Pilot Pre-Flight

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    How long have you had the PJ2 and how do you like it? Debating between that and the FTA-250L as a backup COM only since I'm only VFR ever.

    Thanks
     
  13. Stan Cooper

    Stan Cooper Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    I bought it a couple of years ago and like it a lot. My plane has a bubble canopy and I've never had a problem communicating using the rubber duck antenna within 30 or 40 miles line-of-sight of the airport or Approach I'm calling, although I haven't tried to use it to call Center when I'm out in the boonies. Sporty's recently came out with a rechargeable battery pack and charger which I purchased about a month ago; it's always nice to have multiple power sources (AA battery pack, rechargeable battery pack, and USB).

    I previously had fancier Yaesu and ICOM NAV-COM handhelds and didn't use them often enough to memorize the damn menus; the simplicity of the PJ2 is refreshing.
     
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  14. Nub_Pilot

    Nub_Pilot Pre-Flight

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    Thanks for the info and your feedback.
     
  15. Wagondriver

    Wagondriver Pre-Flight

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    I have a handheld, but it never goes with me. With the ability to listen on three frequencies at a time, and talk on two, I don't feel much of a need for a third radio.
     
  16. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Same here. Except that I've also called for the fuel truck before startup. Singing in the plane, of course, so the radio license covers it.

    I have it for emergency purposes.
     
  17. Dana

    Dana Pattern Altitude

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    I used an Icom A24 as the only radio in two airplanes (Kolb ultralight and Fisher 404). The last two planes have had "real" radios so the Icom mostly sits on a shelf at home, except temporarily between the failure of the radio that came with my Hatz and the installation of its replacement. The Icom does VOR, but I never used it.
     
  18. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    A few weeks ago, I left my hand held (Yaesu nav/com) in the hangar while I went for a short flight to test adjustments I had made to the flaps for a chronic heavy right wing. I leveled off at 5,500' and let go of the yoke. Alas I had finally done it, no more heavy wing. I decided to fly a few maneuvers just to kill some time while listening to departure control talk to other aircraft. Suddenly there was a quick squelch break and afterwards, I couldn't hear anything. I tried a radio check with approach and although I could see the RX light up on the radio, I couldn't hear them. I tried the other radio, same thing. I tried turning them off and back on, tried the breakers,... nothing. To lose both radios at the same time was something I'd never experienced before. After ten minutes of fiddling around, I put 7600 in the transponder and pointed my plane towards Tucson. As I neared the Class C boundary I suddenly heard, "...tact Tucson tower" which I assumed was for me. I tuned to tower frequency, transmitted in the blind and got an immediate response. "Cherokee five six six zero uniform runway one one right, cleared to land." My radios, well at least one of them, was working again. I switched to ground and taxied back to my hangar and inspected everything I could think of. Nothing noticeable was wrong. I pulled the audio panel and it was very warm to the touch. We figured that the Garmin 430W which was mounted right below the audio panel (an 11 year old Garmin 340) was getting too hot and fried the audio panel or at least took it partially out of commission.

    Since then, I've installed a blower for the 430 and installed a new PSE 8000BT audio panel. I haven't flown it yet because it was down for annual inspection (signed off today as a matter of fact) but you can bet, I'm taking my hand held with me from now on. I have an antenna adaptor installed which uses the ship's antenna for more range.

    Footnote: They say experience is something you get right after you needed it. I learned that if I had pulled the circuit breaker for the audio panel, it would default back to the radio used as number one comm. I could've only heard audio in one ear but that would be good enough to get back home without the 7600 code in my transponder. I hope someone else learned something from my experience.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2021
  19. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    I'm quite certain my license wouldn't cover me if I started singing in the plane. And there's some folks I know that wouldn't hesitate to declare an emergency in that situation. :)
     
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  20. DFH65

    DFH65 Pattern Altitude

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    It's the only radio in the plane.
     
  21. Stan Cooper

    Stan Cooper Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Electrical system and radio failures happen and you can always go NORDO, but having a battery powered handheld COM with you is cheap insurance.
     
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  22. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    Agree. I was all prepared to get a green light from the tower when my radio suddenly came back from the dead. I've given many light gun signals but had never received one before.
     
  23. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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    Do you ever say "pew pew pew pew!" when giving taxi clearance?
     
  24. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    Nope, it never occurred to me but maybe next time.
     
  25. Pilawt

    Pilawt Final Approach

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    I keep my ancient King KX99 handheld charged up and stowed in the seat back pocket. I needed it in flight a few months ago when my yoke push-to-talk switch failed -- and the OEM hand mic, which hadn't been used in decades, didn't work either.
     
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  26. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    A few years back, in a moment of weakness (or exuberance, I don't remember which) I bought a Yaesu handheld at Oshkosh. COM and NAV. I intended to carry it with me in the plane. I actually tried it out a couple of times in the air. I found that with the "rubber dummy load" antenna, it's virtually useless for COM. Having the headset adapter plugged in silences the speaker, so I don't normally keep it plugged in. I'll occasionally use it for monitoring CTAF or AWOS while in the hangar, but I cheaped out and didn't get the Lithium battery pack -- and this thing sucks AAs dry like a bunch of pilots at a bar. So, it normally sits on the shelf in my office at home. It won't go bad, though, and if I ever do finish the stick and tissue paper (OK, maybe fabric) airplane I'm building I may use it in that.
     
  27. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I doubt the radio license is going to cover the way you sing.
     
  28. Shepherd

    Shepherd En-Route

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    Yaesu FTA-750L. Love it.
     
  29. OneCharlieTango

    OneCharlieTango Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I wouldn't have the first clue how to do that without disconnecting from the panel. Having only the rubber duck, the range is only about 3 miles.
     
  30. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The way I sing, I'd have to be behind a cage if I tried to sing in a bar.
     
  31. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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  32. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    I've always operated out of towered fields, so I've always carried one. I charge it up a couple times a year. I've used it on multiple occasions. Don't need it often but when I do I'm glad to have it.
     
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  33. SoCal RV Flyer

    SoCal RV Flyer En-Route

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    Also, fun to have a handheld comm in the hangar to monitor the CTAF when you're doing maintenance, annual inspection, etc.
     
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  34. Katamarino

    Katamarino Cleared for Takeoff

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    Have never had a need for it in 3,000 hours, VFR and IFR. Lost it, didn't bother replacing it.
     
  35. Ed Haywood

    Ed Haywood Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Had two occasions when I needed a HH but did not have one. If I was smart I would learn from my mistakes. But I don't.
     
  36. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    Two occasions over how many years of flying?

    I used to carry road flares and a tire plug kit in my cars, too.
     
  37. MooneyDriver78

    MooneyDriver78 En-Route

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    Ditto except less hours, if I could find a cheap option just to have one to listen to in the hangar I would, but $200 is a bit rich, I can find marine handhelds for $75 or less.
     
  38. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I carry an IC-A22. I rent, so an external antenna is not an option, but if I hold it up to the window nearest whoever I'm trying to talk to, it works OK. I have a headset adapter for it.

    It originally came with a NiCD battery, but since I bought an NiMH battery for it, it has been MUCH more useful. Since then, I haven't had to contend with the battery dying all the time.

    If I'm going on a long trip, I like to bring along a suction cup mount for the antenna, which makes it more convenient.
     
  39. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    You need it to test the ELT as well.
     
  40. texasclouds

    texasclouds Cleared for Takeoff

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    Cell phone and Bluetooth headset is my backup.