Ham Radio 360: Your 2nd HT. Choices, Options, Reasons…

Almost Every New Ham in the US, it seems, begins their jump into the hobby with the Low-Cost Chinese handi-talkie (HT).  In many cases they soon find themselves looking for a more user-friendly option.  What features do they look for? What’s important-what’s not?

Ed Bradshaw, W4EDF, has some well thought out opinions on the subject and shares them with us in Episode 37.

Ed Bradshaw, W4EDF

You may remember mentions of Ed throughout our programs over the first season.  Well, it’s Season 2 and here he is.  Like most of us new guys, Ed’s working it all out for his specific end goals-with the obligatory stumbling blocks provided by the Game of Life.

This show was not an attempt to disregard the intro-level HT, but a means to help those along looking for an Upgrade.  We all like new toys, right?  After listening to Episode 36, Ed determined it was time to delve into DStar and purchased himself the ICOM I-51a Plus (shown above).

Kenwood TH-D72a

From battery chemistry and charging circuits, to display size and memory banks-we discuss the ins and outs of the higher end Handi-Talkies.  We touch on most current models and try to highlight their commonalities and differences.

Yaesu VX-3R

Not all HT’s are created equal, and if you’ve been licensed for any length of time, you pretty much know that.  Some new operators may need some help wading through the morass of spec’s and that’s the purpose of this show!

Here are some of Ed’s videos, from KF7IJZ

As Mentioned:

Linux in the HamShack Podcast

Episode 36-DStar

ARRL QST Magazine

KF7IJZ You Tube Channel

The ID-51A Plus uses 2.5A while transmitting 5W. The charger is rated at 2A.  That is the reason you don’t want to use it for anything but charging.  You would probably be OK on lower power but it’s best to have a dedicated power source.

Icom says that you can use the car charger for operation but the manual states: “NOTE: Up to 5 W (approximately) of maximum out-put power is possible when using external DC power. However, when the supply voltage exceeds 14 V, the built-in protection circuit activates to reduce the transmit output power to approximately 2.5 W.”
So, as always, check your manual before using your charger during transmit.


Thanks for listening, sharing, subscribing, reviewing and supporting!

73 Y’all



  1. Just listening to the HT podcast that came out today. I love your podcast by the way. I just wanted to share a couple things that were mis-stated about the FT60R.

    1) Weather channels are simple to get to. Hold down the “1” key and the radio will switch the memory bank that’s pre-programmed for the NOAA freqs. Hold it down again to switch back to where you were before.

    2) The included was wart power supply, while charging the radio, will not supply enough power to transmit. However, with a more powerful 12v supply like a cigarette lighter or 12v power supply and an adapter cable, you can indeed transmit while charging.

    I have a FT-60R. While I like it, I am considering an “upgrade” of some sort like you guys were talking about during the podcast.

    Thanks again!

    1. Wayne,
      Great to hear from you! Thanks for clearing up the missteps. We appreciate you listening…now I’m considering an upgrade too!

    2. Thanks Wayne. Yes, I realized I wasn’t as clear with my statements about the external supply after the interview and a bit was added as text to the program page. The ID-51a Plus draws 2.5A during transmit on 5W but the 12v car adapter is only rated at 2A max. This isn’t the case with all radios but definitely something to keep in mind.

      The weather channels on the FT-60R are easy to get to but differ to that of the VX-3R, making it a treat to remember when you switch between the both. This is where regular use of the radio is a good thing. I personally like how the Icom ID-51a cycles the weather channel group / memory / call channel with a single button .

      Is there an HT you’ve been eyeing up as a possible successor to your FT-60? What are the features you would like to see?

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