ARES® Recommendations

Because of the low power and negative gain of a handheld radio’s rubber duckie antenna, 95% of radio amateurs cannot access local 2m or 440 repeaters with a hand held “walkie talkie” type of transceiver.  Handheld radios are usually fairly cheap, though, so go ahead and buy one if nothing else than to “fool around” with.  However, unreliable, ultra-cheap Chinese radios (you know the brand names) are never welcome in CSRA emergency operations.

As we say in ARES, “If we’re searching the woods for your lost granny, you’re going to want us to use decent, reliable hand held radios.  On the other hand, every Chinese $20+ radio will eventually die, and they’re known for dying at the worst possible time.  They usually die a quick, painless death, but sometimes, they’ll let their smoke get out as they painfully die.  Pay a little more for a hand held radio that has tightly packed smoke inside of it.  Chinese don’t do a good job of packing smoke into their radios.  I’ve never seen anyone be able to pack the smoke back into a radio once it got out.”

The ​Burke Amateur Radio Club and
East Central Georgia Amateur Radio Emergency Service®
recommend that every amateur,
including new amateurs, own and operate:
First, a 2 Meter/70 cm Dual Band FM Transceiver “mobile radio” with 25-50W of output power.

Here are some examples:

      • The Icom ID-5100A ( (not 4100A) because D-STAR is so important to GA ARES communications and this is the very best D-STAR transceiver with 50/15/5 watts output power, monitor & transmit FM and/or D-STAR with 2 VFO’s on 2m and/or 440!  1000 memories.Here are some very cool features that you will have fun using when you get your ID-5100A: 
          • In D-STAR mode, you never have to ID by voice with the ID-5100A because every time you press the microphone “button,” this radio’s D-STAR circuitry automatically sends out your callsign, your name (if you like), you GPS coordinates, and more and then it will receive the other persons’ similar info back to you and it shows up on your screen.
          • Think about this:  Your latitude & longitude coordinates figured against their latitude & longitude = the direction & distance to their location from your location and that’s what shows up on your ID-5100A’s beautiful white screen – their coordinates and distance in miles.
          • When you’re out of town, the ID-5100A will directly connect to the ARRL’s repeater database, automatically give your GPS coordinates (in other words, your location) to the database, download the nearest FM and/or D-STAR repeaters of your current location and put them into your radio.
          • Let’s say you want to talk to your ham friend in Anchorage, Alaska.  Rather than tie up 100± D-STAR repeaters world-wide, D-STAR will connect your ID-5100A radio ultra-fast to a particular D-STAR repeater in Anchorage and not to any other repeater.
          • K4BR will help you get set-up on D-STAR and program your ID-5100A for you using programming that I already have on hand for a ID-5100A.  I do not have the capability to program the Icom 4100A plus it’s a more difficult radio to operate – sorry.
      • The Icom IC-2730 2M/440 Dual Band Transceiver simultaneously receives: (1) two 2m repeaters or (2) two 440
        repeaters or (3) one VHF repeater and one UHF repeater simultaneously – just push a “button” on the screen to transmit on one VFO or the other one w
        ith 50W, 15W, or 5W.  FM only.  50 watts will easily allow you to access most if not all FM repeaters in the CSRA.  The “2730” is close to the same transceiver as the ID-5100A except for D-STAR capabilities and
         all of the “very cool features” of the ID-5100A mentioned above.  


Second, a 25A power supply or, possibly even better for EmComm, a gel cell battery and smart charger.

MFJ seems to make some good 25A power supplies.

Third, an outside “dual band” antenna for the house

Just over 8′ long:  Tram 1480 Dual Band 2 Section Base Antenna –
Best Price

K4BR has had great luck with Tram antennas.  The longer the antenna, the more gain it has.  Choose any model and go with it!  


Finally, a mobile dual band mobile antenna (magnet mounted?) for your vehicle. 

K4BR’s favorite dual band, magnet mount, mobile antenna?  The Tram 1185  (Amazon for $24 & free Prime shipping)

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