Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Rugged Radios RH-5R Handheld Dual Band Radio Testing

    This past weekend a few of us were fortunate enough to enjoy a weekend of amazing racing at the King of the Hammers Ultra 4 Race. As always Rugged Radios had a great setup there to support the racers and supply the fans.

    We decided to buy a couple of the handheld dual band RH-5R radios to test for our group purposes. Initial testing showed promise at close ranges. We didn't get a chance to try transmitting longer distance but were impressed by the functionality and listening ability to the main race coordination frequency.

    The following are just a few questions we came up with:
    Do you need the programming cable to program your own channels?

    Does the programming cable require software or does it come with it? Windows or Mac?

    Will we need the extended battery or the vehicle power kit?

    How well will the dual band external antenna that we purchased work?

    Will the extended range dual band ducky antenna be sufficient for our needs?

    The one annoying thing we found while carrying this radio around is that the volume and a few of the buttons were too easy to accidentally change without realizing it.
    1992 Champion EuroPremier 38', 1984 Ford Bronco, 2010 Australian Shepherd - "Coby", 2012 Pomeranian- "Bella"
    www.ClassicRV.net --- Twitter @ClassicRVNet

  • #2
    Also reference this post on CB vs. FRS communication from last year.
    1992 Champion EuroPremier 38', 1984 Ford Bronco, 2010 Australian Shepherd - "Coby", 2012 Pomeranian- "Bella"
    www.ClassicRV.net --- Twitter @ClassicRVNet

    Comment


    • #3
      Ok this answers the programming question. You can select a frequency and store it as a channel number with only the radio however if you want to give it a name you must have cable and software.

      RH-5R Radio Programming.pdf

      Rugged-RH-5R-manual.pdf
      Attached Files
      1992 Champion EuroPremier 38', 1984 Ford Bronco, 2010 Australian Shepherd - "Coby", 2012 Pomeranian- "Bella"
      www.ClassicRV.net --- Twitter @ClassicRVNet

      Comment


      • #4
        Hey Josh, glad we were able to help you out at KOH! Thanks for taking the time to give your initial thoughts on the RH5R. You did your research I see and answered a couple of your questions. Lets see if i can answer the rest.

        As you said, programming can be done using the number pad on the radio, but if you want to assign it a custom name, you'll need the cable. The program we use is called CHIRP and is a free open source program that works on Mac, PC, and Linux.

        The stock batteries on the radios last quite a while. It of course depends on how much you transmit on the radio. For example, I haven't charged the RH5R in my truck in over a week. Now I mostly use it as a police scanner, and really only transmit on weekends when I go to the (Oceano/Pismo) dunes with buddies. If you transmit a lot during your rides, and have the stock battery, it's a safe bet to say you'll get a full day of use out of it. The extended battery is nice because you can pretty much go a full weekend trip without having to recharge, however if you remember to charge the radios at the end of each day, you won't need the extended battery. The vehicle battery kit quite simply means you don't have to use your precious radio battery while you're in your vehicle. Swap the stock battery out for the battery eliminator and plug it into the cig lighter / 12v accessory port.

        The extended range antenna does give a noticeable boost to your radio. Here at the beach, the stock antenna gets about 2.5 miles of range on VHF band, then after swapping for the dual band ducky on both radios we can get about 3.5 miles. Now that's on the flat beach, as soon as we go back into the actual dunes, the hills reduce the range, but the ducky antenna ensures that I can talk to my buddies still.

        One thing to consider is if you're going to be transmitting from inside a vehicle, the cab of a vehicle blocks a lot of RF, diminishing the range you could get with your radio. For an application like that, you're best bet is always to use and external antenna. You more than likely don't want to have to hang out your window in order to transmit effectively:


        The best option (I believe) for the RH5R is the Dual Band Magnetic Antenna. This will allow the antenna to properly send the radio signals without the vehicle cab interfering, maximizing your range.

        Oh and about the accidental button press, there is an actual key lock on the radio that will let you lock all the buttons on the front of the radio. You'll still be able to use the buttons on the side (PTT, flashlight, and FM radio), but at least you won't accidentally change channels or settings. To activate/deactivate the keypad lock, hold down the # button. A tiny symbol of a key will appear next to the battery meter on the top right of the screen.
        Rugged Radios - The Authority In Communications - www.RuggedRadios.com - (888) 541-7223

        Comment


        • #5
          My pleasure, we are very excited about getting our group equipped for effective 21st century communications. Great information, and thanks for the quick reply!

          The dual band antenna you linked to is the one we bought so we'll be in good shape there. I can see wanting to grab the radio from the vehicle and taking it for a hike or out onto the beach so it would be really cool to have a quick disconnect for the antennas.

          You mention using VHF band at the beach/dunes and your range numbers would probably work well for our purposes which are mainly at the sand dunes in Michigan and while caravaning(sp?) to and from. Curious what the UHF band would do? Any better/different performance for the hilly areas?

          Can you think of any other questions az954rr ?
          1992 Champion EuroPremier 38', 1984 Ford Bronco, 2010 Australian Shepherd - "Coby", 2012 Pomeranian- "Bella"
          www.ClassicRV.net --- Twitter @ClassicRVNet

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Josh View Post
            You mention using VHF band at the beach/dunes and your range numbers would probably work well for our purposes which are mainly at the sand dunes in Michigan and while caravaning(sp?) to and from. Curious what the UHF band would do? Any better/different performance for the hilly areas?
            VHF frequency waves are sometimes referred to as 2 meter. Now keep in mind this is definitely a simplified explanation as antenna wave theory can get mind numbingly complicated, but in the interest of understanding, VHF puts out waves that are about 2 meters wide meaning if you're within trees that have gaps smaller than 2m between them, the VHF waves are going to be deflected. This is where UHF shines not only because the waves are smaller, allowing them to slip between the gaps in trees, but also because it's a more powerful bandwidth (~450MHz as opposed to ~150MHz) allowing it to actually penetrate through obstacles.

            Now to the dunes; with UHF being more powerful, it's not able to go as far because those extra hertz cause it to dissipate faster. That means in pretty much all scenarios, you're going to get better range from VHF in open dunes. The only instance I can think of where UHF might work better is if you're down in a deep bowl, and the person you want to talk to is on the other side of a big dune, down in a deep bowl as well. If the VHF waves are able to get up and over the dune, the signal will be choppy, whereas the UHF waves will hopefully be able to penetrate through the dune to the other vehicle.

            Now after saying all this, I will finish up with in the dunes it's really up to you which one to use. If you never go more than a mile from each other, range is not an issue, so VHF or UHF will work fine. But the best thing about the dual band is you can experiment in your environment to find out which one gives you the best signal.
            Rugged Radios - The Authority In Communications - www.RuggedRadios.com - (888) 541-7223

            Comment


            • #7
              Oh nice explanation, the examples help, it's making sense to me now.

              So I notice you sell VHF only and UHF only antennas. If we found using our dual band antennas that one band best for our use, would the corresponding antenna give further increase in performance?
              1992 Champion EuroPremier 38', 1984 Ford Bronco, 2010 Australian Shepherd - "Coby", 2012 Pomeranian- "Bella"
              www.ClassicRV.net --- Twitter @ClassicRVNet

              Comment


              • #8
                Short answer, yes. Having an antenna that's dedicated to a certain bandwidth maximizes the efficiency of the radio on that bandwidth.

                Long answer consists more of going into the clarity of the signal vs the range between dual band and dedicated. In the interest of not over-complicating it, dedicated antennas are most important when you're nearing the limit of the radios range. What I've noticed is that with the dual band antenna, the transmissions tend to have more interference the closer you get to going out of range. The dedicated antenna tends to deliver clearer signal all the way up until you are beyond reception range. This is just my experience with this, it's very possible you may not notice a difference with a dual band, but again, one of my favorite part about working with these radios is the experimentation.

                Oh and thanks for setting our avatar! I was gonna do that later today when I have a minute.
                Rugged Radios - The Authority In Communications - www.RuggedRadios.com - (888) 541-7223

                Comment


                • #9
                  Ok thanks. I am very excited for the Tierra Del Sol Desert Safari and for Spring to arrive in Michigan for more testing and experimenting!
                  1992 Champion EuroPremier 38', 1984 Ford Bronco, 2010 Australian Shepherd - "Coby", 2012 Pomeranian- "Bella"
                  www.ClassicRV.net --- Twitter @ClassicRVNet

                  Comment

                  Working...
                  X