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Author Topic: Maybe getting into Ham  (Read 2049 times)

JoeandJane

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  • Posts: 172
  • Zimmerman MN
Maybe getting into Ham
« on: June 08, 2018, 11:54:14 PM »
Iím not yet licensed, but am interested in getting into ham radio.  Was into CB back in the day and have always been intrigued by ham.  I suppose I could just buy a Baofeng handheld to start listening to but wondering if something like a TYT TH-9800 might be a reasonable starting point?  Advice??  What should I get for a basic antenna I can run up a pole?
« Last Edit: June 09, 2018, 12:08:52 AM by JoeandJane »
'04 Minnie Winnie 31C, and yes my questions are about this unit unless otherwise noted.
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SeilerBird

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  • Good things are illegal immoral or over 1000 watts
Re: Maybe getting into Ham
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2018, 02:47:31 AM »
I think ham radio has been replaced by Facebook. :-\
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HappyWanderer

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Re: Maybe getting into Ham
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2018, 09:02:09 AM »
Amateur radio is far from being dead. The number of licensed hams is constantly growing, as are the various technologies used by hams.

Before purchasing anything, I would hook up with a local club. They can provide guidance as to getting your license and obtaining equipment. Many clubs have gear to loan to new hams.

Your question is very timely. ARRL Field Day is June 23 and 24. Field Day is an annual event where thousands of hams set up portable stations throughout the country, as a social event and to practice for emergency situations. To find an event near you, go to: http://www.arrl.org/field-day-locator. Most likely, they will sit you in a chair and get you on the air talking to folks across the country or around the world.

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Stanford

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  • Posts: 6
Re: Maybe getting into Ham
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2018, 12:08:00 AM »
A great way to get started is to go to the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) website, and check out the "Getting Licensed " information.

There are readily available print and on-line study guides, on-line practice exams, and also a search for local examiners who will provide and exam when you are ready to take it. The entry exam is not difficult.

Local radio clubs are a way to meet hams in your area and learn more. These are also listed on the ARRL website.

The communications capabilities ham radio offers are remarkable for those in remote areas, as well as population centers.


Stanford

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  • Posts: 6
Re: Maybe getting into Ham
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2018, 12:22:13 AM »
I overlooked putting the ARRL website on my previous post:

http://www.arrl.org/   

There is a wealth of information there about getting started along with other info.

JoeandJane

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  • Posts: 172
  • Zimmerman MN
Re: Maybe getting into Ham
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2018, 09:58:43 AM »
Thanks guys.  Since my original post, I got my General license, bought an Icom 7100, and am finishing my 25 mast today at home with a 2m J-pole receiving discone for HF, lightening arrestor box, etc.  Learning this will be my winter project and we will see if I end up putting it into the motorhome next spring.
'04 Minnie Winnie 31C, and yes my questions are about this unit unless otherwise noted.
'14 BMW K1600GTL Exclusive
'11 Suzuki DR 650 Alaska Trip Bike
'13 KTM 250 XCW

Stanford

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  • Posts: 6
Re: Maybe getting into Ham
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2018, 01:06:00 PM »
Congratulations, you have really accomplished a great deal since June! I think you will find HF very interesting, despite the poor band conditions on 20 meters and up right now.

You'll still be able to make contacts once you have an HF antenna up that allows you to transmit. A simple G5RV dipole, fed with 450 Ohm balanced line to a small manual tuner (or external automatic tuner) can be a good way to start. It will will tune all bands reasonably well and get you on the air. The overall length is 102 feet. You can make it or buy one.

It can be configured to use coax after the balanced line, but I've never built it that way. Just run the balanced line to the tuner (with a balun inside it), or put a balun outside the house and bring a short length of coax in to the tuner. Same in a mobile / portable setup.

That 7100 is a nice radio and a good choice for a first radio, should serve you well. You will want an auto tuner for the antenna depending on what you are trying to match to on HF. There are many choices, and even starting with a manual tuner will work. You'll learn some things twisting knobs!

A vertical can be another way to get on HF, especially if you don't have trees available to hang wire antennas from. It can be for one band, or multiband, or a single spike and a matching network for all band use.

Mobile HF antennas are whole other world of possibilities. Mobile HF is fascinating, working DX or contests from a mobile is fun.

Having Winlink for e-mails can be a way to stay in touch when beyond cel texting range. I was fortunate to find a Pactor modem for HF Pactor Winlink which will work from anywhere. That is one of my next radio projects for the RV. It also supports HF Pactor APRS when away from any VHF APRS nodes, so tracking your location anywhere is available on www.aprs.fi  , the same as when using VHF APRS tracking. Just long haul capable on HF when remote.

I have a feeling you are well along and probably have a plan for antennas  in mind. Sounds like the next step....

JoeandJane

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  • Posts: 172
  • Zimmerman MN
Re: Maybe getting into Ham
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2018, 01:34:11 PM »
Congratulations, you have really accomplished a great deal since June! I think you will find HF very interesting, despite the poor band conditions on 20 meters and up right now.

You'll still be able to make contacts once you have an HF antenna up that allows you to transmit. A simple G5RV dipole, fed with 450 Ohm balanced line to a small manual tuner (or external automatic tuner) can be a good way to start. It will will tune all bands reasonably well and get you on the air. The overall length is 102 feet. You can make it or buy one.

It can be configured to use coax after the balanced line, but I've never built it that way. Just run the balanced line to the tuner (with a balun inside it), or put a balun outside the house and bring a short length of coax in to the tuner. Same in a mobile / portable setup.

That 7100 is a nice radio and a good choice for a first radio, should serve you well. You will want an auto tuner for the antenna depending on what you are trying to match to on HF. There are many choices, and even starting with a manual tuner will work. You'll learn some things twisting knobs!

A vertical can be another way to get on HF, especially if you don't have trees available to hang wire antennas from. It can be for one band, or multiband, or a single spike and a matching network for all band use.

Mobile HF antennas are whole other world of possibilities. Mobile HF is fascinating, working DX or contests from a mobile is fun.

Having Winlink for e-mails can be a way to stay in touch when beyond cel texting range. I was fortunate to find a Pactor modem for HF Pactor Winlink which will work from anywhere. That is one of my next radio projects for the RV. It also supports HF Pactor APRS when away from any VHF APRS nodes, so tracking your location anywhere is available on www.aprs.fi  , the same as when using VHF APRS tracking. Just long haul capable on HF when remote.

I have a feeling you are well along and probably have a plan for antennas  in mind. Sounds like the next step....

I plan to use the discone as a receive antenna for my SDRPlay which I hope will help me figure out the bands and where activity is.  At this point, a MyAntennas EFHW-8010 is what I'm thinking as it will be multiband (all beginners want multi band right?) and I do have about 130' from one corner of my house to the opposite corner of my shop.  Picked up a LDG IT-100 tuner.  Going to rent a lift right now to put my LMR400 and guy wires on my mast and mount my lightening arrestor box.

I'm doing this all backwards as I have not yet made a contact.  Trying to avoid putting together temporary setups so when winter comes it is all permanent.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2018, 01:36:55 PM by JoeandJane »
'04 Minnie Winnie 31C, and yes my questions are about this unit unless otherwise noted.
'14 BMW K1600GTL Exclusive
'11 Suzuki DR 650 Alaska Trip Bike
'13 KTM 250 XCW

HappyWanderer

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  • Posts: 2049
Re: Maybe getting into Ham
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2018, 02:47:15 PM »
That EFHW will work fine, if you can get it high enough. I have one in an Inverted L configuration, up about 70 feet.

My 10-40 end fed will go up in the trees here at the campground tomorrow, after we get settled in.
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JoeandJane

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  • Posts: 172
  • Zimmerman MN
Re: Maybe getting into Ham
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2018, 02:58:24 PM »
That EFHW will work fine, if you can get it high enough. I have one in an Inverted L configuration, up about 70 feet.

My 10-40 end fed will go up in the trees here at the campground tomorrow, after we get settled in.
Hmmm, I doubt that Iím gonna be able to get it up more than 25 feet.
'04 Minnie Winnie 31C, and yes my questions are about this unit unless otherwise noted.
'14 BMW K1600GTL Exclusive
'11 Suzuki DR 650 Alaska Trip Bike
'13 KTM 250 XCW

HappyWanderer

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  • Posts: 2049
Re: Maybe getting into Ham
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2018, 04:28:47 PM »
Just do the best you can. An antenna at 25 feet works better than one in the box.
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