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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

Elmer Musing’s

from John Wendt, WA6BFH on July 4, 2005
View comments about this article!

Elmer Musing's
By John Wendt, WA6BFH

Most of the questions that I see from new Technician licensees involve thoughts on the pro's and con's of buying a new "FM" transceiver to 'match' the licensee's wavelength band privileges. These most often discuss the 200 and 70-centimeter bands as, 'the only bands within the licensee's privileges!' While of course that is not actually true or factual, that is the premise of many of these questions. Unstated is the notion or consideration of modulation modes.

I have no problem with FM in fact I love it! I own three repeaters but I don't view FM as the end all, be all of Ham radio. It is cool to get into and build a remote base station, or repeaters etc but, VHF SSB are I think where Ham radio is at! Besides, I don't know of any good Ham available versatile FM radios with 50 or more dBs of limiting. Or, any with really well designed 'noise squelch' circuits. For this and other reasons I usually suggest multi-mode radios to these new Hams. Radios such as the Yaesu FT-100D or Icom IC-706.

Of course these multi-mode rigs will also avail themselves of adding transverters for new and different bands in the future but many new Ham's don't think about that. Besides, FM radios are cool, and Handi-talkie's are so cute! When I discuss such a radio, I don't even have to worry about the inclusion of a discussion of "mode". There are not many multi-mode handhelds!

Another thought about such flea powered cute little radio's is, you will likely spend at least a few hundred's of extra Dollars on various optional accessories for it. Then probably also an RF amplifier, the 'multi-modes' I mentioned will put out 100 Watts. Shoot, by the time all is said and done, the cost of a well outfitted "Handi", would pay for a multi-mode station on several VHF or UHF bands!

So these are my basic musings! Think about this in the larger picture as you shop for radios to 'build up' your new Ham radio station. Keep versatile, experiment, play with many bands and modes, Technician class Ham's have 17 wavelength bands available to them! Most important, always seek out new and wider horizons!

For other such views and abstracts, see: http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/2775/

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
Elmer Musing�s  
by KZ1X on July 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Wise advice. Less the odd capitalization and incorrect use of apostrophes, I'd have written much the same thing. Good job. Hope all new Techs reading this will give it due consideration.
 
Elmer Musing’s  
by K3WVU on July 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Yes, good advice. 2M FM work gets old really fast, and I'm afraid that we lose a lot of Techs who get tired of it and drop out. A new or used ICOM 706MKIIG or a Yaesu FT-100D or similar would open a lot of doors for a new ham. Six Meters is always full of surprises and you can work out quite a way with 2M or 70CM CW or USB, even with fairly modest antennas. Plus, a decent all band multi-mode rig can be had at a reasonable cost and ready for you when you upgrade.

73

Dwight K3WVU
 
Elmer Musing�s  
by KB1GMX on July 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Offically I'm a no code tech.

Well I for one have spent considerable time showing and telling Tech's that their privs are nothing short of
amazing. Any band from 6M up and power to the limit
and ANY mode some not even allowed on HF.

Soon as I had my license I had a dual band HT, 2m mobile for those long commutes to work and started a 6m SSB homebrew to complment the home near antique IC245 (2m SSB, FM and CW). I've built a lot since then and the latest is 2401mhz down converter (not a modded commercial thing) and also working on a 432/437 transverter to get SSB on 70cm.

Introduced people to FM sats, showed even a few new HFers the fun of 6M qrp SSB and CW.

The Tech license is clearly a license to experiment
with bands that offer incredible fun and interesting
possibilities.

Those that only get as far as 2m FM are missing a lot of action.


Allison
KB1GMX
 
Elmer Musing’s  
by N0AH on July 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
FT-847
 
RE: Elmer Musing�s  
by N6AJR on July 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I too also try to get folks to NOT buy the 2 meter ht as a first rig, I try to point them to a FT857d ( cheeper than a 706 and I find easier to use.) or a ts 2000 or a ft 847, I try to show them there is more than 2 meter fm repeaters to a tech license. I try to get them to go to sidewinders on two, and look at some hams doing moonbounce on 2 meters at 1500 watts from ca to germany, etc.

how about when 6 is in on ssb I worked guatemala, brazil, alaska and hawaii all in about 20 minutes with 100 watts and a 3 ele beam. this was a couple months ago, but it is possible. I have a buddy who worked from Ca, to Japan on 65 meters..100 watts and a 3 ele beam.

buy a ht, them a mag mount antenna then an amp, then a power supoply etc and you already paid for a ft 857d ($650 or so) and add a atas 120 for $300 and you are in business.

and you can always throw up a fan dipole.
 
RE: Elmer Musing�s  
by K6AER on July 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I noticed you did not mention that the greatest use of multimode rigs is their usage once you get a general or higher class license. There is another world out there below 30 MHz where the bands are open every day.
 
RE: Elmer Musing�s  
by W5LDA on July 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Always a grammar cop or wannabe English teacher around
when you don't need them. I think the gentleman that started this topic is on the right track

kd5vsg
 
Elmer Musing�s  
by NA4IT on July 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Good article. I am most fond of digital VHF & HF. I have operated Packet, APRS, & PSK on VHF, as well as Packet, APRS, Pactor, RTTY, SSTV and PSK (and tried some other) modes on HF. All these by TNC and Soundcard.

I believe if techs would get introduced to and begin to work some VHF SSB and even digital, they might want to get the HF versions of their licenses. They might not ever work HF. But, there is so much to be learned when you study for and pass that license. And, if you are going to have a radio capable of HF, why not have the license on the wall and in your pocket if you need or want to use that rig on HF!

I was saddened, as well as some other hams, that more techs didn't show up for field day. One of the times they could have discovered HF by operating, and for some reason, they just don't come out.
 
Elmer Musings  
by AB0RE on July 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Regarding the first radio I agree 100% that a 2M HT is not the best choice. A 2M mobile is a much better decision or, even better yet, a multi-mode rig as the post suggests. I'd suspect the reason so many end up with a 2M HT is because of budget considerations. When I first got my ticket scraping $200 together for a mobile rig and then needing to get a power supply and an external antenna on top of that was too much for me to fathom.

I think the reason a lot of new technicians don't show up to Field Day is that they are never invited. Also, some think Field Day is HF-only and don't know that there are other things like VHF SSB there.

It doesn't seem like there are as many elmers today as there used to be. A lot of the things we talk about in our musings could be resolved if more people volunteered to take new hams under their wings.

- Do you have an extra power supply sitting around just collecting dust? It may not be worth much to you, but to a new ham that would help open the doors to getting a good mobile or multi-band rig instead of the typical low-powered HT with crappy antenna.

- Do you have a good soldering iron and a good understanding of antenna theory? Offer to help the new ham in your area make an external antenna. For VHF FM it would not have to be anything special. A 1/4 wave groundplane or J-Pole would run laps around the ducky dummy load they are currently using. Then the regulars on the machine wouldn't have to constantly tell the new ham they are "dropping out".

- Is your club having an upcoming public service or special event taking place? Have you invited the new ham? Don't assume that somebody else has. It's scary when you're still that green. Often times a simple invite is needed as new hams don't like to take it upon themselves to just "show up", thinking they'll rain on the old-timers' parade. When they show up, introduce them to some of the other members of the club. It drives me nuts when somebody new shows up at an event and is simply ignored.

- Is there a new ham in your area that missed Field Day? Perhaps you could invite the ham to stop by your shack to see HF and FM-alternative communications taking place. That'd save a full year of them not having a chance to see it.

Okay - enough of my ramblings. I just wanted to point out that for a lot of new hams, dropping $650+ on a radio is out of the question. If you show them the benefit and offer to help them out where possible, chances are they might try to make it work. And remember to take it easy on the newbies - being critical of their radio terminology the first time they get on the air is enough to scare many people away for good. We're all human and we all started in the same place.

73,
Dan / ab0re
 
RE: Elmer Musing�s  
by FORMER_AF0H_RH on July 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Hmmmm, off to a great start. Nice article, definately some good points for new ham's, and more experienced ham's alike.

I only have one problem with it. 6M on up is fine, some modes are most enjoyable and others are almost useless - like that on HF too. But, the new ham shouldn't set his limits on these bands. Sure, they aren't licensed on HF yet, but they hopefully will master the Code (oh no, now I got the Code/No-Code thing started) and the General Written so they can get on HF

Just because they don't have it now, doesn't mean they won't in the future. Plus, QRP is fun on ANY band!

73 de
af0h - Rob (Pro-Code) hihi
 
RE: Elmer Musings  
by KC9GUZ on July 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I have been a new ham since Nov of last year and hold a Tech lisense.. I agree that 2 meters can get old quick. For me it is getting kinda boring but i have found other ways to have fun on 2.. . I have a pretty decent 2 meter station and have up a diamond verticle and a 5 element beam. I run a Icom V 8000 and a Icom SM-6 desk mike. This set up allows me to get into a lot of local long distance repeaters and allows me to use IRLP and a echolink as well. I also use simplex for talking to a few people locally and some long distance. Im al already looking into getting a 6 meter all mode rig so i can experience the fun on 6! But above all i have been studying for my general and rignt now am more than ready to tackle the written part.. The code part will come later on. I need more time on that. The real problem is that i live in a ground level apartment and cant put up a whole lot of antennas so this makes it tough to have the ideal setup that would allow me to use the other bands and modes..
 
Elmer Musing’s  
by N0XMZ on July 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I'm currently looking to buy an all-mode rig for VHF and UHF. Unfortunately, it seems awefully hard to find one. The manufacturers just don't seem interested in making them anymore. I could be wrong here, but who makes single or dual-band radios that cover say, 2m & 70cm SSB/CW?? I know Kenwood has one (the only one?), but it costs more than a lot of HF rigs that cover several bands. That's my point - COST and availability.

Let me put it this way: I recently bought a used IC-725 for HF for under $300. Covers 160-10 and works just fine. Let's see now, it's got 160, 80, 40, 20, 17, 15, 12, & 10 - EIGHT bands. Finding a similar rig that covers 2m & 70cm (just TWO bands) in that price range seems impossible. I'd love to try 6m too, but again - Icom, Yeasu, Kenwood, etc. just don't make 'em.

Oh, sure, I could go blow a grand on a DC-to-daylight rig like so many hams I've seen do, but I just don't have that kind of money laying around and I don't feel like going into debt for it. Besides, I'm really not interested in having everything in one box anyway.

All is not lost though. I have seen used, single band rigs on ebay for under $200. I have some "want-to-buy" ads out there and I'll probably find what I'm looking for soon. These rigs were made in the 80's and early 90's. I guess I'm just a little irritated that the manufacturers don't make them anymore.
 
RE: Elmer Musing�s  
by KG6WLS on July 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Nice article John! TNX!

When I got my tect ticket, I dove in feet first and purchased a new IC 746 PRO. I bought this rig knowing that at some point in time I would upgrade my privilages. FM is only used (with a FT-7800R) during the commutes and local nets/rag chews. My other radio is a IC 706MKII (DSP installed myself) and is used as back-up and is great for field day. With the PRO, I do spend quite a bit of time on USB and CW to get a better feel of my radio and its capabilities. Even worked some AM (yeah, I know... to some it's a waste). Made quite a few DX contacts when six has opened. Received 30 of the 50+ QSL's mailed out :-) So, I'm enjoying it. That's what it's all about... right? With the money invested and time, it has given me the incentive to progress. I will be upgrading soon.

So you see... not all techs carry around a 2M brick, but it would not be a bad idea to have one when your cute little cell phone poops out. HI

...-- --... -.. . -.- --. -.... .-- .-.. ...
 
RE: Elmer Musing�s  
by KG4RUL on July 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
My first rig purchase was a TS2000X. This is truly the "Swiss Army Knife" of radios. I have a rig that can operate on the 160M to 33cm bands, in all modes, can range from 100 watts down to a QRP 5 watts and has a sub-receiver.

This rig has been used for SSB and AM contacts and, with the internal TNC, for APRS. With my MixW Rigexpert and my laptop I have versatile digital transceiver. And, with my MARS license, I am able to get experience on HF and with formal traffic nets. I can work satellites with my 2M and 70cm Eggbeater antennas and even the L and S band transponders with the addition of a 22cm downconverter and antenna. I am exploring Meteor Scatter and am making many contacts on 6M.

Some day, if my brain can make the right connection, I might be able to master Morse Code and move up to General or Extra. Until then, I have plenty to do and I have the right rig to do it with.

Dennis KG4RUL
NNN0FAE
 
Elmer Musing’s  
by KB9YUR on July 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Nice article. With most new Hams on a budget, why isn't there a VHF/UHF allmode HT
on the market ?!? While the XYL is shopping, I could call CQ from the parking lot if my
HT had SSB capabilities. The technology for having an allmode HT is certainly there,
and just about everyone I asked, told me they would buy one. So what's the problem?
A 6m, 2m & 70cm allmode HT for $299 I think would sell very well.

 
RE: Elmer Musing’s  
by KD7EZE on July 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
YUR--

I don't see it happening in my lifetime, but if you find a manufacturer selling a 6, 2, 440 allmode HT for $299, sign me up for at least two. Even if they made a single band allmode HT I'd be interested, or even a single band allmode mobile would be nice. Finding a good used radio to fill the bill is next to impossible, after you take into consideration the cost of the rig and the cost to make it operable. Nine out of ten times, it seems that someone has been inside the rig with the dreaded "golden screwdriver".

 
RE: Elmer Musing�s  
by W5ESE on July 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I think the best thing to do is go directly for
the Tech+, and get started on HF right away. For
$175-250, you can find very usable second hand
5-6 band HF rigs, with power supply (think
TS520(S/SE), Ten-Tec Triton, etc). Or build a QRP
CW kit or two for about the same amount. Augment
that with a 2m or dual band HT, and you've fully
entered the mainstream of amateur radio.

Then you can add 6m, 2m, or other transverters
at your leisure to try your hand at the VHF weak
signal modes.

VHF/FM is a fun adjunct to HF, but is not very
filling as a main course.

There are many good reasons why VHF multimode
equipment is more expensive than HF all mode
equipment, and why they cover fewer bands.

73
Scott
W5ESE
 
RE: Elmer Musing�s  
by K3ESE on July 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
YA! The HECK with those English Teacher's and Wannabee's!!!You all no what he Was saying, and its Disrespektful to Comment on Somebodie's writting. I Dont CARE weather or not Mr Hoyty Toyty prafesser reads this...its not for Grade's, is it??? Let's Stick with Amature Radio and not English Leson's!!!
 
Elmer Musing�s  
by N3HFS on July 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
When I first became a ham (about fifteen years ago), I started with a 2-meter HT. Participating in community events with the local radio club, I learned the principles of net control, concise and effective communication, and the art of listening. These skills carried over to my HF multimode work once I got my Advanced ticket and additional equipment. I don't think the mode and band is as important as the effectiveness of communication that stems from the MIND, not the EQUIPMENT!
 
RE: Elmer Musing�s  
by N3HFS on July 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
from KG6WLS:

"...-- --... -.. . -.- --. -.... .-- .-.. ..."

Thanks for the 37's!
 
RE: Elmer Musing�s  
by N3JBH on July 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Holly cow you mean there is more to ham radio then 6 meter ssb & cw. i must be missing some thing hi hi. jeff/n3jbh smirk#6634
 
RE: Elmer Musing’s  
by W3JJH on July 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I bought my first two rigs at the same time--a Kenwood TH-79 dual-band HT and a Yaesu FT-690 multi-mode 6-m radio. I got more use out of the HT, but I had more fun with the FT-690. The solar cycle was on the upswing, and I was able to work all over the country with 6-m QRP SSB.

I encourage all new hams in our local area to get a 2-m HT. There's excellent repeater coverage, and having 2-m FM capability allows them to get involved with ARES/RACES. Workable used HTs seem to cost around $25 at hamfests. I also encourgage them to get a multi-mode rig. I favor the Ten-Tec 6N2, but an IC-706, 746Pro or 910; an FT-817, 847, 857D, or 897; or a Kenwood TS-570S(G) or 2000 will make a fine starter radio as will any number of used rigs.

What's important is to get active in a segment of the hobby that interests the new ham. Public service, DXing, contesting, QRP, homebrewing, whatever ... Get on the air and do it!
 
RE: Elmer Musing’s  
by N1OFZ on July 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
N0AH & N6AJR the FT-847 is a nice rig (got one myself) but at 1K+ it is way out of reach of the newly minted tech. I think like the author said, they should look for something like a 706 at 1/2 the price. Used even cheaper. Maybe even a FT-726 (with the 6/2/.70) modules. I see them routinely for at or under $500 (got one of these as well).

K6AER & AF0H, I've been a tech for over 12 years now and will never 'upgrade' I work 50 MHz - 2.4 GHz and hope to add higher bands. And it's not the morse code argument as anything higher than 432 is mostly CW. I routinely use CW to make contacts on the uWave bands. I have 0 interest in HF. I've operated a number of HF contests/Field Days (shooting fish in a barrel) and I tune around every now and then to 20/40/80m and frankly I don't see the attraction. Today's innovations and the future of the ham radio is in the higher bands. HF is nice and all and is a great way to reminisce about days gone by but if you want some real action come on up to the microwaves. I mean come on WA1MBA and the guys running on 78,192.070 (78 GHZ) this past weekend. How cool is that!
 
RE: Elmer Musing’s  
by KB3KAQ on July 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
3 months after i had my Tech, i purchased an Icom 746PRO. i discovered weak signal on 2 and 6. being able to listen to the HF bands once i put up a dipole pushed me to upgrade - i could hear DX stations, but could not talk to them.

personally, had i just bought a repeater radio, i would not be in the hobby today.

-steve
 
RE: Elmer Musing�s  
by KG6WLS on July 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
To N3HFS:

Sorry, it was late when I posted that. Oops!

--... ...-- -.. . -.- --. -.... .-- .-.. ...
 
RE: Elmer Musing�s  
by WA4DOU on July 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
When writers mention grammar ,spelling and English, they are alluding to the fact that writers who can't spell and put together sentences that are reflective of coherent thought patterns are not well received and are thought of as illiterate. Eham has its share of these.
 
RE: Elmer Musing�s  
by K3UD on July 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
"3 months after i had my Tech, i purchased an Icom 746PRO. i discovered weak signal on 2 and 6. being able to listen to the HF bands once i put up a dipole pushed me to upgrade - i could hear DX stations, but could not talk to them.

personally, had i just bought a repeater radio, i would not be in the hobby today.

-steve"


I think you hit the nail on the head with those remarks.

Perhaps the biggest bargains in 160 meter - 70cm radios are the FT-100 and 100D. I have seen the original FT-100 go for under $400 on eBay and other ham radio for sale listings, and the 100D go anywhere from $450 - $550, I have also seen FT-857 radios go for $500 used and as low as $650 new in open box. The original IC-746 can be had for around $700. Early IC-706 models can also be had for under $400 although the MKIIG price run up has affected the used market for the MKII and IIG models. All of these radios represent a tremendous value in affordability and capability.

I have an FT-100 and a IC-746PRO and would recomend either one. If price is the issue, the FT-100 series is the way to go. An incredible radio for the price and EVERY license class. You can spend in excess of $350 on a dual band 2 meter/70cm mobile radio. Just a bit more will get you into something that will grow with you.

73
George
K3UD
 
RE: Elmer Musing�s  
by GHOSTRIDERHF on July 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Good article -- and good website link -- short and concise --

of course the title is pretty presumptuous since I don't consider you an Elmer just an Oldtimer! --

but overall good article -- I hope in the future all of your articles will continue to be this well laid out -- and very good job not feeling like you have to jump in 30 times to give repsonses --

again -- pretty good.....













.
 
RE: Elmer Musing’s  
by WB2WIK on July 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!

>Elmer Musing’s Reply
by KB9YUR on July 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Nice article. With most new Hams on a budget, why isn't there a VHF/UHF allmode HT
on the market ?!? While the XYL is shopping, I could call CQ from the parking lot if my
HT had SSB capabilities. The technology for having an allmode HT is certainly there,
and just about everyone I asked, told me they would buy one. So what's the problem?
A 6m, 2m & 70cm allmode HT for $299 I think would sell very well.<

::It might, but it cannot be built for that cost "new". Interestingly, the FT-817, which does indeed work "all modes" and is battery operated and portable, and does cover 6m, 2m and 70cm, can be found used for ~$300 and nobody really cares. The problem is: "performance." Even if it were "free," you wouldn't hear a lot of people using them for the application you discuss because performance from such simple, low-powered stuff is lacking. I owned one for about six months and sold it because I couldn't find any good application for it.

::On a brighter note, I spent all morning yesterday assembling VHF-UHF beams with W6YLZ in Mike's yard. 38 element M2 for 70cm, 23 element M2 for 135cm, both on ~30' long booms; Mike already had assembled his 5 wavelength 2m beam and 6M7JHV 6m beam, and quad stack of four 23 element loop yagis for 23cm, and it will all go up on his tower in a couple of weeks. This kind of hardware makes VHF-UHF operating a lot of fun, since with large enough antennas, you'll always find activity, so there's always somebody to work...
 
RE: Elmer Musing�s  
by W5HTW on July 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
<< by K3ESE on July 5, 2005
YA! The HECK with those English Teacher's and Wannabee's!!!You all no what he Was saying, and its Disrespektful to Comment on Somebodie's writting. I Dont CARE weather or not Mr Hoyty Toyty prafesser reads this...its not for Grade's, is it??? Let's Stick with Amature Radio and not English Leson's!!!>>


Thanks! Hilarious!

Ed
 
RE: Elmer Musing�s  
by WB2WIK on July 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!

>RE: Elmer Musing�s Reply
by K3ESE on July 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
YA! The HECK with those English Teacher's and Wannabee's!!!You all no what he Was saying, and its Disrespektful to Comment on Somebodie's writting. I Dont CARE weather or not Mr Hoyty Toyty prafesser reads this...its not for Grade's, is it??? Let's Stick with Amature Radio and not English Leson's!!!<

::Lloyd yo had me almost failing outa my chare

 
RE: Elmer Musing’s  
by FORMER_AF0H_RH on July 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
"I've operated a number of HF contests/Field Days (shooting fish in a barrel) and I tune around every now and then to 20/40/80m and frankly I don't see the attraction. Today's innovations and the future of the ham radio is in the higher bands."

This is true, not exactly like 'shooting fish in a barrel', but I see what was being said. And there are many new innovations on the higher (gHz) bands. My suggestions about keeping the 'HF' option open was just that, a suggestion. Perhaps some new ham's getting in on 2-meters have not been around HF much.

Always keep your options open, you never know...

73 de
af0h - Rob

P.S. - A practical application for a Yaesu FT-817: An HF QRP CW rig, just hook up to an appropriate dipole, tune in on 10, 17, 20, 30, 40, or 80 meters (don't forget 10-meters either) and have fun. It's output is more than enough to work CW contacts. (Been there, got that T-shirt)
 
RE: Elmer Musing�s  
by W6TH on July 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
.

John, do you remember when we were at one time allowed to use narrow band FM on the 40 meter band?

I thought it was great and it sure took a very big signal to qrm one another. I even was working Europe with the FM setup. Yes FM is great for communication and very hard to jam such a signal, so I agree with you that FM is a fun mode.

I want to ad at this time some information for your 6 meter stuff and possibly may be of some value to you.

The azimuth of one peak relative to another has the interesting property that the angle between the two azimuths is not exactly 180� as would be expected using planar geometry, although the differences are usually quite small.

The straightforward formula computed by spherical trigonometry for the distance along a great circle between two points on a sphere is not the best formula to use computationally due to a loss of precision in some circumstances.

Good article John.

73, W6TH.
.:
 
RE: Elmer Musing�s  
by WA4UF on July 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
WA6BFH wrote:
(* buy a multimode rig first *)

I went with that reasoning. The specific goal at the time was 6m sideband. All the VHF allmode rigs were painfully expensive, while used examples of the little "do-everything" boxes were just within reach. I still use that FT-100 I picked up as a Tech - HF mobile, 6m and 2m SSB fixed, and HF and VHF portable - even some hilltopping with a gelcell tossed in the backpack!

AB0RE wrote:
When I first got my ticket scraping $200 together for a mobile rig and then needing to get a power supply and an external antenna on top of that was too much for me to fathom.

For me the "scrape together $200" was for the HT. 2m mobiles are literally "dime a dozen" at hamfests and such. The HTs were what was pricey. :-)


I do really wish, though, the prices'd come down just a tad, 'cause I could really use another baby Yaesu. :-) The other wish is that those do-everything boxes'd do 222MHz. Ah well.

N0XMZ wrote:
Let me put it this way: I recently bought a used IC-725 for HF for under $300. Covers 160-10 and works just fine. Let's see now, it's got 160, 80, 40, 20, 17, 15, 12, & 10 - EIGHT bands. Finding a similar rig that covers 2m & 70cm (just TWO bands) in that price range seems impossible. I'd love to try 6m too, but again - Icom, Yeasu, Kenwood, etc. just don't make 'em.

Snag that used HF rig, then dig yourself up a Tentec transverter to get on 6m. You can usually find 'em used for well under $100. They also make one for 2m, as do several other firms. Or homebrew one.

N3JBH wrote:
Holly cow you mean there is more to ham radio then 6 meter ssb & cw. i must be missing some thing hi hi.

Absolutely! There's *2 meter* sideband too! :-)

WB2WIK wrote:
On a brighter note, I spent all morning yesterday assembling VHF-UHF beams with W6YLZ in Mike's yard. 38 element M2 for 70cm, 23 element M2 for 135cm, both on ~30' long booms; Mike already had assembled his 5 wavelength 2m beam and 6M7JHV 6m beam, and quad stack of four 23 element loop yagis for 23cm...

(*twitch*drool*drool*) Now you've got me violating the 10th Commandment! :-) That, or you've got me itching to build more VHF antennas. Either way. :-)
 
RE: Elmer Musing’s  
by N0XMZ on July 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I agree, it looks like a used or home-brew transverter could be the way to go. The transverters I've seen however (Elecraft, Down East Microwave) are outrageously expensive. I would never buy one of those. Not because I can't afford it, but because of the lack of VALUE. To put it frankly, I think $300-400 for a single-band transverter is a rip off. Homebrewing (from scratch) just may be the best way to go. Not kits - those things are just as expensive (if not more so) than the factory-made ones.

Meanwhile, I'm getting about 1 email a day offering me used rigs from my ads. Most of them are pretty good, too. Some people want way too much for their gear but others are very reasonable.
 
RE: Elmer Musing�s  
by W8DPC on July 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
"A 6m, 2m & 70cm allmode HT for $299 I think would sell very well. "

Sure, they would sell well, but I paid $260 for an HT that covers those three bands, and that's just FM. If they made an all mode HT with those bands, it would cost at least $450. That's an awful lot for a first radio, especially if it doesn't have any HF capabilities.

Basically, if you want an all-mode HT, you have to go with a Yaesu FT-817. With it's size and battery capabilities, it's basically an HF/VHF/UHF HT. At least, it's as close to one as we'll ever see.
 
RE: Elmer Musing’s  
by WA6BFH on July 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!

I am surprised at the lack of one tailor fit plug’Nplay manufactured radio that is not available!

That would be a 222 MHz transverter from either Yaesu or Icom designed to work with the ‘do it all’ radios that have been mentioned here.

Some Ham’s are simply terrified with the idea of building the interface hardware that is required to make a transverter work with a given ‘Brand X’ radio. These manufactures would sell a ton of IC-706’s or FT-xxx radios if such a simple plug-in transverter was available!

It could even be available to use with some of their other MF/HF/VHF radios!
 
RE: Elmer Musing’s  
by WB2WIK on July 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!

>RE: Elmer Musing’s Reply
by WA6BFH on July 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I am surprised at the lack of one tailor fit plug’Nplay manufactured radio that is not available!
That would be a 222 MHz transverter from either Yaesu or Icom designed to work with the ‘do it all’ radios that have been mentioned here.
Some Ham’s are simply terrified with the idea of building the interface hardware that is required to make a transverter work with a given ‘Brand X’ radio. These manufactures would sell a ton of IC-706’s or FT-xxx radios if such a simple plug-in transverter was available!<

::There are, but not from Yaesu or Icom. DEMI's transverters are about as plug & play as I can imagine, and come in models that will accept 10W PEP drive power and accept substantial overshoot without damage. Just crank back that ol' HF rig to 10W PEP, plug in the transverter, and use it. DEMI doesn't give them away, but then neither would Yaesu or Icom.
 
RE: Elmer Musing’s  
by W8WZ on July 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Another added feature to an IC706 or FT100, is the ability to listen to HF. A good encouragement to upgrade so they can xmt there too.

Many techs by an HT as their first rig, then are saddened to learn they live so far from a repeater that the thing is useless to them.

Your advice is sound.
 
RE: Elmer Musing’s  
by WB2WIK on July 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
>RE: Elmer Musing’s Reply
by AF0H on July 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
P.S. - A practical application for a Yaesu FT-817: An HF QRP CW rig, just hook up to an appropriate dipole, tune in on 10, 17, 20, 30, 40, or 80 meters (don't forget 10-meters either) and have fun. It's output is more than enough to work CW contacts. (Been there, got that T-shirt)<

::Yeah, that's what I was hoping for when I bought it. Problems: Very short (internal) battery life, at 2.5W output; RX current drain too high; connecting FT-817 to "real" antennas (home station beams) causes immediate overload, intermod and no end of issues so the rig's relegated to use with small antennas only (tried three of them, they all had the same problem). So, for portable operation, I'm back to my SCOUT, which at 10W output takes all weekend to drain a standard gel-cell pack, works better, has better transmitted audio on SSB and better filtering for CW, and I didn't have to buy one since I already had it! For me, the '817 was a toy. -WB2WIK/6
 
Elmer Musing’s  
by VE7VIE on July 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I was originally licenesed in the late 50's as a Tech and Novice (I just couldn't get my code speed over 10wpm). I used a Goonie Box and had a blast then with the sunspots hopping. I let it lapse in high school but got interested again about five years ago, and rekindled my interest in VHF, thanks in part to the sunspots again. Over that period I accumulated four single-band all-mode VHF base rigs from Kenwood, Icom, MFJ and Ranger; and VHF SSB HTs from Tokyo Hypower, Mizuho, and Nishi Musen. I also have an Elecraft K2 and Icom 703 (and my Extra), but STILL do VHF - my first love - 99% of the time.

There is a lot more to VHF than FM. I would encourage any new ops to get any kind of a rig to try VHF sideband or CW, and join a VHF weak signal group like VHFQRP and rig-specific refelctors like the Tokyo Hypower and Misuho/Nishi Musen ones. All mode HTs (HF as well as VHF) are available of you look (and know what to look for). They won't be new, and won't have all the latest bells and whistles, but they are very, very good. Or get something like an 817 or 706 - but please have the patience to try VHF SSB and CW with them. You have to work more for the contacts (or sometimes just be on at the right time and place!),_but it is worth it!

72, Barry
KD7IGX/VE7VIE
 
RE: Elmer Musing’s  
by K9OZ on July 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
In the all-mode small rig category, nobody has mentioned the FT-817. It's almost the all-mode HT. It makes a great 2-meter/440 FM rig, can be easily used for mountaintopping and I've used mine extensively on 6 meters. I have plenty of other big radios around, but the 817 is fun, doesn't require much of a power supply, and can be found used for not much more than a new 2 meter/440 rig. And believe me, most of the time you'll forget you're only running 5 watts.
 
Elmer Musing�s  
by KD4IEJ on July 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Sideband work on 2 and six meters is a lot of fun and you don't have to spend a fortune. There are a ton of good used rigs that come up that give a lot of bang for the buck (thinking of eBay and this as well as other venues, that list nice used gear) usually less than $1000 will get a lot of radio - my FT767GX was only $1100 loaded when I bought it in 1994 and I still have not found a better combo for less. 2 meters is one heck of a ride in the fall and every now and then you'll pick up an "E" opening that includeds 144 megs - MAN! that's fun. FM's ok but weak signal or ssb is definitely worth the effort.
 
Elmer Musing’s  
by NE0P on July 5, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Tokyo Hy-Power does make a SSB HT that covers 6/15/40m and is supposed to have a great receiver. Mizuho also made Single band SSB HTs for 160M clear down to 70cm. Can you imagine a 160 meter HT? Think how long the rubber duck would have to be! The FT817 is probably the closest thing to a VHF/UHF SSB HT right now.
 
Elmer Musing’s  
by KB9YUR on July 6, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Is there any reason why the concept/reality of a fine radio like the Yaesu FT series,
690, 290, etc can't be adapted to the size of an HT ?!? Over the last 2 years, I find myself
using this older radio a lot more then any current HT. In fact, I now use the FT-290RII
mostly outdoors on sunny days with my solar panel.
 
RE: Elmer Musing�s  
by K7VO on July 6, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
KB9YUR:

There have been VHF and UHF monoband SSB HTs, some of which do CW, for years and years. None were terribly successful outside of Japan, though Mizuho maintained a presence in Europe through 2004. However, you should be able to find various VHF/UHF SSB/CW if you are at all patient and persistent. I have a detailed article on this in the upcoming Summer issue of QRP Quarterly. See: http://www.qrparci.org/

Some of the models made over the past 24 years include:

6m:

-Tokyo Hy-Power HT-750 (2W, SSB/CW)
-Mizuho MX-6S (a/k/a JIM MX-6S, AEA DX-Handy 6) (1W SSB/CW)
-Mizuho MX-6Z (250mW, SSB/CW)
-Mizuho MX-6 (250mW, SSB/CW)

4m (UK band at 70MHz):

-Mizuho MX-4 (200mW, SSB/CW)

2m:

-Santec LS-202A (a/k/a Belcom LS-202) (3W SSB/FM)
-Nishi Musen NTS-210 (1W SSB)
-Nishi Musen NTS-200 (1W SSB)
-Mizuho MX-2F (1W SSB/CW)
-Mizuho MX-2 (200mW SSB/CW)

70cm:

-Belcom LS-202 (3W SSB/FM)
-Nishi Musen NTS-710 (1W SSB)
-Nishi Musen NTS-700 (1W SSB)

73,
Caity
K7VO
 
RE: Elmer Musing�s  
by K7VO on July 6, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
NE0P:

I wish Mizuho had made HTs for 160m or 70cm, but to my knowledge they never made anything for 160m and only an ATV transceiver for 70cm. Do you know of something I am not aware of? If so I'd love to hear about it.

Nishi Musen and Belcom did, in fact, make 70cm SSB HTs. Nishi Musen also made a tiny little 23cm transverter (model NUC-1200) to sit atop the BNC connector on their NTS-200 2m SSB HT. You would need to recrystal it to be able to work the American weak signal part of the band at 1296, but it does work.

72/73,
Caity
K7VO/8
 
Elmer Musing’s  
by N9DG on July 6, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
All this talk about different radios for VHF+ SSB/CW and hardly any mention of antennas. None of these radios will do much for you on VHF+ SSB/CW if they are connected to a 5/8 wave vertical at the end of 100 feet RG-58.

Here are the top 10 considerations for building an effective station for VHF+ SSB/CW:

1. Horizontal polarization antennas (ideally beams with 10+ foot booms) fed with good feed line (9913, LMR400, LDF4-50A or BETTER), and mounted in the clear.

2. Horizontal polarization antennas (ideally beams with 10+ foot booms) fed with good feed line (9913, LMR400, LDF4-50A or BETTER), and mounted in the clear.

3. Horizontal polarization antennas (ideally beams with 10+ foot booms) fed with good feed line (9913, LMR400, LDF4-50A or BETTER), and mounted in the clear.

4. Horizontal polarization antennas (ideally beams with 10+ foot booms) fed with good feed line (9913, LMR400, LDF4-50A or BETTER), and mounted in the clear.

5. Horizontal polarization antennas (ideally beams with 10+ foot booms) fed with good feed line (9913, LMR400, LDF4-50A or BETTER), and mounted in the clear.

6. Horizontal polarization antennas (ideally beams with 10+ foot booms) fed with good feed line (9913, LMR400, LDF4-50A or BETTER), and mounted in the clear.

7. Horizontal polarization antennas (ideally beams with 10+ foot booms) fed with good feed line (9913, LMR400, LDF4-50A or BETTER), and mounted in the clear.

8. Horizontal polarization antennas (ideally beams with 10+ foot booms) fed with good feed line (9913, LMR400, LDF4-50A or BETTER), and mounted in the clear.

9. Horizontal polarization antennas (ideally beams with 10+ foot booms) fed with good feed line (9913, LMR400, LDF4-50A or BETTER), and mounted in the clear.

10. Horizontal polarization antennas (ideally beams with 10+ foot booms) fed with good feed line (9913, LMR400, LDF4-50A or BETTER), and mounted in the clear.

Got it???
 
Elmer Musing’s  
by NE0P on July 6, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Caity, K7VO

Guess I was wrong about the 160M version. Thought I remembered seeing something about it on your webpage. That would be an interesting radio, though. Do you have any idea as to how the Santec LS202A actually worked on SSB?

We are getting closer, though. The Kenwood F6A will receive SSB and CW (not very well, but it will receive it), and the Yaesu VX7R will transmit on 6 meter AM, and the Yaesu VXA700 will transmit on 2 meter AM.

 
RE: Elmer Musing�s  
by K7VO on July 7, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
N9DG:

You are absolutely correct that the antenna and low loss feedline are the critical elements. Horizontal polarization is a must. What you recommend 10 times over is absolutely correct, but...

For those of us on small (or in my case, tiny) city lots you can still have fun with smaller antennas. I am using KU4AB loops (except on 222 where I do have a KLM 7 el. beam and on 23cm where I have a Shimizu 7 el. quad) which are far from optimal but they do allow me to get out and have some fun. I probably will move to a pair of phased loops to get some gain on 70cm and maybe 2m. Another nice thing about omni loops is that they are inexpensive and don't require a rotor. Oh, and yes, I feed them with 9913. That really isn't good enough for feedline at 23cm but I only have a 20' run on that band.

73,
Caity
K7VO/8
 
Elmer Musing’s  
by NE0P on July 7, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
A vertical or dipole will work fine on 6 meters during Es season. Not as good as a yagi, but acceptable. Much better than sticking with 2 meter FM because you can't get a large yagi up for 6. I had plenty of fun on 6 meters running an indoor dipole for several years. Not an optimal antenna, and not the best for goundwave communications, but better than being QRT. I was in an apartment at the time, with no way of getting an outside antenna up for 6.

On 2 meters or above, I would definitely recommend a yagi, as they aren't that large. If nothing else, get a cushcraft dual band (2/70cm) yagi. Fairly small, can easily be mounted on a tripod or wall mount, and will only take a TV antenna to use. It will beat the heck out of a loop. It will also play nicely on the satellites.

Unfortunately, many potential VHFers in my area get a 746 or 706, then put up a loop for 2 and/or 70cm, and quickly quit VHF because "There is no one on those bands." Had they had a decent antenna, they might have concluded differently. Those bands aren't open all of the time, but you will be surprised at the distances you can work. In 3 1/2 years, I have worked 39 states on 2 meters using fairly low power (never more than 170 watts) to either a 10 element or 13 element yagi at 25 feet.

73s John NE0P
 
RE: Elmer Musing’s  
by W4ABX on July 7, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I just about missed this as I read through the replies:"by N0AH on July 4, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
FT-847"
I remember after I bought my first mobile, a 2 meter adi ar-146, Man, how I would like to own a radio that has it all. So eventually HRO put the 847 on sale with a nice rebate, and I bought one. I haven't even opened it yet. I use a Kenwood TS-2000X for my primary station radio, and a Kenwood TM-D700A for mobile.
The down side to the all band/all mode rigs is if one part breaks, you lose your station.
So I decided to back up my station with a 756,910H,and a mix of amplifiers.
2 meter sideband was useless to me, until a friend of mine called and said there was a band opening on 2 meters. Sure was! FM just can't hold a candle to SSB, on any band.
 
Musing’s on Polarization & Antenna Efficiency  
by WA6BFH on July 7, 2005 Mail this to a friend!

A vertical omni can be a perfectly fine antenna for 6 Meters on any mode! As has been mentioned many times though, the better the antenna system, the better the station. On 6 Meters both for DX, as well as some local work -- it is a good thing to have both polarizations!

For serious operation, especially if you plan to use 25 Watts or so, a good beam is worth more than any additional hardware that you might buy for the shack. A 12 foot boom Yagi for 6 Meters is a very efficient . 61 wavelength 8dBd antenna. A similar size Yagi on 2 Meters is 1.75 wavelength long, 2.7 wavelengths on 135 centimeters, and 5.3 wavelengths on 70 centimeters. Such wavelength size considerations tell you the aperture of the antenna, and its relative gain. All these antennas could be placed on a 50 foot push-up mast (that is conservatively nested or shrunken to a 30 foot height for the rotor), a 10 foot mast atop the rotor will adequately support all these antennas

Using a loop is a waste. It is a folded dipole, so it is less effective than a dipole. A vertical half-wave on 6 Meters has the virtue of a good radiation angle, even if it is only an efficient antenna of “unity gain”. A horizontal dipole is problematic. It might be Ok, if high enough and broad-side to the North-east but, that won’t ALWAYS be a good direction.


 
RE: Musing’s on Polarization & Antenna Efficie  
by KG6WLS on July 7, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
John (WA6BFH),

I would have to say I agree and disagree with you on the loop.

I agree that a 12 foot boom yagi for 6 meters would present a VERY efficient gain at 50 feet or higher with only 25 watts out. Also, that a omni vertical (with even a unity gain) will work well at the same height. A flat-top dipole would probally work OK as well, broadside N/E. Now, here's where I disagree.

At my home QTH, I work vertical (Comet GP-15 at 25 feet up) for USB/CW/FM/AM, and horizontal 6 & 2 meter loops (homebrew, HI... at just under 30'up) for USB/CW. During the recent openings we had on 6, I casually worked/logged a total of 63 stations DX at 20-50 watts out with a 746PRO and a 706MKII. Distance wise, the tip of Wash, and East to South Dakota (Hawaii would have been a nice catch). 17 of them were from the VHF contest and three of them were CW! 32 of them are confirmed QSL, and they are still coming in the mail here and there. Looking at my log, these stations were worked just under four hours of operating time on different dates. Aside from the FM repeater nets, I can still hear and work some stations North of me (almost past Mickey Mouse land), and to the East as far out as Borrego (a little weak with the terrain). I keep the power down as to not get any WAN (worked all neighbors) awards.

What I have learned during these openings is that most stations will "turn the house around" to work the weak ones for a contact on six. WA7GJ (Lance) from Montana came in like he was standing on top of me and was able to copy me 5 8 with my loop. Check him out, this guy does moon bounce on 2 meters with his multiple stacked array. Some seem suprised that they're receiving me 58, 59 with a loop when 6 is open.

Now for the drama. (no tears from me)

At the moment, I live in a dreaded CC&R community. Small 16' x 12' patio, no flag poles, no antennas, no this, no that, etc. I'm able to deploy the vertical tri-bander up and down easily when needed, and have the loops secured to the plumbing vent stacks on the roof, two stories up. Nobody knows they're there because they can't see them, and I haven't worked their cheap electronics.

So, I will say this. There are some folks out there, like me, that don't have the real estate to errect 12 foot booms at 50+ feet and are still able to work DX with compromised situations (and loops). VHF is enjoyable to work with, and a challenge! At the moment, I have a multiband dipole for receive only for HF 30/20/17/10 meters... just to copy CW and learn more of whats out there. Until I move out of this situation, I'll probally go park on a hill and operate mobile when I upgrade.

There you have it! Work with what you got and enjoy it!

I'm open for suggestions and comments John but, PLEASE keep it in a musing state instead of amusing.

73 de KG6WLS

 
RE: Elmer musing's  
by N0TONE on July 7, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
From the misplaced apostrophe in the title, I knew this was going to be another questionable posting by a well-known technical lightweight.

It is not surprising that a ham from 6-land would advocate multi-mode VHF/UHF rigs for newbie. There's plenty of domestic activity to be had, after all, in 6-land. That he ignored the reality in much of the rest of the country might be forgiven, except that 6-landers often get reminded of this frequently.

It is disappointing that someone who claims to be an elmer neglects to consider the added costs involved in purchasing low-loss coax, some way to measure it, and gain antennas. Sure, you can homebrew the antenna - and so can I - but the newcomer can not.

The sheer brilliance of the old novice class license is that it gave rank beginners access to, and skills to use, a frequency and mode where they could use a very inexpensive rig and hard-to-build-wrong antennas, and zip cord for transmission line, and still make QSOs any time day or night.

It is that reason that the VE team in my location refuses to let anybody study for the tech. All applicants are required to study for and shoot for the general class. And, before they are allowed to do that, someone has been to their house, lent them an HF rig, gotten that first wire into the attic or trees, and thus the soon-to-be-general can get on the air as soon as the license is granted. That's how it used to be - all my friends had radios at the ready for that license, all connected to the antenna we'd been using for CW practice.

I have everything needed for VHF/UHF terrestrial work here except a radio. I develop antennas commercially and as a consultant, and always have something in the air good for some gain on VHf/UHF. I borrowed an IC-706 once, and an IC-551 once, and an IC-271 once, and was not impressed. The only time I heard any activity was during "activity night". Otherwise it was dead. It's just not like HF! On HF, 40kHz up from the bottom of 80/40/30/20/17/15/10, you can call CQ - any time day or night - and get a contact! That's what it takes to snare the beginner.

So, what you're telling the beginner is this:

Spend a bit extra on the rig, so it can do SSB/CW.
Oh, and then another $100 on low-loss feeder
Oh, and another $150 on a gain antenna and tripod or some such thing to mount it
Oh, and then you have to be on the air just at the right time
And then you'll have more fun than if you stuck with FM.
But you'll still run out of folks to meet in a hurry, unless there's an opening, which you cannot count on every day.

I applaud the effort. I certainly think that 2FM is the worst thing that ever happened to ham radio and I know I'm looking at a short-timer when I see a newcomer who only owns an FM handheld. However, I don't see VHF SSB as being the cure. HF is the cure. Get them there. It's not hard as long as you don't tell them it is.

AM
 
RE: Musing’s on Polarization & Antenna Efficie  
by WA6BFH on July 8, 2005 Mail this to a friend!

Michael, let me try and clarify why I say some things that might on the surface seem to be ‘off the cuff’ and non-founded, or non-foundational remarks. As I think you know, and probably not the other responder, I have been licensed and active on 6 Meters for 38 years. I was actually active -- from a learning perspective -- under the tutelage of an Elmer for a year or two prior to this. I have tried these antennas, and even done comparative tests amongst them. Several of these tests have been published on the Internet for better than a decade now. I have used various loops, Ground Plane’s, J’s, and a variety of different size beams with better and lesser element spacing and impedance matching systems. I have done tests between optimized Yagi’s and optimized Cubical Quad’s

Loops are simply a terrible antenna for VHF. Yes I understand that there is a justification for them, in that they are tiny and easy to put up but, that does not make them any better a performer. Another thing that should be considered is how any antenna functions compared to other designs. Loops have a very high angle of radiation. Beyond that most have very inefficient impedance matching sections. The old adage that covers this is ‘loading up the bed springs’. Even HF interested Ham’s {that can sweat some losses} don’t do that if they have any passion for their pursuit!

The other commenter also tossed in a couple thoughts that you, I or anyone who operates 6 Meters seriously knows -- you don’t just switch on the radio and work someone. If you have a passion for following VHF DX, you monitor for it! My 6 Meter radio is on as I type this. It is on when I do the laundry, wash the dishes, eat dinner, and eat breakfast. It is on at all times except when I am sleeping, and even then sometimes during Meteor showers, or peak times at E-season etc.

Another thing that is tied in with this passion for doing this sort of radio work is assessing it. I no longer work much of what I hear! I have worked all of the states that are typical for single or double hop skip so many times the first or second year I was licensed, there is no point anymore in that exercise. In fact I have worked all states, and all the closer countries, and some not so close. What I do is listen to other people work them, and I monitor the type of propagation. This is done by:

1) Changing antenna polarization

2) Swinging around the beam

3) Changing the launch angle of the beam etc

I listen for rare contacts, and whether I work them or not, I research the likely propagation mechanism.

As far as cost considerations go for such things as coax I say, you have got to be kidding me! I built my first station when I was 13 years old. I got a little money from my folks but, not even enough for a single radio. I had the passion and desire to work to build my station. I repaired TV sets, fixed neighbors radios, did odd jobs, collected the premium for the return of RC cola bottles , whatever it took! The coax I used in those days was RG8A/U pretty much the same as RG213/U (simply JAN C17 not Mil spec C17D). If you want to use better coax, knock yourself out -- I have just run into too many folks that spend hundreds or even thousands of Dollars on antennas, and buy coax at the Ham swap meet or Rat Shack. I use decent NEW coax, and retire it to lower frequencies through the years.

If you have a passion for radio, the little things will not stop you. I have a friend who has 4 stacked 2 meter Yagi’s at 60 feet. He also has a 6 Meter loop at 20 feet. I asked him if for a recent VHF Society meeting there was a 6 Meter ‘talk-in frequency’, he said no but, “we will all be on 2 Meters”. Translation -- ‘we will not be on 6 Meters, or 135, 70, 33, 23 centimeters or any of the bands above. This group calls themselves a VHF society but for years there predominant activity has been on 2 Meters. To be fair, they are thinking of changing their name to reflect this. My point is that it all depends on your passion. If you have the passion for this sort of work, you will monitor and assess the bands of interest. You will do odd jobs to finance coax, radios, antennas etc. You will give up smoking (the excuse another friend uses to explain away buying coax at the swap meet). For those who think that this is just too much work for a hobby well, the HF bands are always active, and bands like 20 will have some DX at just about any time of day or year. If that is what you want, then that is what you want. I don’t care what is happening on any HF band, except as it represents an octave of VHF. I will skip the treats, or latte’s, or that new CD or DVD if it comes down to those purchases or new coax. I use antennas with gain and some with only unity gain. I use them to a purpose but, that is my passion!
 
RE: Musing�s on Polarization & Antenna Effic  
by K7VO on July 8, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
A vertical on 6m or 2m SSB/CW where 99% of everyone is horizontally polarized means you will only find people to work when Es is in. The other 300+ days of the year you will work nobody. OTOH with a horizontal loop or dipole you will find people to work since you won't be suffering 20-30db polarization loss. Why John cannot ever seem to understand this is completely beyond me.

Testing by SEVHFS and others shows well builf omni loops have performance very close to that of a dipole but with no directional pattern. For small spaces where you absolutely, positively cannot have a beam an omni loop is the only way to go.

Oh, and a vertical picks up a whole lot more manmade noise than a dipole or loop as well.

73,
Caity
K7VO
 
RE: Musing�s on Polarization & Antenna Effic  
by K7VO on July 8, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
> It is not surprising that a ham from 6-land would
> advocate multi-mode VHF/UHF rigs for newbie.

I live in 8-land, and have also lived in 4-land and 7-land, and I make precisely the same recommendation.

> There's plenty of domestic activity to be had,
> after all, in 6-land. That he ignored the reality
> in much of the rest of the country might be
> forgiven

The reality is that on 6m SSB/CW all it takes is a band opening (which we have every spring and summer) for anyone, anywhere to be able to work all over the place regardless of whether there is local activity or not. The reality is that in many parts of the country there is lots of local activity as well. "Local" is defined as in within 250-300 miles, which is what you can work with a modest station under "dead" band conditions.

> It is disappointing that someone who claims to
> be an elmer neglects to consider the added costs
> involved in purchasing low-loss coax, some way to
> measure it, and gain antennas. Sure, you can
> homebrew the antenna - and so can I - but the
> newcomer can not.

It is even more disappointing to see someone who claims to know better than the would-be elmer trying to scare people off with alleged high costs. An antenna, bought brand new, can be had in the ~$50 price range. If a newbie keeps their coax run short they can get by with inexpensive coax, particularly at 50MHz.

> The sheer brilliance of the old novice class
> license is that it gave rank beginners access to,
> and skills to use, a frequency and mode where they
> could use a very inexpensive rig

...which is different from VHF SSB/CW exactly how? I can point to many rigs which can be had in the $75-$150 price range for 6m or 2m.

> hard-to-build-wrong antennas

Like a dipole maybe? Hmmm... that works on 6m pretty well too.

> and zip cord for transmission line

Oooh... a short run of RG-8X is so difficult to find and so expensive... not. That will work fine on 6m. Plain old RG-8/U will work fine on 2m if the run is short enough.

> and still make QSOs any time day or night.

There are plenty of times at the bottom of the cycle when that just isn't/wasn't true. We've had some HF radio blackouts lately after solar events, remember? A new tech living in eastern or central North Carolina will find lots of activity on 6m SSB. FM and repeaters are accessible from a 2m all mode rig too. Seems to me there is no lack of folks to talk to on VHF.

> It is that reason that the VE team in my location
> refuses to let anybody study for the tech. All
> applicants are required to study for and shoot for
> the general class.

That's a great way to exclude people -- bar their access to an entry level license. Thanks, but no thanks.

> Spend a bit extra on the rig, so it can do SSB/CW.

...or have an elmer help them find a good, used, inexpensive rig.

> Oh, and then another $100 on low-loss feeder

No need to spend that much.

> Oh, and another $150 on a gain antenna

Again, no need to spend that much.

Let me put it this way.... if I want to I can get someone on the air for under $200 on one VHF band. My recommendation would be 6m.

> And then you'll have more fun than if you
> stuck with FM.

Yep.

> But you'll still run out of folks to meet
> in a hurry, unless there's an opening, which you
> cannot count on every day.

I realize I've only been doing VHF/UHF weak signal work for 20 years, but I still haven't run out of people to meet.

> However, I don't see VHF SSB as being the cure.

I do. Let them experience a few band openings on 6m and let the DX bug bite. Then they may well decide HF is worth the effort. That was what made me decide to upgrade way back in 1984 or so.

> HF is the cure. Get them there. It's not hard
> as long as you don't tell them it is.

For some people it is, for some it isn't. Just because you think HF is best based on admittedly very little VHF/UHF experience doesn't mean it's best for everyone. The reality is that most new hams are techs. Show them what they can do with their license, let them start having fun in the hobby, and upgrading will come naturally.

73,
Caity
K7VO
 
RE: Elmer musing's  
by KG6WLS on July 8, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
N0TONE states:
"I have everything needed for VHF/UHF terrestrial work here except a radio. I develop antennas commercially and as a consultant, and always have something in the air good for some gain on VHF/UHF".

Well, then I would have to conclude to the assumption that the VHF/UHF spectrum of ham radio is not ALL that bad if it's keeping food on the table, and a roof over ones head. Nothing personal.

Like I stated earlier, I purchased NEW a 746PRO and a second hand 706MKII. Not too spendy of gear. But, I knew that the re-sale value for a base rig would hold better than a cute little 2 meter HT if I decided to throw-in-the-towel. Before I decided to spend anymore money into MORE ham gear, I wanted to make sure if this hobby/service was really what I wanted to persue. BTW, last time I checked, RG-8 was not any more $$$ than RG-8X for feedline, AND the runs are under 25 feet. So, I'm not seeing much losses. SWL'ing, kit building, and homebrew was my first love with radio growing up. It wasn't until my 10 year old son asked me, "you can talk to people in other states and countries without getting a phone bill"?, that got me motivated to get my ticket. That got me going by just hearing that, and seeing the look on his face when I said "Yes". So far, I'm happy with the accomplishments made and I'm striving to move forward to the next level.

With that being said... the little side comments and pot-shots displayed by others here on eHam, do NOT make me feel any less that what I am now. Nor, do they scare me away. They either have negative comments to say about the newbie/tech coming on board to ham radio. Or, when the newbie/tech up-grades to general, all we hear is more crap about the structure of the test. They want to promote more people to get on board with ham radio but, when the new lic. tech receives his/her callsign, they get bashed and be-littled. Maybe it's constructive critisism? Not likely, I think.

73 de -.- --. -.... .-- .-.. ...
 
RE: Musing’s on Polarization & Antenna Efficie  
by WB2WIK on July 8, 2005 Mail this to a friend!

>RE: Musing’s on Polarization & Antenna Efficie Reply
by KG6WLS on July 7, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
At my home QTH, I work vertical (Comet GP-15 at 25 feet up) for USB/CW/FM/AM, and horizontal 6 & 2 meter loops (homebrew, HI... at just under 30'up) for USB/CW. During the recent openings we had on 6, I casually worked/logged a total of 63 stations DX at 20-50 watts out with a 746PRO and a 706MKII. Distance wise, the tip of Wash, and East to South Dakota (Hawaii would have been a nice catch). 17 of them were from the VHF contest and three of them were CW! 32 of them are confirmed QSL, and they are still coming in the mail here and there. Looking at my log, these stations were worked just under four hours of operating time on different dates. Aside from the FM repeater nets, I can still hear and work some stations North of me (almost past Mickey Mouse land), and to the East as far out as Borrego (a little weak with the terrain). I keep the power down as to not get any WAN (worked all neighbors) awards.<

::Bravo. This is good work; but remember, good antennas are for the *other* 300+ days a year when the band *ISN'T* open. When 6m's open, you can work a lot of stuff with a mobile whip on a garbage can lid. Unfortunately, this only happens maybe 20-30 days each year.

>At the moment, I live in a dreaded CC&R community. Small 16' x 12' patio, no flag poles, no antennas, no this, no that, etc. I'm able to deploy the vertical tri-bander up and down easily when needed, and have the loops secured to the plumbing vent stacks on the roof, two stories up. Nobody knows they're there because they can't see them, and I haven't worked their cheap electronics.
So, I will say this. There are some folks out there, like me, that don't have the real estate to errect 12 foot booms at 50+ feet and are still able to work DX with compromised situations (and loops). VHF is enjoyable to work with, and a challenge! At the moment, I have a multiband dipole for receive only for HF 30/20/17/10 meters... just to copy CW and learn more of whats out there. Until I move out of this situation, I'll probally go park on a hill and operate mobile when I upgrade.<

::That's the spirit. You can work a *LOT* more using portable antennas parked on a good hilltop than you'll be able to from home with compromise antennas not on a hilltop. When I was 17 years old and a big-deal VHFer living with my parents, I already had a kilowatt on six and two meters and large beams up; but, we didn't live on a hilltop. So, I used to go "portable" a lot, driving several miles up into the hills to use 25W and homebrew portable beams on a 10' mast stuck into a tripod with a drive-on bracket to steady it. The 25W and portable beams from the hilltop often worked stuff a kilowatt and much larger beams at home could not. Anybody who hasn't experienced this has not only missed a lot of fun, but quite an education.

-WB2WIK/6

 
Elmer Musing’s  
by K1CJS on July 8, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Hey, Grandma always warned us not to put all our eggs in the same basket, because if you dropped the basket you lost everything.

Seems that this was good advise. If you get one radio for all the frequencies and end up losing the radio because of accident or otherwise, you have nothing left to use--until it gets fixed. Better to have a HF set for 10 meters and below and other all-mode sets for the higher frequencies. That way, if one of the rigs has to visit its home for repair or upgrade, at least you still have other radios to use. Hey, if your piece of cake is a multi-band multi-mode rig, maybe you should get two of 'em! ;-)
 
RE: Musing�s on Polarization & Antenna Effic  
by WA6BFH on July 8, 2005 Mail this to a friend!

What John understands and why:

<A vertical on 6m or 2m SSB/CW where 99% of everyone is horizontally polarized means you will only find people to work when Es is in. The other 300+ days of the year you will work nobody. >


Caity this is an untrue statement. I also doubt the percentage you reference. Someday perhaps I will write of the history of East Coast vs. West Coast and VHF antenna polarization. I hear all openings of any interest no matter what the polarization of those signals might be. I do this on average at least once a month or more for all months of the year. Sometimes the propagation will be via E-layer, often not. In any event most times signals are better with vertical polarization.

This is true for two reasons:

1) By simple odds the DX signals will most often be twisted or contorted to something closer to the vertical plane of reference.

2) The vertical has the advantage of having a lower angle of radiation than the horizontal antenna. It is also often quieter, in reference to atmospheric noise, than the horizontal is to the effects of local man made noise. I often am the first to hear an opening, sometimes it is a chap to the north of me with two vertical Yagi‘s.

I would never suggest that people seriously attempt this on 2 Meter SSB or iCW or these same modes on shorter wavelengths but, 6 Meters behaves quite differently.


<OTOH with a horizontal loop or dipole you will find people to work since you won't be suffering 20-30db polarization loss. Why John cannot ever seem to understand this is completely beyond me. >

The above is also untrue. Cross polarization for LOCAL “Direct Wave” stations can provide AS MUCH AS 20 dB signal loss due to the disparity of the two stations different antenna polarization -- NO MORE than that. Never more than 20 dB, typically less. This is for LOCAL “Direct Wave” signals ONLY. It is ALWAYS less for refracted signals.

All the locals here in the LA Basin can go to vertical Omni’s, if they want to chat. We don‘t typically chat locally, we are listening for DX. For signals that have skipped via the ionosphere, or are twisted or refracted by other means, the cross polarization disparity is minimal, and not an issue. Also, in 39 plus years -- vertical antenna polarization wins most of the time. When it doesn’t, I can switch to horizontal polarization.

<Testing by SEVHFS and others shows well builf omni loops have performance very close to that of a dipole but with no directional pattern. For small spaces where you absolutely, positively cannot have a beam an omni loop is the only way to go.>

The above paragraph makes no sense to me at all.

<Oh, and a vertical picks up a whole lot more manmade noise than a dipole or loop as well. >

The above sentence can be true but, in my experience, doing the test empirically over 38 years, the horizontal antenna will often suffer worse from overall ambient noise, than will the vertical! This is typically persistent noise from power lines.

<73,
Caity
K7VO >

73
de John WA6BFH

 
RE: Musing�s on Polarization & Antenna Effic  
by N0TONE on July 8, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
K7VO wrote:

>The reality is that on 6m SSB/CW all it takes is a >band opening (which we have every spring and summer)

And woe unto the newbie who gets licensed and a rig on the air in between band openings? A good way to scare someone off is to start him off on a band where it's months, sometimes, between band openings. It's a new hobby to the newbie, and they will fit it in between other activities. You won't get them to reserve a special time in the evening when "most other hams are more likely to be on". As someone else wrote, to really be active on six, you pretty much have to have a radio on, and within earshot, all the time.

>for anyone, anywhere to be able to work all over the >place regardless of whether there is local activity or >not. The reality is that in many parts of the country >there is lots of local activity as well. "Local" is >defined as in within 250-300 miles, which is what you >can work with a modest station under "dead" band >conditions.

I do have a 100W six meter radio. I have, for many months on end, had it connected to a three-element log-periodic and listning to 50.110 (or whatever I had been told the SSB calling frequency was), or 50.100 (or whatever the CW freq was). I have done this listening (and CQing also) with six meters from QTHs in 8, 4, 5, 7 and 6-land. Only when I was in a fairly heavily populated area could I ever work anybody sans band opening. And sometimes, the beacons would demonstrate that the band was open yet there'd still be nobody available to have a QSO with. Maybe there's more on two, mabye not.

>It is even more disappointing to see someone who >claims to know better than the would-be elmer trying >to scare people off with alleged high costs. An >antenna, bought brand new, can be had in the ~$50 >price range.

Name it

> If a newbie keeps their coax run short
>they can get by with inexpensive coax, particularly at >50MHz.

Short coax runs are a luxury that no newbie I've worked with in the past several years has had. More commonly, their shacks are forced into a basement, or they have to do it from the bedroom, which is on the opposite corner of the place on the lot where the parents will allow them to place antennas. I've certainly never, personally, had a place where I could get by with less than 100 feet of coax.

> The sheer brilliance of the old novice class
> license is that it gave rank beginners access to,
> and skills to use, a frequency and mode where they
> could use a very inexpensive rig

>...which is different from VHF SSB/CW exactly how? I >can point to many rigs which can be had in the >$75-$150 price range for 6m or 2m.

Rigs that are in such plentiful supply that a newbie, who has no interest in learning the hamfest circuit, can comfortably buy one and trust that it will work well? Actually, I'd like to see that list; if I could add more bands to my station for, say $100 per band, and in the process get a decent rig, I might just do it.

Every ham club I've ever belonged to had free HF rigs available for usage by newcomers. That's $75-$150 cheaper than your option, and no risk of inadvertently purchasing a defective used rig. I'll buy a used rig any day, but I don't expect a newcomer to feel comfortable doing so.

>> hard-to-build-wrong antennas

>Like a dipole maybe? Hmmm... that works on 6m pretty >well too.

Pardon me - I had not realized this turned into an exclusively six meter discussion. Maybe a dipole works OK on six. My three element antenna, while measurements certainly demonstrate its effectiveness, sure doesn't net very many QSOs, due to lack of activity on the bands. I don't suspect a dipole to be an improvement.

>Oooh... a short run of RG-8X is so difficult to find >and so expensive... not. That will work fine on 6m. >Plain old RG-8/U will work fine on 2m if the run is >short enough.

Yes, the short run theory again. Think "newbie". They won't be interested in attaching their own PL-259s. How much for a pre-made 100 foot section of RG-8X, including shipping, from an internet source?


>> and still make QSOs any time day or night.

>There are plenty of times at the bottom of the cycle >when that just isn't/wasn't true. We've had some HF >radio blackouts lately after solar events, remember?

Nope. 'been through five full solar cycles in my ham career, and while I've seen plenty of highly absorptive situations where nothing worked above 20 meters, I have never, not once, in my ham career, seen 40 and 80 closed due to atmospherics. The word "blackout" is relative. Surely, propagation was poor enough that QRP afficionados using indoor antennas could not hear each other, but I've never seen propagation so poor that a well-equipped station could not make contact with said indoor-antenna station. Just for fun, I occasionally try an indoor antenna, and can always make QSOs on some band, no matter what the propagation. While using the indoor antenna, it is true that I can only work stations using decent antennas, but on HF, there are plenty of those stations.

>> It is that reason that the VE team in my location
>> refuses to let anybody study for the tech. All
>> applicants are required to study for and shoot for
>> the general class.

>That's a great way to exclude people -- bar their >access to an entry level license. Thanks, but no >thanks.

Ours isn't the only VE team. Two others in town will happily teach whatever license class, and offer whatever level test the applicant wants to go for. Our "exclusionary" classes are always fuller than the other VE teams, and more people come to take exams from us. We also pay a lot of attention to getting the newly-licensed hams on the air. Our record in the past five years is that only 10% of our "newly minted" licensees fail to become and remain active, whereas the other VE teams have a rate more like 10% that DO remain active. I don't think we're exclusionary at all - we actually represent an alternative to the other two teams, one that most applicants seem to prefer. We hold the students to higher standards, but in return they receive a higher level of support, and they seem to have more fun in the process and afterwards.

>> Spend a bit extra on the rig, so it can do SSB/CW.

>...or have an elmer help them find a good, used, inexpensive rig.

Here, you and I are soulmates. Elmering is NOT about posting FAQs on the web. Elmering is about going to the hamfests with the newbie, and helping them pick a rig, then helping them fix it if it's not quite right. Elmering is about going to the newbie's house and installing that first antenna if need be. Elmering is NOT properly done on the internet and at ham radio meetings - it's done at the newcomer's station. I'm really glad to see someone else who thinks along those lines.

Unfortunately, in my locale, the experienced VHF/UHF ops who would be capable of making a decent rig search, are, well, frankly, old and feeble, and not physically up to attending hamfests any more.

>> Oh, and then another $100 on low-loss feeder

>No need to spend that much.

I haven't looked for a while - what's the best price you can get for 100 ft of RG-8X with pre-installed PL-259s? Don't forget a few barrel connectors and a jumper, so the newbie can get the thing through a window fixture of some sort. I also admit I was thinking of 144 and 432 MHZ, not so much six meters.

>> Oh, and another $150 on a gain antenna

>Again, no need to spend that much.

I'll easily admit that I'm not in touch with what VHF antennas cost on the ham market. Here's where I'll step into a different part of this thread:

KG6WLS wrote:
>>"I have everything needed for VHF/UHF terrestrial
>> work here except a radio. I develop antennas
>> commercially and as a consultant, and always have
>> something in the air good for some gain on VHF/UHF".

>> Well, then I would have to conclude to the
>> assumption that the VHF/UHF spectrum of ham radio is
>>not ALL that bad if it's keeping food on the table,
>>and a roof over ones head. Nothing personal.

That conclusion implies the false assumption that my designs are for ham antennas. They're not. Mine are for various point-to-point services, or EMI/EMC testing, field measurement, etc. The customers want instantanous broad bandwidth or very easy re-tunability. After the development of a new antenna, the manufacturer will usually leave me with protype parts and/or complete antennas. I either leave them as the broadband log-periodic, or if it's a Yagi type design, I retune to one or another ham band. As new antennas, these things go for typically $2,000, and I seriously doubt that any ham has ever bought one.

So, while I'm "in the biz", I'm not close to actual ham pricing.

>Let me put it this way.... if I want to I can get >someone on the air for under $200 on one VHF band. My >recommendation would be 6m.

$200 for one band that's not open much except spring and summer. And probably only when large parts of the ham population in your time zone are still awake. Maybe $200 for such limited capabilities doesn't surprise a newbie, maybe it does.

>> And then you'll have more fun than if you
>> stuck with FM.

>Yep.

Of that, I am certain.

>> But you'll still run out of folks to meet
>> in a hurry, unless there's an opening, which you
>> cannot count on every day.

>I realize I've only been doing VHF/UHF weak signal
>work for 20 years, but I still haven't run out of
>people to meet.

I have never steadfastly pursued VHF/UHF weak signal work. But I had my days - was on 144 and 432 when AM was the thing, and a bit into the SSB days. Spent plenty of time and money pursuing the higher bands as well, but they never were the "24 hour per day" pleasure of HF.

Look, here's the litmus test.

Freddie (or Frieda) newcomer calls you up and says "I'm available Sunday at 9am (or Wednesday at 4pm), and I want to take you up on your offer. I'll come over to your house, and you show me what six meter SSB is all about."

What are the chances that you will be able to make, say, 6-10 QSOs at the time the newcomer chose to be available, with people whom you've never had a QSO before? Or can you do this only if the band happens to be open?

We're dealing with newcomers here, not ardent advocates. You might be able to convince ME, a gray old man, to add another band and leave it on in the background for hours on end waiting for an opening, while I tinker in my workshop, but for a newcomer who is nowhere near hard-core you have to convince him to "stop everything" while he tries it out.

>>Let them experience a few band openings on 6m and let
>>the DX bug bite. Then they may well decide HF is
>>worth the effort. That was what made me decide to
>>upgrade way back in 1984 or so.

As I've watched folks attempt this, it seems more often than not that the wait for the band opening is more than they can bear, and they lose hope before they get enthused. I'm glad it worked for you.

>> HF is the cure. Get them there. It's not hard
>> as long as you don't tell them it is.

>For some people it is, for some it isn't. Just because
>you think HF is best based on admittedly very little
>VHF/UHF experience doesn't mean it's best for
>everyone.

Agreed. My conclusions come from watching hundreds of newcomers come into the hobby. Some have, indeed, attempted the multi-mode VHF route. You are one of only two that I know of that truly became enthusiastic based on VHF SSB/CW experiences. A few years ago, one of the rags surveyed actual contesters about how they got into it. While they found a huge number of VHF contesters who got their start in HF contesting, and graduated "upward" to the more challenging VHF/UHF contests, they found NOBODY who started out doing VHF contesting and went "downward" to HF. A few started in VHF and never left it, but none "went on" to HF. I know that casual operation is a different story, but to date I haven't seen anybody actually perform that survey.

> The reality is that most new hams are techs.

That is a choice that VE teams make that I don't agree with, because I've seen, first-hand, how much more enthusiast the HF newcomer is and how much more likely they are to stay active.

>Show them what they can do with their license, let
>them start having fun in the hobby, and upgrading will
>come naturally.

Actually, I prefer the old fashioned way. Let them have some fun before they get the license. We make sure they have on-air experience prior to taking the class at all. We would rather that they see what ham radio is and is not, before they commit to the class. We'd rather they decide they don't like ham radio, than to become another "paper license" only.

I know what they experience when they come to my place, where I show them what they can do with a loaner radio and an atennna made out of discarded CAT5 cable. That's when they decide whether or not to go for a license. What do they see at your place on six meter SSB, using that $200 station?

73,

AM
 
RE: Musing�s on Polarization & Antenna Effic  
by KG6WLS on July 8, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Well, there you have it folks! Another "Blast from the Past". Yet...once again...more condescending remarks from a individual that carries no rationality to the newer generation of hams.

"Short coax runs are a luxury that no newbie I've worked with in the past several years has had."

"Yes, the short run theory again. Think "newbie". They won't be interested in attaching their own PL-259s. How much for a pre-made 100 foot section of RG-8X, including shipping, from an internet source?"

"I haven't looked for a while - what's the best price you can get for 100 ft of RG-8X with pre-installed PL-259s? Don't forget a few barrel connectors and a jumper, so the newbie can get the thing through a window fixture of some sort".

Holy Chorizo! What a load of crap.

I'm sorry that most of us here were not born yet when you acquired your ham license back in the day. It sure is awful to see that there is such a high influx of TECHS (I'm sorry, NEWBIES) that will strive and persevere into this hobby/service for their own gratification. Obviously, this gent has blinders on and won't look any other way than his.

I will leave you with this final comment, and won't bother with responding to anymore of your prattle. I very much hope that your beloved station is willed to a family member, or respectable club of your choice, and not to an estate sale or eBay for some wanna'be.
Hey, you can't take it with you!

Good Day, Sir.



 
RE: Musing�s on Polarization & Antenna Effic  
by WA2JJH on July 9, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I would go with one of the "swiss army knief" mobiles.

Yes, they suck on HF(Collins filter mod withstanding)
The ft-100d and the icom II-G offer better than H-T performance on VHF.

Plus 100W on 6m all mode is cool. (ft-100d)
However one must run 18W or less out on 440 on the yesue. The final brick blows at at 25 out.
 
Elmer Musing�s  
by KE7CFA on July 9, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
We went with the VX7 HT - 70cm, 1.25m, 2m and 6m. And the FT8900R - 70cm, 2m, 6m and 10m. We are having a great time with them. I've worked 6m, a little, it's a lot more active than I thought it would be. I don't work 6m a lot - my car don't like it. Until I figure out what is going on with that, I only work 6m with the engine off.

As soon as I upgrade my license, I'll check out the 10m. I use the Diamond CR8900 antenna, works real good and tunes up well.
 
RE: Musing�s on Polarization & Antenna Effic  
by K7VO on July 9, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Some more comments I disagree with, plus a couple I agree with:

> And woe unto the newbie who gets licensed and
> a rig on the air in between band openings?

Why? You can work 250-300 miles around without a band opening and with a modest station on 6m. I've lived in Florida, California, North Carolina, Washington state, New York, and now Ohio as a ham. In each and every place I've lived there was no lack of people to talk to on 6m.

I was once a newbie, and I was shown 6m as a new licensee. That's the band that made this hobby interesting for me. That's where I found the most helpful and encouraging people. IME 6m has changed much in the last 20 years except in one respect: more people are using it. That TS-660 was a great way for me to start in the hobby and I suspect it would be for others too.

Oh, and I upgraded from Novice to Tech in September, 1984, which means it wasn't Es season.

> A good way to scare someone off is to start him off
> on a band where it's months, sometimes, between
> band openings.

There is the voice of inexperience talking. 6m is *NOT* dead for months at a time. I have been active continuously for over 20 years on the band from a variety of QTHs and I have yet to experience that.

> It's a new hobby to the newbie, and they will
> fit it in between other activities.

Clue: I still fit it in between other activities.

> You won't get them to reserve a special time
> in the evening when "most other hams are more
> likely to be on".

I don't either.

> As someone else wrote, to really be active on
> six, you pretty much have to have a radio on,
> and within earshot, all the time.

I have yet to do it that way in 20+ years on the band. Another clue: just listening to one frequency, or even scanning a handful of frequencies, is a great way to MISS activity on 6m. First, you have to tune around. Second, if you don't hear something you call CQ. You'd be amazed at how often you'll get an answer on what you thought was a "dead" band. Third, don't just call on 50.125 with a modest station. Just because you can't hear it doesn't mean there isn't activity there. Move up the band a little and call again. Do these things and you'd be amazed how many unscheduled, unplanned contacts you can make.

> I do have a 100W six meter radio. I have, for
> many months on end, had it connected to a
> three-element log-periodic and listning to 50.110

The DX calling frequency. Useful perhaps 10 days a year.

> (or whatever I had been told the SSB calling
> frequency was)

On SSB there are three: 50.110 (DX), 50.125 (domestic), and 50.200 (proposed new domestic). 50.200 and thereabouts is also used for a lot of nets. Listen at 50.110 and you can miss a lot of activity. Ditto 50.125.

> or 50.100 (or whatever the CW freq was).

There is no CW calling frequency. Most activity is between 50.090-50.100 but you have to tune around.

> I have done this listening (and CQing also)
> with six meters from QTHs in 8, 4, 5, 7 and 6-land.
> Only when I was in a fairly heavily populated
> area could I ever work anybody sans band opening.

If you have only lived in very rural areas far from any city I suppose that it is possible that local 6m activity would be nil. However, check where most of the U.S. population lives. It ins't in rural Wyoming. Most hams live somewhere near a major population center.

>> An antenna, bought brand new, can be had in the ~$50 >> price range.

> Name it

KU4AB loop. See http://www.ku4ab.com

> I've certainly never, personally, had a place
> where I could get by with less than 100 feet
> of coax.

My shack is in my bedroom. My longest run is 50'.

> Rigs that are in such plentiful supply that
> a newbie, who has no interest in learning the
> hamfest circuit

Hamfests? I go to a few each year. The Internet has mostly made hamfests obsolete. I am far more likely to buy from a local ham I've met on the air or at a local club meeting. That route is available to newcomers through whomever elmered them in the first place. The Internet is possible too if a newcomer has someone who knows what they are doing helping them.

> can comfortably buy one and trust that it will
> work well?

IMHO, yes. While I have been taken a couple of times at hamfests I have never been taken online because I know which questions to ask and demand pictures. It works.

> Actually, I'd like to see that list; if I could add
> more bands to my station for, say $100 per band,
> and in the process get a decent rig, I might just
> do it.

At that price you are talking about good quality older rigs. You are probably not talking about getting them on eBay, though I have bought a couple of VHF/UHF rigs in the <$150 price class that way too and had them work out very well. Usually, though, eBay prices are higher than the local ham with a spare rig will sell to a newcomer for.

In the under $150 price class we are talking rigs like the ones listed below. Ones I've seen for $100 and under are denoted with a *:

6m: Icom IC-502*, IC-502A*, IC-505; Kenwood TR-9300, Mizuho MX-6S or MX-6Z* SSB/CW HT; National (Panasonic) RJX-610* (rare, but I paid $80 for one and it is a sweet rig); Yaesu FT-620, FT-620B, FT-680, FT-690R (original version only, not MK II).

2m: Icom IC-202*, IC-202S, IC-211, IC-245*, IC-260, IC-290A; Kenwood TR-9000*, TS-700A; KLM Echo II* (a/k/a Belcom Liner 2), Multi-2000*, Mizuho MX-2* SSB/CW HT, Yaesu FT-220*, FT-221*, FT-221R, FT-290R (original only), FT-480R

70cm: Icom IC-402, KLM Echo 70*

> Every ham club I've ever belonged to had free HF
> rigs available for usage by newcomers.

You must belong to better clubs than I do.

> I'll buy a used rig any day, but I don't expect a
> newcomer to feel comfortable doing so.

Yep, which is why there are elmers to help.

> Pardon me - I had not realized this turned into
> an exclusively six meter discussion.

It isn't, but despite your claims to the contrary there is plenty of activity on 6m. 2m SSB/CW is good in some parts of the country, not so good on others. 70cm isn't where I'd start someone.

> sure doesn't net very many QSOs, due to lack of
> activity on the bands.

Again, I don't hear that lack of activity. I now work as a consulting engineer for a computer company and I travel all over the country, albeit mostly to major cities. I hear activity all over the place with a really minimal antenna.

> Yes, the short run theory again.

Yep. It's reality for a lot of us.

> Think "newbie".

I am.

> They won't be interested in attaching their own
> PL-259s. How much for a pre-made 100 foot section
> of RG-8X, including shipping, from an internet
> source?

Why an internet source? Why not something a local ham has around as spare? Wouldn't an elmer teach how to solder on a connector? Mine did. Anyway, I bought my 50' runs (I don't need 100') from R&L Electronics (local to me, no shipping) for $14.95 plus tax with connectors on. On 2m and above I run 9913 which I acquired from a local ham who had bought more than he needed. Yes, I had to put on my own connectors.

> orptive situations where nothing worked above 20
> meters, I have never, not once, in my ham career
> seen 40 and 80 closed due to atmospherics.

You are assuming a newbie can put up an effective antenna for 40m and below. Heck, I can't on my tiny city lot. How can you assume a newbie can?

>>...or have an elmer help them find a good, used,
>> inexpensive rig.

> Here, you and I are soulmates. Elmering is NOT
> about posting FAQs on the web. Elmering is about
> going to the hamfests with the newbie, and helping
> them pick a rig, then helping them fix it if it's
> not quite right. Elmering is about going to the
> newbie's house and installing that first antenna
> if need be.

Thank you! Here you and I agree 100%. I would also say that if a newcomer is to succeed on 6m and/or 2m SSB they need some help. If you can keep their interest level up until they experience some band openings there is every chance the DX bug will bite and they will want to upgrade.

> Elmering is NOT properly done on the internet
> and at ham radio meetings

Don't dismiss that. I received a lot of encouragement and met many helpful people at club meetings when I was starting out. A year or two later I also met a newly licensed 15 year old who "borrowed" an IC-202 from me. Later on, maybe a year or two later, he paid me $75 for it which was a fair price and around what I had paid. By then he had a beam up for 2m SSB/CW, had learned CW to the point of being able to make QSOs with a handful of us who would meet him at 144.100, and had upgraded to General. He still didn't have an HF rig at that point, though we eventually found a working Atlas 210 for him. AFAIK he's still an active ham.

I also probably spend more time than I should answering newcomers' questions online.

> it's done at the newcomer's station. I'm really
> glad to see someone else who thinks along those
> lines.

I often wonder if the dropout rate in the hobby is due to lack of encouragement and elmering.

> Unfortunately, in my locale, the experienced
> VHF/UHF ops who would be capable of making a
> decent rig search, are, well, frankly, old and
> feeble, and not physically up to attending
> hamfests any more.

I'm not in that age bracket yet and I know many younger (as in 30s, 40s, and 50s) VHF/UHFers. I do think they greying of our hobby and our lack of ability to attract and keep younger people is very worrying, though.

> I haven't looked for a while - what's the best
> price you can get for 100 ft of RG-8X with
> pre-installed PL-259s?

Probably around $25-$30 at a guess.

> Don't forget a few barrel connectors and a jumper
> so the newbie can get the thing through a window
> fixture of some sort.

Add maybe $10-$12.

> I also admit I was thinking of 144 and 432 MHZ,
> not so much six meters.

I wasn't thinking 432. Insufficient activity unless you are in the northeast or California.

> I'll easily admit that I'm not in touch with
> what VHF antennas cost on the ham market.

There are also used antennas. I bought my current 222MHz beam (KLM, 7 elements) used from a semi-local ham for $20 in good condition. Again, it takes an elmer, something we agree on, to help a newbie find things like this.

> $200 for one band that's not open much except
> spring and summer.

Why only spring and summer? What about winter (short) Es season? If you're in south Florida or southern Texas there is also TE, which is spring and fall. If you're in the northern part of the country there is auroral propogation in the fall, winter, and early spring. Meteor scatter takes an elmer and a computer, but nowadays most younger people have the computer.

You are also forgetting that six is called the "magic band" because it opens when you least expect it to.

> And probably only when large parts of the ham
> population in your time zone are still awake.

If there is no band opening, yes, it's probably really hard to make a contact at 3 AM.

> Maybe $200 for such limited capabilities doesn't
> surprise a newbie, maybe it does.

I have never found 6m "limited". I certainly find it less limited than 2m FM in many places. Many repeaters are dead, many are cliquish, and a few have one or two curmudgeons who will do all they can to drive off newcomers. Try getting on 2m FM at 10PM and see if you can raise anyone. Often the answer is no, you can't. I have a much better chance on 6m SSB.

>> And then you'll have more fun than if you
>> stuck with FM.

> Of that, I am certain.

...and this is the main point of John's article. While I think he is setting up newcomers for disaster (as in nobody to talk to) by promoting vertical antennas all the time the main point of his article is correct.

> I have never steadfastly pursued VHF/UHF weak
> signal work.

That, I am quite certain, is the basis of your argument. If you had recent experience you might feel differently. Today so many HF rigs include 6m or even 2m. Hams who never bothered with VHF before decide to see what that extra position on the bandswitch can do. Population on 6m is way up.

> But I had my days - was on 144 and 432 when AM was
> the thing, and a bit into the SSB days.

The world has changed since then.

> but they never were the "24 hour per day" pleasure
> of HF.

Some people like instant gratification and some like a challenge. Color me as one who likes a challenge :) I am hardly unique.

> Freddie (or Frieda) newcomer calls you up and
> says "I'm available Sunday at 9am (or Wednesday
> at 4pm), and I want to take you up on your offer.
> I'll come over to your house, and you show me what
> six meter SSB is all about."

> What are the chances that you will be able to
> make, say, 6-10 QSOs at the time the newcomer
> chose to be available, with people whom you've
> never had a QSO before?

The "never had a QSO before" is the key to your argument. If I knew Freddie or Frieda were coming I'd have some scheds setup just to be sure somebody was on the air.

> Or can you do this only if the band happens to
> be open?

Sunday at 9 I can cheat and use a net :) Wednesday at 4 the odds are pretty good I'll find people on. If you had reversed the two (Sunday at 4 PM, Wednesday at 9 AM) it would have been tougher. Seriously, VHF/UHF is not predictable. OTOH, if 17 and 20 are dead (which does happen) I am not better off on HF due to my small lot and limited antennas. 40m SSB at night is often a wasteland. 40m CW is always good but I don't necessarily want to start off with CW for a newcomer. I always get there at some point, though.

The nice thing I have going for me as an elmer is I can demo ham radio without specifying bands or modes. I have 60m-23cm at my disposal. I wouldn't risk 75m SSB with a newcomer (too much chance of foul language or other offensive nonsense) and I have no antenna for 160m. My starting point, whenever I come into the shack, is to turn on the 6m rig.

Also, you assumed terrestrial propogation. Since we're talking about my shack here I'd probably fire up mtrack beforehand and see what the birds are doing. While I don't generally recommend satellites for newcomers it is something that I can show them that they can conceivably do with a Technician class license.

> We're dealing with newcomers here, not ardent
> advocates.

Yep. I remember what being a newcomer was like, too.

> You might be able to convince ME, a gray old
> man, to add another band and leave it on in the
> background for hours on end waiting for an opening

I wouldn't try as that is not how to find success on 6m.

> you have to convince him to "stop everything"
> while he tries it out.

Yep. You know what? Anytime I have an opportunity to elmer I find out what the person's existing interests are and try to tailor my presentation accordingly. If they love computers and aren't terribly outgoing socially I am more likely to start with digital communications than anything else, even though it isn't my favorite mode. With young girls I *always* start with the social aspect, with making friends on the air. 6m often works well for that.

> As I've watched folks attempt this, it seems
> more often than not that the wait for the band
> opening is more than they can bear, and they
> lose hope before they get enthused. I'm glad it
> worked for you.

It's worked for others as well. My only lament is I know a handful of hams who got "stuck". They enjoy 6m and 2m and maybe other VHF/UHF bands, decide it's great fun, and don't bother going further. I try to get them on HF but they just aren't interested.

>I know that casual operation is a different
> story, but to date I haven't seen anybody
> actually perform that survey.

Yep. I freely admit I am NOT a contester. My call appears in contest score lists once in a great while, never with a high score, and almost always for VHF/UHF or QRP contests.

>> The reality is that most new hams are techs.

> That is a choice that VE teams make

Actually, I think it's a choice the FCC made and the ARRL supported.

> that I don't agree with, because I've seen,
> first-hand, how much more enthusiast the HF
> newcomer is and how much more likely they are
> to stay active.

It might work that way today if the entry level license offered very limited HF privileges. Britain and Japan offer QRP-only codeless HF and I think that is actually a good idea. The ham in question has to upgrade to run more power. QRP as a starting point can be frustrating, but it offers two very good routes to increase one's ability to make QSOs: 1. develop very good operating skills, or 2. learn CW.

> Actually, I prefer the old fashioned way. Let
> them have some fun before they get the license.

OK, I stand corrected. You are absolutely right about that. That certainly was the case for me.

> We'd rather they decide they don't like ham radio,
> than to become another "paper license" only.

I can't disagree.

> What do they see at your place on six meter SSB,
> using that $200 station?

Assuming we start on 6m SSB they probably see me with an 80s vintage 6m rig (one of the first that also did some HF), some coax going out my window (with a short RG-300 jumper so that the window is closed), and a loop antenna out on my deck. Please note that I am way up on a high hill with a beautiful panoramic view that greatly increases my chance of success on VHF :) If I know I have a newcomer visiting that is likely to be interested in 6m I make sure that I have a sched with the caveat that if the band is open we'll keep it very short and go chase what's available.

Oh, and I almost always will demo CW if someone is really interested in ham radio and explain why I still find it worthwhile. I have a code reader setup for such occasions so that, with any luck and clean fists, they can follow along.

73,
Caity
K7VO/8
 
RE: Musing�s on Polarization & Antenna Effic  
by K7VO on July 9, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
John, you forget my call was once KQ6SK. At least in northern California, and everywhere else I have lived, something like 99% of VHF/UHF SSB/CW/digital ops are horizonatlly polarized. By pushing verticals you setup people for failure, the exact opposite of what an elmer should do. Go do some research: 20db polarization loss is a *minimum*, not a maximum.

-Cait, K7VO
 
RE: Elmer Musing’s  
by N0IU on July 9, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
WA6BFH wrote:

"My 6 Meter radio is on as I type this. It is on when I do the laundry, wash the dishes, eat dinner, and eat breakfast. It is on at all times except when I am sleeping, and even then sometimes during Meteor showers, or peak times at E-season etc."

You will notice that John does not have his radio on during "intimate moments". Since he spends so much time paying attention to 6 meter propagation, this is not an issue for him!



 
Best Musings for 6 Meter SSB, iCW  
by WA6BFH on July 10, 2005 Mail this to a friend!

I should have said:

2) The vertical (6 Meter antenna) has the advantage of having a lower angle of radiation than the horizontal antenna. This MOST often makes this signal polarization the better optimal choice!

Peace out! J


 
RE: Best Musings for 6 Meter SSB, iCW  
by K7VO on July 10, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
> 2) The vertical (6 Meter antenna) has the advantage
> of having a lower angle of radiation than the
> horizontal antenna. This MOST often makes this
> signal polarization the better optimal choice!

This does NOT compensate for 20db or greater polarization loss. It is not better. It is not optimal. For SSB/CW what you are writing is unadulterated crap. Come over to my shack and switch between my vertical (which I use for FM) and my loop. See how many signals you just plain can't hear on the vertical on SSB/CW. See how much you simply can't be heard with the vertical.

John, you wrote an article aimed at newcomers whom you are setting up for failure.

73,
Caity
K7VO
 
RE: Best Musings for 6 Meter SSB, iCW  
by WA6BFH on July 10, 2005 Mail this to a friend!

Caity, can you say DIRECT WAVE!

Can you conceive Direct Wave?

Can you contrast this to Sky Wave -- where ALL signals are bent, contorted and refracted?

All these folks need is a coax switch, if they want to cover your base’s. If they (you obviously) don't want check and see which polarization the signal is coming to them as, why would they want to investigate VHF anyway? What if Ross Hull thought as you do? Good grief what a persistently obtuse point to keep pushing in a scientific avocation!

I have said in EVERY article I have written that it is desirable to have both polarizations at ones disposal. Check out this idea though. How about having a comparator look at polarity angles, and control the antenna to track them?

You say I’m setting these folks up for failure. I tell all the neophytes that I have brought to 6 Meters (and in 40 years there have been many) that even a 3 element Yagi is too small an antenna aperture, and look at how many folks that have responded to my articles use this antenna and love it! I tell them that the 5 element commercial Yagi that is next most popular has too many elements on too short a boom. The 4 element manufactured antenna on a 12 foot boom is a superior antenna! I tell them how to safely and economically install this 4 element (horizontal) Yagi, on a 50 foot push-up mast, and to place a Quarter-wavelength Ground Plane above it.

You want them to use a loop at 15 feet or so. An antenna that by all of its design constraints is a compressed circular dipole -- of less than 1/3rd the aperture of a half-wave dipole! Beyond this, since this ‘dipole’ is folded around itself, it must use a very reactive, and often terrible design, matching system to jack the feed-impedance back to 50 Ohms. Who is setting them up for failure?


 
RE: Best Musings for 6 Meter SSB, iCW  
by K7VO on July 10, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
John, you are the one being deliberately obtuse and you have a religious zeal for verticals that ignores all evidence to the contrary. There is nothing wrong with 3 and 5 element beams on 6m. Similarly, there is nothing wrong with a horizontal loop. Sky wave, whether Es or F-layer, at the bottom of the cycle (where we are now) is available ~60 days a year on 6m. You ignore the other 300+ days. Direct wave or ground wave is where polarization matters, and having a horizontally polarized antenna, even a poor one, will allow somoene to make contacts while have a vertical at with its 20db polarization loss will not. We're talking about 300+ days a year, John. 300+.

I have an A/B switch on my two 6m antennas (loop and vertical), John, and I do check. The vertical is useless most of the time except for FM. During an Es band opening which you tout verticals for I can tell you that the loop is still more often than not the better choice. Sometimes the vertical does better on some signals, but those are the exception to the rule.

Sure, it's better to have both antennas. Since this article was directed at newcomers let's talk about what a newcomer is realistically going to start with. Best choice: beam or quad. If you can't put that up then *anything* horizontal is the way to go. The loop is still 20db+ better than a vertical.

Apeture? Almost completely unimportant in real life. Have you ever used a magnetic loop at HF, John? They work brilliantly and their apeture relative to wavelength is much, much smaller than an omni loop at VHF.

Oh, I know, you are convinced that the 99% or active VHF/UHFers are wrong and you are right. You know better than everyone. Heaven help the newcomers who follow your advice because they are unlikely to remain active hams. Listening to static and hearing nobody is not conducive to staying in the hobby.

You can have the last word. You can spout nonsense all you want. You always do. I've made my point and I've given up on you ever making sense.

-Cait
K7VO
 
RE: Best Musings for 6 Meter SSB, iCW  
by K7VO on July 10, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Oh, and no, I don't want anyone to use a loop at "15 feet or so". If you can't get one up higher that's better than nothing, but higher is definitely better. 50' or so would be best, 30' or so is more realistic for what many people can erect. While it's true that my loop is only 20' or so above ground it is about 500' HAAT.

Also, I never said a loop should be first choice. I always list a beam or quad as first choice. I jsut said a horizonatl loop is better than a vertical. Please don't put words in my mouth.

-Cait
K7VO/8
 
RE: Best Musings for 6 Meter SSB, iCW  
by KG6WLS on July 10, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Can I quietly step in here and make one final comment?

Like I said, I have both configurations...vertical and horizontal (loop) for 6 meters. While I agree that the vertical can receive more man made noise, than a horizontal, I've found that omni-directional is effective for ssb/cw. ONLY, and I say ONLY, because when you check into nets here in 6-land (a little poke at one of the other posters), net control is using vertical polarization. Cross polarization between net control and check-ins would be less than desirable. Would I be right in that assumption? I can easily flip back and forth with a coax (oh,yeah...they're short runs. I soldered my own PL-259's. Sheeeshhh!!!) switch when needed. I know that to some...the loop is crap. I'll defend my little homebrew job...once again... in case one has simply looked the other way.

<-"At my home QTH, I work vertical (Comet GP-15 at 25 feet up) for USB/CW/FM/AM, and horizontal 6 & 2 meter loops (homebrew, HI... at just under 30'up) for USB/CW. During the recent openings we had on 6, I casually worked/logged a total of 63 stations DX at 20-50 watts out with a 746PRO and a 706MKII. Distance wise, the tip of Wash, and East to South Dakota (Hawaii would have been a nice catch). 17 of them were from the VHF contest and three of them were CW! 32 of them are confirmed QSL, and they are still coming in the mail here and there. Looking at my log, these stations were worked just under four hours of operating time on different dates. Aside from the FM repeater nets, I can still hear and work some stations North of me (almost past Mickey Mouse land), and to the East as far out as Borrego (a little weak with the terrain). I keep the power down as to not get any WAN (worked all neighbors) awards.->"

<-"At the moment, I live in a dreaded CC&R community. Small 16' x 12' patio, no flag poles, no antennas, no this, no that, etc. I'm able to deploy the vertical tri-bander up and down easily when needed, and have the loops secured to the plumbing vent stacks on the roof, two stories up. Nobody knows they're there because they can't see them, and I haven't worked their cheap electronics.

So, I will say this. There are some folks out there, like me, that don't have the real estate to errect 12 foot booms at 50+ feet and are still able to work DX with compromised situations (and loops). VHF is enjoyable to work with, and a challenge!->"

Can't we all just get along?

Nuff said. I'm out of here!

"A vedi vedi vedi dat's all folks"

73 de Mike KG6WLS

 
RE: Best Musings for 6 Meter SSB, iCW  
by WA6BFH on July 10, 2005 Mail this to a friend!

<Direct wave or ground wave is where polarization matters, and having a horizontally polarized antenna, even a poor one, will allow somoene to make contacts while have a vertical at with its 20db polarization loss will not. We're talking about 300+ days a year, John. 300+. >

Caity, there is NO “ground wave” on 6 Meters, there is Direct Wave. Ground wave might amount to maybe 54 inches! Do you think these folks want to talk to locals?

There is no {cross polarization} 20 dB loss for ANY Sky Wave signal (and never more than 20 dB -- even for locals)! It does not matter whether this is E-layer, meteor, TE, or Tropo. Any signal on 6 Meters beyond a few hundred miles bends, twists, and refracts! Most times (test this and quit bitc&’n about it) this is nearer the vertical plane!

<I have an A/B switch on my two 6m antennas (loop and vertical), John, and I do check. The vertical is useless most of the time except for FM. During an Es band opening which you tout verticals for I can tell you that the loop is still more often than not the better choice. Sometimes the vertical does better on some signals, but those are the exception to the rule. >

Your findings are both contrary to mine, and to everyone I have known on 6 Meters for better than 40 years! Most of these folks have worked all states, and quite a few have worked all continents! How high are these antennas of yours?

<Sure, it's better to have both antennas. Since this article was directed at newcomers let's talk about what a newcomer is realistically going to start with. Best choice: beam or quad. If you can't put that up then *anything* horizontal is the way to go. The loop is still 20db+ better than a vertical. >

NO, best choice for a single antenna, is a simple quarter-wave Ground Plane, higher than 30 feet. If then they want to add a horizontal beam, I am all for it!

<Apeture? Almost completely unimportant in real life. Have you ever used a magnetic loop at HF, John? They work brilliantly and their apeture relative to wavelength is much, much smaller than an omni loop at VHF. >

Caity, your thoughts and appraisal as stated above should embarrass you! This is not HF -- it is VHF -- where one does not want to suffer IR losses. Loops for HF are typically in the wavelength aperture, not smaller than .16 wavelength aperture.

<Oh, I know, you are convinced that the 99% or active VHF/UHFers are wrong and you are right. You know better than everyone. Heaven help the newcomers who follow your advice because they are unlikely to remain active hams. Listening to static and hearing nobody is not conducive to staying in the hobby.

You can have the last word. You can spout nonsense all you want. You always do. I've made my point and I've given up on you ever making sense. >

Well good, I hope you will stop this, because as long as you post these assessments of your own on a public forum, I will refute them -- and hope that others {who want to explore this activity scientifically} will check these ideas on their own. I could list all of the callsigns of good Ham’s that agree with me. I’m sure you have seen them in the proceedings. If you push this I will ask them if it is Ok if I list them, I may anyway.

I don’t think it is in reality anywhere close to 99% using only horizontal. Most VHF Ham‘s that I know love the science of signal propagation -- you are the one that is using a mobile antenna as if it should be used as a serious VHF fixed station antenna -- at 15 bloody feet!

This avocation is a study in science, and is not about talking to locals. We know for the most part how local Direct Wave signals behave. Even though for those reasons, any Ham who is seeking to do more than pick up any old soul that comes along should be thinking about the entire make-up of his station. No more important component exists than a good antenna system, as high as can be accomplished. If that is 15 feet, you had better plan on operating portable from mountain tops for VHF.











 
RE: Best Musings for 6 Meter SSB, iCW  
by K7VO on July 10, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
> Do you think these folks want to talk to locals?

Ahhh... here is the crux of the matter. Of course we do. 6m has no sky wave propogation at all for about 300-310 days a year at the bottom of the cycle. In North Carolina, where I used to live, it had become the haven for those of us who were fed up with 75m. People in NC, SC, VA, and sometimes beyond got on every night and just chewed the rag. ALL, and I do mean ALL, were horizontally polarized. We had activity every night, nets several nights a week, and a Saturday morning net that often topped 40 and sometimes topped 50 checkins.

This "local" activity (actually there are some 300+ mile paths involved) was the bread and butter of 6m. Sure, it was all abandoned when the band was open and we all worked DX. When the band opens down that way I always hear those folks still doing what they always did.

Most newbies wouldn't want a radio that is useless for 10 months out of the year. The whole point for me encouraging newcomers on 6m is that it (unlike eHam) is a friendly and encouraging place to get started. Oh, and yes, when the band opens it's a blast.

So, yes, you're right about one thing. For sky wave polarization doesn't matter. Not one bit. My whole point had NOTHING AT ALL to do with sky wave. It had everything to do with the other 300 days a year which you, in your own words, don't care about. No wonder you give such ridiculous advice.

Oh, and tell me again how your 0 gain ground plane is "optimal" when compared to a yagi.

Oh, and next time read my posts before you respond if you don't want to look silly. My antenna isn't at 15' and never has been. Even if it was, surely you know the advantage of being atop a 500' hill. Or do you?

-Cait
K7VO
 
RE: Best Musings for 6 Meter SSB, iCW  
by WA6BFH on July 10, 2005 Mail this to a friend!

Caity, your last post makes you sound catty!

There are other methods or mechanisms of signal propagation rather than E-layer. So, your 300 days per year statement is as ill considered as your -20 to -30 dB statement. Actually though, E’s occur all year long! You must observe the MUF. A low elevation antenna would not however see this.

Like I said, I work 6 Meter DX all year long. Maybe E’s, maybe Meteor showers, whatever. Vertical is the better signal antenna polarization most often.

The quarter-wave Ground Plane is EFFICIENT. It does not waste energy {like the loop}, and has the benefit of a low angle of radiation. It does have to be up in the air though (30 feet or better).

That has been my resounding point for the months that you have been bitc&ing about this!
 
RE: Best Musings for 6 Meter SSB, iCW  
by K7VO on July 11, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I worked last night's band opening for about an hour. Every single station I worked or heard was running a yagi or a loop. Not one vertical. Why is that?

A quarter wave ground plane guarantees you talk to nobody 300+ days a year. That is a fact of life. Oh, and 99% is probably an underestimate of the percentage of hams who work SSB/CW on 6m who run horizontal polarization.

John, you can spout pseudo-science and technobabble all you want. It won't change facts. An earlier poster called you a "technical lightweight". He was being kind. You pick and choose what facts you like to make your point and boost your ego and ignore all else.
 
RE: Best Musings for 6 Meter SSB, iCW  
by W5ESE on July 11, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
> WA6BFH

> Even though for those reasons, any Ham who is
> seeking to do more than pick up any old soul
> that comes along should be thinking about the
> entire make-up of his station. No more important
> component exists than a good antenna system, as
> high as can be accomplished.
>
> If that is 15 feet, you had better plan on
> operating portable from mountain tops for VHF.

Thank you.

On the other hand, I've sometimes worked stations
on 40 meter CW who lived in covenant controlled
neighborhoods and were running a dipole or end
fed wire along their fence at maybe 8 feet. Or
something concealed under the eaves of their
house.

When I was in the tent campground at the base
of the Guadalupe Mountains in West Texas, I ran
a 1/2 watt Rockmite on 40 meters CW into a twin
-lead fed doublet at maybe 10 feet, hung from
the only available antenna support: a mesquite
bush. Still worked stations in Arizona and
Oregon, despite the laughable NVIS antenna.

This is why new amateurs should weigh going
straight for the Tech+ and get an economical
used HF rig. You can get 5, 6 or more HF bands
for about the same cost you'd pay for a used
single band 6 meter or 2 meter all-mode rig.

There's alot of variety between 80 and 10
meters.

73
Scott
W5ESE
 
RE: Best Musings for 6 Meter SSB, iCW  
by K7VO on July 11, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Scott: The only thing wrong with your theory is that the Tech+ license no longer exists. It doesn't even appear in the FCC database anymore though Techs who passed the 5 WPM test when the Tech+ existed did not lose their privileges.

The entry level license for HF is General. That has been the case since 2000.

73,
Caity
K7VO
 
RE: Best Musings for 6 Meter SSB, iCW  
by WA6BFH on July 11, 2005 Mail this to a friend!

Scott, I am wondering if I should even answer this, but let me I guess ask some questions of you.

1) Are you making an analogy that 6 Meter wavelength operation and operation on 40 Meters are comparable?

2) Are you suggesting that following the science of signal propagation, such as investigating Sporadic E-layer ionization, Meteor Scatter, Tropospheric Ducting, Trans-equatorial skip can be pursued on 40 Meters?

Your statement simply is non-sequeter to the topic at hand!

Let me add a bit of tongue in cheek to this though. The 8 to 10 foot antenna height that you mention for 40 Meters would be a height of .07 wavelength in the air. On 6 Meters that would put the antenna at 16.8 inches off the ground. Maybe Caity is doing Ok, she could lower her antenna by about 13.5 feet, and do as well as you do on 40 Meters!
 
RE: Best Musings for 6 Meter SSB, iCW  
by W5ESE on July 11, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I knew that the "Tech with code" wasn't tracked in
the FCC database, but I thought a Tech with a
"Certificate of Successful Completion" for Element
1 acquired the old Novice privileges. I think the
"CSC" expires after a year for upgrading purposes,
but the HF privileges continue.

According to the ARRL website:

-------------------------------------------------
Technician Class

Hams enter the hobby as Technicians by passing a
35-question multiple-choice examination. No Morse
code test is required. The exam covers basic
regulations, operating practices, and electronics
theory, with a focus on VHF and UHF applications.

Technician Class operators are authorized to use all
amateur VHF and UHF frequencies (all frequencies above
50 MHz). Technicians who pass a 5 WPM Morse code
examination are entitled to limited power outputs on
certain HF frequencies. "Technicians with HF" may
operate on the 80, 40, and 15 meter bands using CW,
and on the 10 meter band using CW, voice, and digital
modes.

-------------------------------------------------

http://www.arrl.org/FandES/ead/classes.html#technician

Maybe I'm wrong (but I'm in good company).

73
Scott
W5ESE
 
RE: Best Musings for 6 Meter SSB, iCW  
by WA6BFH on July 11, 2005 Mail this to a friend!

Caity, you can be as nasty and deriding as you like. I will stick to what I have learned in the near 40 years that I have been on 6 Meters, and also with what was shown to me even when I had my Novice license.

Those neophytes that I have Elmer’ed have all become good Ham’s. None of them ever came back and said to me, “John, why did you steer me so wrongly with that 6 Meter Ground Plane”. One who put up a $39.00 Arrow Ground Plane promptly bombarded me with about a dozen e-mails in the same day telling me all the contacts he was now making. He had started with a 3 element beam 10 feet above his roof, and asked me why he was not working anyone!

Many of these newbie’s started with whatever radios they came by first, various Radio Shack FM radios, Swan 270’s TS-520’s, TS-430’s whatever. Their next radio purchase was always one that included 6 Meters, or they purchased a 6 Meter mono-band radio. The first time they worked 6 Meter DX they were hooked. They still work HF, but 6 Meters is where the fun is at!
 
RE: Best Musings for 6 Meter SSB, iCW  
by W5ESE on July 11, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
> 1) Are you making an analogy that 6 Meter
> wavelength operation and operation on 40 Meters
> are comparable?

No, but I think both of them are fun.

> 2) Are you suggesting that following the science
> of signal propagation, such as investigating
> Sporadic E-layer ionization, Meteor Scatter,
> Tropospheric Ducting, Trans-equatorial skip can
> be pursued on 40 Meters?

No, though some of those modes can be pursued on
10 meters. Most HF all-mode rigs cover both 40 and
10 meters. And some of the propagation modes you
listed will be encountered more frequently on
10 meters than on 6.

> Your statement simply is non-sequeter to the topic
> at hand!

Well, sir, I apologize. I thought the topic at hand
was how new hams, at a stage in their ham careers
at which they're starting with nothing, can add the
most capability, variety, and fun per unit dollar
spent.

And I still think a 160-10 (or 80-10) meter rig is
the best fit for that.

My advice is simply to "pick the low hanging fruit
first". Then, as interest and finances permit, add
VHF/UHF weak signal capabilities. That HF transceiver
will make a great IF strip for a transverter
someday.

> Let me add a bit of tongue in cheek to this
> though. The 8 to 10 foot antenna height that
> you mention for 40 Meters would be a height of
> .07 wavelength in the air. On 6 Meters that would
> put the antenna at 16.8 inches off the ground.
> Maybe Caity is doing Ok, she could lower her
> antenna by about 13.5 feet, and do as well as you
> do on 40 Meters!

So I guess your advice would be that if I can't
put my 40 meter doublet up at least a quarter
wavelength, then I just shouldn't bother?

I still worked Arizona and Oregon while running
1/2 watt into it, and had an evening of fun.

Like everyone else, Caity puts up the best
antenna she can given the constraints of the
homeowner association control freaks, etc, that
so many of us have to deal with these days.

73
Scott
W5ESE
 
RE: Best Musings for 6 Meter SSB, iCW  
by N0IU on July 11, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Talking to WA6BFH about anything other than 6 meter DX is like trying to convince the cattle rancher that you like chicken more than beef!
 
RE: Best Musings for 6 Meter SSB, iCW  
by WA6BFH on July 11, 2005 Mail this to a friend!

N0IU, I really love 222 MHz SSB and the microwave bands too! I have even been known to go as low as 10 Meters to work E-layer skip etc!

So, hows 20 doing these days, haven't heard from you in awhile!
 
RE: Best Musings for 6 Meter SSB, iCW  
by WA6BFH on July 11, 2005 Mail this to a friend!

<So I guess your advice would be that if I can't
put my 40 meter doublet up at least a quarter
wavelength, then I just shouldn't bother? >


Scott, I would not say that at all! I have a 40 Meter dipole up at about 20 feet; I would like to have it up at about 99 feet. We do what we can.

That of course is the main difference between HF and frequencies in the VHF range or higher. We can’t just put a VHF or UHF antenna up at 10 or 15 feet and expect it to work well. Even Caity’s awful 2 foot diameter loop would work better at 30 or 60 feet but, if she could put up an antenna at 30 feet or better, I would hope that she would use a real one! Actually two, one vertically polarized, and the other horizontal.

73! John

 
RE: Elmer Musing�s  
by KC8ZTJ on July 11, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
"I too also try to get folks to NOT buy the 2 meter ht as a first rig, I try to point them to a FT857d ( cheeper than a 706 and I find easier to use.) or a ts 2000 or a ft 847, I try to show them there is more than 2 meter fm repeaters to a tech license. I try to get them to go to sidewinders on two, and look at some hams doing moonbounce on 2 meters at 1500 watts from ca to germany, etc.

how about when 6 is in on ssb I worked guatemala, brazil, alaska and hawaii all in about 20 minutes with 100 watts and a 3 ele beam. this was a couple months ago, but it is possible. I have a buddy who worked from Ca, to Japan on 65 meters..100 watts and a 3 ele beam.

buy a ht, them a mag mount antenna then an amp, then a power supoply etc and you already paid for a ft 857d ($650 or so) and add a atas 120 for $300 and you are in business."

As a tech, I have looked into getting an HR rig to use on my frequencies, but found even used prices out of my budget. My first HT and power amp. for a lot lot less than say an FT817 or a Icom 706. That includes an antenna cable and connectors.
 
RE: Elmer Musing�s  
by KC8ZTJ on July 11, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
"I too also try to get folks to NOT buy the 2 meter ht as a first rig, I try to point them to a FT857d ( cheeper than a 706 and I find easier to use.) or a ts 2000 or a ft 847, I try to show them there is more than 2 meter fm repeaters to a tech license. I try to get them to go to sidewinders on two, and look at some hams doing moonbounce on 2 meters at 1500 watts from ca to germany, etc.

how about when 6 is in on ssb I worked guatemala, brazil, alaska and hawaii all in about 20 minutes with 100 watts and a 3 ele beam. this was a couple months ago, but it is possible. I have a buddy who worked from Ca, to Japan on 65 meters..100 watts and a 3 ele beam.

buy a ht, them a mag mount antenna then an amp, then a power supoply etc and you already paid for a ft 857d ($650 or so) and add a atas 120 for $300 and you are in business."

As a tech, I have looked into getting an HR rig to use on my frequencies, but found even used prices out of my budget. My first HT and power amp. for a lot lot less than say an FT817 or a Icom 706. That includes an antenna cable and connectors.
 
RE: Best Musings for 6 Meter SSB, iCW  
by N0IU on July 12, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
WA6BFH wrote on July 11, 2005, "So, hows 20 doing these days, haven't heard from you in awhile!"

John,

20 meters is great! I can work just about any country any time I want by firing up my 3kw amp (because we all know that the FCC regulations are like stop signs at the mall parking lot -- they are just a suggestion!) and selecting which 20 meter monoband yagi I need - the one at 60 feet, 90 feet or 120 feet. Of course I only work CW at 35-40 WPM, so that means I don't work any Technicians or Generals - I only work 'real' hams!

Toodles!
 
Elmer Musing’s  
by K5RIX on July 13, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
The article is right on, not to mention that upgraded ticket won't need a new rig. Besides, I'm always encouraging 6M CW activity, and I believe not since Mizuho or thereabouts has there been a 6M HT that can do CW! 6M CW is the land of the adventurer as far as straight operating goes. There are enough solar sputz and meteor zings and temperature slubs to make 50.1 MHz plus-or-minus 50 KHz (pardon me if I miss hyphen) worthwhile listening. And if one is indeed listening, when the band opens, it will be about as subtle as a freight train. 6M CW is cool, and there is almost always something to be learned from simply listening.
 
RE: Best Musings for 6 Meter SSB, iCW  
by N0TONE on July 13, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
First, KG6WLS wrote:

>Well, there you have it folks! Another "Blast from the
>Past". Yet...once again...more condescending remarks
>from a individual that carries no rationality to the
>newer generation of hams.

>"Short coax runs are a luxury that no newbie I've
>worked with in the past several years has had."

>"Yes, the short run theory again. Think "newbie". They
>won't be interested in attaching their own PL-259s.
>How much for a pre-made 100 foot section of RG-8X,
>including shipping, from an internet source?"

>"I haven't looked for a while - what's the best price
>you can get for 100 ft of RG-8X with pre-installed
>PL-259s? Don't forget a few barrel connectors and a
>jumper, so the newbie can get the thing through a
>window fixture of some sort".

>Holy Chorizo! What a load of crap.

>I'm sorry that most of us here were not born yet when
>you acquired your ham license back in the day. It sure
>is awful to see that there is such a high influx of
>TECHS (I'm sorry, NEWBIES) that will strive and
>persevere into this hobby/service for their own
>gratification. Obviously, this gent has blinders on
>and won't look any other way than his.

>I will leave you with this final comment, and won't
>bother with responding to anymore of your prattle. I
>very much hope that your beloved station is willed to
>a family member, or respectable club of your choice,
>and not to an estate sale or eBay for some wanna'be.
>Hey, you can't take it with you!

>Good Day, Sir.

And I answer his questions (rhetorical and otherwise):

I'm sorry you considered my comments to be merely a "blast from the past" (and I beg forgiveness if my advanced years cause me to misinterpret this collqualism). I drew my commentary about the expectations and willingness of the newcomer from the comments that the 300 or so new hams I've brought into the hobby over the past five years have said to me.

I admit to being somewhat blind to correct interpretation of sarcasm of the thickness which you have used, but I sense that you have an objection to the use of the word "newbie". I only use that word because the newcomers with whom I've worked have applied the term to themselves. I rather assumed that if they chose to use the term, then it was acceptable.

If you read my earlier posting, then you know that I have not worked with any "techs" - the newcomers I've worked with have almost always entered the hobby at the General class.

You might be surprised at the most common question I get asked about equipment. It is this: "What radio should I buy today, that will never need a repair for 20 years?", and it is quickly followed with "why don't radio manufacturers offer 10 year warranties like car makers have started doing?". Without a doubt, the item that incites the greatest fear amongst those whom I have seen enter the hobby in the past five years is the usage of the soldering iron. And yes, we include a soldering lesson. They've all soldered a PL-259 by the time they've completed our classes. They just don't want to do it again, and it's based on experience.

All of them? No. Most of them? Absolutely. I'm happy to see that KG6WLS falls into the minority, and, as someone who spent his entire career in technical pursuits, I'm overwhelmingly pleased when I encounter someone who's willing to tackle the technical challenges. It's just not been common in the newcomers I've brought into the hobby.

Later, KG6WLS wrote:

>Can't we all just get along?

Sure we can. But it takes both of us. I'm ready and waiting for you.

AM
 
RE: Musing�s on Polarization & Antenna Effic  
by N0TONE on July 13, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Caity, I wish I had a granddaughter who followed reason as well as you do. Oh, well.

My comments to your well-thought comments:

>> A good way to scare someone off is to start him off
>> on a band where it's months, sometimes, between
>> band openings.

>There is the voice of inexperience talking. 6m is
>*NOT* dead for months at a time. I have been active
>continuously for over 20 years on the band from a
>variety of QTHs and I have yet to experience that.

Your own comments in this thread indicate that it is without openings for 300-310 days a year. When that Es opening shows up, it might be 2am. Hope the newcomer is on at that time (as well as others).

>> It's a new hobby to the newbie, and they will
>> fit it in between other activities.

>Clue: I still fit it in between other activities.

Clue: You know how to hunt on six meters. I've had a rig on, tuned around lots, put in many hours of "background" listening time. Nothing heard or worked, have now been at it for three weeks. I'm only five miles from a population center as I write this; tomorrow I'll be travelling to my home near Redding, and will attempt to continue the same effort.

>> You won't get them to reserve a special time
>> in the evening when "most other hams are more
>> likely to be on".

>I don't either.

Good. So the likelihood of a QSO at 2-3am is high. I've mentored a LOT of newcomers who work second shift.

>Another clue: just listening to one frequency, or even
>scanning a handful of frequencies, is a great way to
>MISS activity on 6m. First, you have to tune around.
>Second, if you don't hear something you call CQ. You'd
>be amazed at how often you'll get an answer on what
>you thought was a "dead" band. Third, don't just call
>on 50.125 with a modest station. Just because you
>can't hear it doesn't mean there isn't activity there.
>Move up the band a little and call again. Do these
>things and you'd be amazed how many unscheduled,
>unplanned contacts you can make.

In other words, six meters does require substantially more initiative than, say, 40 meters.

>> I do have a 100W six meter radio. I have, for
>> many months on end, had it connected to a
>> three-element log-periodic and listning to 50.110

>The DX calling frequency. Useful perhaps 10 days a
>year.

>> (or whatever I had been told the SSB calling
>> frequency was)

>On SSB there are three: 50.110 (DX), 50.125
>(domestic),

Yes, that's it. 50.125. Just checked, it's in one of the radio's memories. I've listened there, tuned up and down about 10kHz, called CQ on that freq and up and down.

>> I have done this listening (and CQing also)
>> with six meters from QTHs in 8, 4, 5, 7 and 6-land.
>> Only when I was in a fairly heavily populated
>> area could I ever work anybody sans band opening.

>If you have only lived in very rural areas far from
>any city I suppose that it is possible that local 6m
>activity would be nil.

Most of my homes (I presently own four) are about 50 miles from a population center. One of them is only a few miles.

> However, check where most of the U.S. population
>lives. It ins't in rural Wyoming. Most hams live
>somewhere near a major population center.

Depends on the definition of "near". For the present discussion, "most of the US" is not relevant. What is relevant is "where do my newcomers live". Most of them live in suburbia, in or adjacent to cities of 50,000 to 200,000 population, typically 50 to 150 miles from a major population center.

>In the under $150 price class we are talking rigs like
>the ones listed below. Ones I've seen for $100 and
>under are denoted with a *:

>6m: Icom IC-502*, IC-502A*, IC-505; Kenwood TR-9300,
>Mizuho MX-6S or MX-6Z* SSB/CW HT; National (Panasonic)
>RJX-610* (rare, but I paid $80 for one and it is a
>sweet rig); Yaesu FT-620, FT-620B, FT-680, FT-690R
>(original version only, not MK II).

Wow. Many of those I've never heard of. Those I've heard of, generally I've not seen at 'fests. I'm a moderate attendee of 'fests, and a moderate viewer of sales events. While not completely ignorant of the used market, I am by no means a frequent trader. I've personally owned an IC-502 - drifty bugger, not much fun to use, but definitely cheap. I think I paid less than $150 new. Have never seen one since. Presently using a TS-660 plus amplifier.

>> Every ham club I've ever belonged to had free HF
>> rigs available for usage by newcomers.

>You must belong to better clubs than I do.

Not "better", just ones with more thoughtful members. An FT-101 or TS-520 is a far better investment than a repeater. I've never seen a club say "no" when a member suggested that the club invest in an HF rig to lend to new licensees. Try it at your club's next meeting.

>> Yes, the short run theory again.

>Yep. It's reality for a lot of us.

We must have different demographics. 300 newcomers in five years. Under 100 feet has been a rarity.

>> They won't be interested in attaching their own
>> PL-259s. How much for a pre-made 100 foot section
>> of RG-8X, including shipping, from an internet
>> source?

>Why an internet source?

Because Radio Shack's stuff, and the stuff stocked at HRO, usually has poorly attached connectors.

>Why not something a local ham has around as spare?

Hmmm, hadn't thought of that. I've personally run out of such spares, having given them to newcomers, but I could always put together a new batch. My own operations are based on homebrew open line, but I could certainly "give to the cause" and spend some money on coax and connectors.

>Wouldn't an elmer teach how to solder on a connector?

Yea, we do that with all our newcomers, but they never want to "suffer" the experience again - with exceptions.

>You are assuming a newbie can put up an effective
>antenna for 40m and below. Heck, I can't on my tiny
>city lot. How can you assume a newbie can?

You haven't tried hard enough. I've had newcomers use attic-mounted loops, downspouts with radials laid underneath, black wire slipped under the roof shingles, all work on 40 meters, and sometimes 80 meters. Sure, an outdoor antenna is better, but not necessary. There are enough "good" stations on HF that a very weak HF station can still make QSOs 24 hours a day, particularly on 40 meters.

>I often wonder if the dropout rate in the hobby is due
>to lack of encouragement and elmering.

If you add in the generally sarcastic communications style of the average ham under 50 years old (present company excluded), then I think you're onto something. I am amazed, when I go to ham club meetings, at how the 40-50 year old crowd thinks you're supposed to talk. No wonder the younger crowd is offended. Sarcasm seems to have lept from the sitcom into daily life and it just doesn't belong there.

>I'm not in that age bracket yet and I know many
>younger (as in 30s, 40s, and 50s) VHF/UHFers. I do
>think they greying of our hobby and our lack of
>ability to attract and keep younger people is very
>worrying, though.

Those in our area who are not retired are the ones who don't have time to elmer - that's always been a problem. Ham radio isn't really graying that quickly. When I got into the hobby (over 50 years ago), it was a hobby composed mostly of retirees. Takes too much time for most folks with careers and kids, and that's how it's always been. Look at the photos of hams in the pages of QST from the 1920s and 1930s - most were gray or bald, even back then.

>> $200 for one band that's not open much except
>> spring and summer.

>Why only spring and summer?

Because that's what you said were the times when one could often find the band open. Sorry, just relying on your advice! <grin>

>What about winter (short) Es season?

How likely is the newcomer to experience this when he can only turn on the rig for 20 minutes in the evening this week Tuesday, next week Thursday, and maybe for 15 minutes at 5am on Sunday before the children get up?

> If you're in south Florida or southern Texas there is
>also TE, which is spring and fall. If you're in the
>northern part of the country there is auroral
>propogation in the fall, winter, and early spring.

I thought auroral propagation took a bit more than a "modest" station?

>> And probably only when large parts of the ham
>> population in your time zone are still awake.

>If there is no band opening, yes, it's probably really
>hard to make a contact at 3 AM.

I have to admit, that's always been the time when I tend to work my best DX. Maybe that's why I'm the guy the second-shift newcomers come to for help!

>> Maybe $200 for such limited capabilities doesn't
>> surprise a newbie, maybe it does.

>I have never found 6m "limited".

When I saw this comment, I decided to "take you up" on it. It is now a half hour later, 1:30am my time (West Coast). I just spent a half hour on six meters, 100W to a 4element Yagi. The band is open - I can hear a beacon from Colorado (DM79). I sent CQ on 50.125, 50.130, 50.135 and then 50.120. I then sent CQ on CW on 50.100, 50.095 and 50.090. I tuned from 50.070 to 50.150 and heard nobody else. That's "limited" in my book. Band is open - nobody will answer. Maybe I'm heard, but nobody answered. I spent 30 minutes in this exercise.

> I certainly find it
>less limited than 2m FM in many places. Many repeaters
>are dead, many are cliquish, and a few have one or two
>curmudgeons who will do all they can to drive off
>newcomers. Try getting on 2m FM at 10PM and see if you
>can raise anyone. Often the answer is no, you can't. I
>have a much better chance on 6m SSB.

It takes no effort to convince me that 2 meters is best reserved for curmudgeons, power-grabbers, and the ARES snobs. I never recommend newcomers even HAVE 2 meter FM capabilities. At best, they get no QSOs, and at worst, they get bad influences.

>> I have never steadfastly pursued VHF/UHF weak
>> signal work.

>That, I am quite certain, is the basis of your
>argument.

Absolutely. I've spent many three-month windows with VHF/UHF weak signal capabilities available and spent effort making QSOs. I've made a few wonderful QSOs on VHF/UHF weak signal, and even made a few EME QSOs and probably a hundred satellite QSOs. But because those QSOs have been too far and few between, and required my presence at "just the right time", I have never had the gumption to remain steadfast in the pursuit of something whose devotees have adopted "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights" as their theme song.

> If you had recent experience you might feel
> differently.

The past three weeks have not changed my mind. Nor did the experience I had on FD. I saw how far and how many QSOs a good VHF/UHF station could make, and even saw a good six meter opening (Northern California to Venezuela). But I heard the comments from the top notch VHF op, saying that this was a once-in-a-few-years event. Too rare for me.

>> but they never were the "24 hour per day" pleasure
>> of HF.

>Some people like instant gratification and some like a
>challenge. Color me as one who likes a challenge :) I
>am hardly unique.

You may be my kind of ham (I once worked DX on 160 meters from a third story apartment building using a vertical dipole taped to the siding), but the newcomers I've worked with in the recent past have not, typically, been of your ilk. Some have, but it's the rarity, not the generality.

>> Freddie (or Frieda) newcomer calls you up and
>> says "I'm available Sunday at 9am (or Wednesday
>> at 4pm), and I want to take you up on your offer.
>> I'll come over to your house, and you show me what
>> six meter SSB is all about."

>> What are the chances that you will be able to
>> make, say, 6-10 QSOs at the time the newcomer
>> chose to be available, with people whom you've
>> never had a QSO before?

>The "never had a QSO before" is the key to your
>argument. If I knew Freddie or Frieda were coming I'd
>have some scheds setup just to be sure somebody was on
>the air.

The Freddie and Frieda that I've worked with would call this "cheating". If you can make a sked with someone, you're calling them on the phone. If you know their number, and can use a phone, why bother with a radio? That completely blows any argument that ham radio can connect people who are not already connected - and without that, you don't have a benefit for the service. Except for the techno-geeks, which you and I may be, but most Freddie and Friedas are not.

The goal is to simulate the conditions that Freddie or Frieda would experience, when he/she gets on the air during those 20 minutes that the children, temporarily, are having fun by themselves. This time will happen unexpectedly and cannot be scheduled, for most newcomers. Again, this is based on the newcomers I've worked with over about the past five years.

>Seriously, VHF/UHF is not predictable. OTOH, if 17 and
>20 are dead (which does happen) I am not better off on
>HF due to my small lot and limited antennas. 40m SSB
>at night is often a wasteland. 40m CW is always good
>but I don't necessarily want to start off with CW for
>a newcomer. I always get there at some point, though.

Caity, I worked DXCC in a weekend on 40 meters using an indoor vertical once, in a CC&R controlled subdivision. If you have ANY access to the outdoors, you have no reasonable excuse to not have a 40 meter station that can make QSOs 24 hours a day.

As far as CW versus SSB, here's what I do. The newcomer comes over. I have a TS-520 and a low dipole set up, precisely for the purpose of demonstrating what they can do with an under-$200 station. I show them a CW contact. I make it a DX contact, so that it's quick, and then I can explain what they just saw/heard. Then I get on SSB and make at least one QSO. I then explain to them how CW can make QSOs in conditions when SSB cannot, and how it's much easier, if you have a simple station, to make a CW QSO, but I also tell them that I understand that code is not easy to learn. We then get on the big station (one of my homes has only small antennas, and thus has no "big station", but #2 has a multiband dipole at 90 feet, #3 has a Yagi and wires at 50, and #4 has some nice phased verticals for 80, 40 and 20) and make some "easy" SSB QSOs. For two of my stations, 20 has never been closed, and for all of my stations, 30 and 40 are never closed, although sometimes 30 meters has low activity and there's nobody to contact. They have the option of going for tech or above, and learning CW or not, but only after they understand the benefits of CW with respect to making QSOs with a modest station.

After this explanation of SSB and CW, the observer ALWAYS asks to try to learn CW. It's just not the barrier that some people claim. Like the driver's license - show them the benfit of knowing it, and they readily choose to try. I've had two applicants decide not to pursue CW, and those two I sent to the VE teams willing to give them the tech test - then they came back and learned CW after all.

>The nice thing I have going for me as an elmer is I
>can demo ham radio without specifying bands or modes.
>I have 60m-23cm at my disposal.

Without access to 40 meters, you've missed the best HF band. My guess is that you probably can do just fine on 40 meters by tuning whatever you're using on 60 meters.

>I wouldn't risk 75m
>SSB with a newcomer

Not just due to the foul language issue, but even in the absence of foul language, the topics of discussion are anything BUT interesting.

> (too much chance of foul language
>or other offensive nonsense) and I have no antenna for
>160m.

160 is a band best left to those who enjoy building very large antennas, or who are willing to understand the limitations of small ones. I have worked as many as 30 countries on 160 from indoor antenns, but this is a CW only band, and probably even more limited to band openings than six.

> My starting point, whenever I come into the
>shack, is to turn on the 6m rig.

Evidently, as long as you have a sked set up?

>Also, you assumed terrestrial propogation. Since we're
>talking about my shack here I'd probably fire up
>mtrack beforehand and see what the birds are doing.

Is that something they can access with the proverbial $200 station?

While the newcomers I bring into the hobby do have computers, the PC is usually shared with the family, and not available "when needed" for ham radio. Actually, some of the newcomers I bring in are in their sixties or older, don't have computers, and don't want to. But that's unique to me. My oldest child is almost 70, so the older "newcomers" do gravitate to me, as I have the patience to work with them. But I have plenty of 12 year olds who enjoy working with the old man, too.

>Yep. You know what? Anytime I have an opportunity to
>elmer I find out what the person's existing interests
>are and try to tailor my presentation accordingly. If
>they love computers and aren't terribly outgoing
>socially I am more likely to start with digital
>communications than anything else, even though it
>isn't my favorite mode. With young girls I *always*
>start with the social aspect, with making friends on
>the air. 6m often works well for that.

Yes, that's exactly why I place an emphasis on "turn on the radio and within five minutes, talk to someone you've never talked to before", that's what grabs their interest. With the difficulty I've had making ANY QSOs on six meters, given ANY random 30 minute attempt, I think I should, well, "reserve" my enthusiasm for six - until I figure out how to make QSOs on the band!

>It's worked for others as well. My only lament is I
>know a handful of hams who got "stuck". They enjoy 6m
>and 2m and maybe other VHF/UHF bands, decide it's
>great fun, and don't bother going further. I try to
>get them on HF but they just aren't interested.

Stop trying. One thing I REALLY hate about the present licensing structure is the notion of an "upgrade". Is someone who "only" drives passenger vehicles a less-competent driver than one who drives semi trucks? No. They have the license appropriate to their needs. A tech-class ham is not a lesser ham than a general or extra. If they can have loads of fun on six and two, then more power to them and I don't push them to "upgrade". They have the license required for their chosen pursuits. I've just not found that this is, statistically speaking, as effective as getting them on HF.

>Yep. I freely admit I am NOT a contester. My call
>appears in contest score lists once in a great while,
>never with a high score, and almost always for VHF/UHF
>or QRP contests.

I was around when the ARRL "invented" contests as a "test" (the second part of that word contest) of a station and operator's capabilities to communicate. I guess because of my commercial career, it's always been important to me to measure the effectiveness of my station and personal capabilities, to know whether I've improved things since last year. So I do enter contests, never submitting a log, but comparing this year to last year. You'll never see my callsign in a score list at all.

>>> The reality is that most new hams are techs.

>> That is a choice that VE teams make

>Actually, I think it's a choice the FCC made and the
>ARRL supported.

No. The existence of the three licenses is, as you offer, established by FCC rule and ARRL non-complaint. However, the point at which a person enters is still a personal choice. There are more first-day Extras now than ever before. In fact, prior to about 1976, you could only be an Extra after being some other license class for two years.

When there was a novice and a tech, the novice was the most popular entry class. The general, not the tech, was the second most popular. Shortly after the novice was done away with, the general, not the tech, was the choice of entry. After the ARRL, W5YI, and WB6NOA revised all their study materials to re-focus on the tech, it became the popular entry license. The statistics on "most popular point of entry" are closely correlated with the educational emphasis provided by the major providers.

>It might work that way today if the entry level
>license offered very limited HF privileges. Britain
>and Japan offer QRP-only codeless HF and I think that
>is actually a good idea.

I like the idea too. Our VE team makes this effectively true, by not offering a tech-only class or exam. As I wrote before, very few of our applicants are put off by this, although we do tell them which alternative VE teams are willing to give them the codelss test and exam. Our promotion of the General as the recommended "entry point" means that our newcomers all have HF priveleges from Day One.

> The ham in question has to upgrade to run more power.
>QRP as a starting point can be frustrating, but it
>offers two very good routes to increase one's ability
>to make QSOs: 1. develop very good operating skills,
>or 2. learn CW.

I read a recent posting on a contesting club website about a ham who was using an apartment antenna and 20 watts in a contest, and made some 20 countries in two hours. Now, he probably is fairly skilled, but if he can do that, then QRP and indoor antennas certainly can make "local" (e.g. USA-wide) QSOs even for the inexperienced ham. Certainly the newcomers I've mentored using 10-20 watts and indoor antenns on CW have not been frustrated - those who chose to try SSB were, but they EXPECTED it to be frustrating, therefore they did not get discouraged by it.

>> Actually, I prefer the old fashioned way. Let
>> them have some fun before they get the license.

>OK, I stand corrected. You are absolutely right about
>that. That certainly was the case for me.

This factor - getting them on the air before they take the class - I think has more to do with the enthusiasm they show than the elmering we do later.

>> What do they see at your place on six meter SSB,
>> using that $200 station?

>Assuming we start on 6m SSB they probably see me with
>an 80s vintage 6m rig (one of the first that also did
>some HF), some coax going out my window (with a short
>RG-300 jumper so that the window is closed), and a
>loop antenna out on my deck. Please note that I am way
>up on a high hill with a beautiful panoramic view that
>greatly increases my chance of success on VHF :)

But you still feel the need to set up skeds on six meters to ensure that you'll make a QSO when the newcomer shows up.

> If I know I have a newcomer visiting that is likely
>to be interested in 6m I make sure that I have a sched
>with the caveat that if the band is open we'll keep it
>very short and go chase what's available.

In the absence of a sked, what would they experience, without a band opening? How many of those stations within 300 miles are likely to be on at any given, randomly-selected time?

>Oh, and I almost always will demo CW if someone is
>really interested in ham radio and explain why I still
>find it worthwhile. I have a code reader setup for
>such occasions so that, with any luck and clean fists,
>they can follow along.

As I explained, I start on CW. I tell them carefully what they're about to witness, then I make the DX QSO - short and sweet - then I explain to them what they just saw. I'm careful to explain that CW isn't easy to learn for just anybody, but it is the easiest way to make a QSO given an inexpensive station. Then we do SSB. I do not make any claims about CW being "the orignal digital mode" or any of the other pro-CW stuff you see on the internet. I don't belong to FISTS, and I don't have a big key collection. Actually, I have just one straght key, one bug, and one paddle. I actually have more microphones than keying devices, so the casual observer would think I put more emphasis on phone.


Enjoying the exchange.

TU,

AM

>73,
>Caity
>K7VO/8
 
Elmer Musing’s  
by NE0P on July 13, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
N0TONE wrote:
"Those in our area who are not retired are the ones who don't have time to elmer - that's always been a problem. Ham radio isn't really graying that quickly. When I got into the hobby (over 50 years ago), it was a hobby composed mostly of retirees. Takes too much time for most folks with careers and kids, and that's how it's always been. Look at the photos of hams in the pages of QST from the 1920s and 1930s - most were gray or bald, even back then."


This is a very good point, and one I try to dispense also. We seem to have this attitude that unless we get 12 year olds licensed, ham radio is going to die. Ham radio makes a perfect hobby for middle aged and retired people, and as long as we continue to attract those people, we can continue to replenish the ranks of the SKs.

The biggest problem with getting kids involved is that they generally have no money to spend on equipment, unless their parents are also hams. I know, I got licensed at 13, but no one else in the family was a ham. My parents did break down and buy me a used FT101B, but anything else had to come from my own savings, which generally meant I didn't buy much equipment, and used wires for antennas.

Once these kids get to be 18, they go to college, and stand a good chance of becoming inactive unless the college has a radio station. Happened to me. I got on the air a few times a year when I was home over breaks. That was in 1985. Didn't break down and get a station set up in my apartment until 1993 when I was in graduate school.

Then you graduate, get married, start on a career, and have kids. The family stuff really takes time away from the air also (going through that right now), as does the job, etc.

Once you get middle aged, you have the disposible income to really enjoy the hobby (I have about $15 in the radio funds right now, guess that 756PROIII will have to wait), and the time since the kids are out of the house.

In my radio club we had at my Junior High, we had 12 kids get licensed when I was a member. Of those 12, 1 is now a SK (but he let his license lapse shortly after leaving Jr. Hi), 6 never renewed their licenses, 1 renewed his for awhile, but is now not licensed, 2 continue to renew their licenses, but I don't think they are active. One gets on once in a while, mainly 2 meter FM, and I am the only really active ham from that group.

Was this loss due to lack of Elmering? Not really, we had a very good elmer running the club, a station at the school, and support from the local clubs. Most just got busy with life that is demanded by late teenage and college years, and a couple had the lack of funds mentioned earlier.
 
RE: Musing�s on Polarization & Antenna Effic  
by WA6BFH on July 13, 2005 Mail this to a friend!

NotOne, let me respond to a few of the points you raise. They will only be a few because my primary concerns fall afield of both yours and Caity’s.

In general it seems as if you take the same approach “in Elmer’ing” as my Elmer did with me -- albeit on different bands! Keep in mind, as I explain further, that at the time this man was Elmer’ing me, he held a Technician license. I hope that did not just instill an ‘Oh my god’, “no kid’s, no K’s, no WA’s” sort of response from you? My Elmer was certainly not the sort of ‘loser’ that Technicians of the time were often depicted as. In fact most I knew were better knowledgeable about the RF spectrum than the General’s of the day -- which you rightly express as the majority license holders. You said though that you were pretty equanimical about your view of license class, so I apologize in advance if I might have otherwise painted you wrongly!

In any case, my Elmer introduced me to HF first. He did this by showing me and a 13 year old friend of mine how various receivers worked. He explained which were better, and which were probably best for us and our budgets! We did though have the entire used inventory of Henry Radio to look at and appraise.

My Elmer took me to a meeting of the Anaheim Amateur Radio Association, a club he was not a member of. It was close to my home, and he was ‘shopping’ for a General who would give me the Novice test. We found such a Ham pretty easily, as this was one of the ‘sub-department’ goals and functions of this club. I found some pretty rude Ham’s in this group, just as the sort you have described these days! At that time, they were all pi**ed off about “Incentive Licensing” as it was looming on the horizon!

In any case, I got mu Novice license, and now there was a strange juxtaposition in the licensed abilities of my license and my Elmers. I could almost get on more bands than he could -- at least pursuant to probable activity! Keep in mind he had realized this would happen, and what I would be exposed to, even when he took me to the Anaheim club. He did not want to lose a potential Ham, that he saw as already having a pretty good understanding of electronics!

He helped me get on 40, and 80 Meters. He had held a Novice license, and knew the routine. His code speed was actually inferior to mine but, he could copy a bit, and otherwise ‘read over my shoulder’. He helped me through the jitters of my first few contacts and QSO’s, and gave me some operating tips as to best times to be on the air etc. I was in fact amazed how well he understood ‘the bands’ relative to the time of day, and what ‘Mother nature’ would be doing! He helped me with antennas, and always looked over my log book and the pins in my map when he visited almost every weekend.

After about four months I was getting sort of bummed out with the repetitiveness of the sort of contacts I was making. I was only active on 80, 40, and 2 Meters. One day he came over with a Knight T-60. He said that now I would be able to get on 15 Meters, and that it was even a better transmitter than my home-brew oscillator I had been using on 40, and 80 Meters. Now this was great! The T-60 did not generate the noise (from the voltage doubler) that my rig had. I had chalked this up to normal 80 and 40 Meter noise floor! My first contact on 15 Meters was a “VK3”. I still after almost 40 years remember that QSO, and the idea that I had just chatted with someone in Australia was breath-taking!

He had told me that this transmitter was ‘on loan’. I could buy it if I wanted to but, would have to decide on that within a month. He also told me that if I did decide to buy it, I could pay him on a time basis, and could make payments in any amount that I had available when I saw him. In other words, the radio was mine if I wanted it! I used it for a month, and told him that I would just keep it as a loaner. I told him that I would replace tubes as needed. He said that he was not concerned about that, and that I seemed to be treating the radio well. I used the transmitter for another couple of months. My code speed was now pushing about 16 words per minute. I was though starting again to tire of 80, 40, and 15 Meters.

Now in the mean time both I and my Elmer had met another Ham down the block from my house. This man was an RF technician at one of the nearby aerospace companies. He liked 40 Meters but, also spent quite a bit of time on 20.
He was building an amplifier for the HF bands. He explained the design to me as I was unfamiliar with the tubes he was using; they were a pair of 4-1000’s. When the amplifier was finished, I often visited to observe the operation. He explained that while he had built the amplifier for use on 80, 40, 20, 15, and 10 Meters -- it started getting sort of touchy to operate on 15, and was not really usable on 10 Meters. He said it was a combination of old tubes, and the inter-electrode capacitance of the design as well.

His operation was interesting, he used 40 Meters most of the time, and 20 Meters on the weekends. When he was on 20 he would often talk on the telephone with a friend of his that lived in Long Beach. They would chase DX together, commenting on who and what stations were on, and the nature of the ‘pile-ups’. They both had phone-patches, and I think you probably are aware of how they pursued this DX?

Now this other Ham also sort of kept track of my activities on 15 Meters etc. One day I told him that my Novice license would expire in a few months, and I was thinking of getting my Technician. He was at first almost sad, and asked how my CW was going. I told him that I could do at least 16 words per minute, and probably not much more. He was skeptical, and asked 16 WPM with incredulity? I said yes, maybe more, but not much more. He dug up a code practice oscillator, and pulled a book down from his shelf. He gave me a pad and pencil and told me to copy what he sent. He sent me a paragraph at a pretty neat 15 WPM or so. I copied it down and let him read the pad. His eyes got a little big but, he did not respond. He flipped a few pages away, and said, “send this paragraph to me.” I did, and about half way through he got really pi**sed off!

He said, you could get your General license easily, why do you want your Technician license. I explained that to do all that was needed to get the General, and that I would have to travel to Spring Street in Los Angeles. He was beside himself, and asked me to leave. I later found out that he had gone to speak with my Elmer upon my departure, because he thought he was doing me some harm in my choice and perspective of Ham radio.

Now in all I have said, and with the few points that I have specifically seeded in this response. I hope you will tell me of your thoughts on my wavelength preferences and chosen type of operation. Let me highlight two points. I very much enjoy the science involved in VHF work and above. Secondly, while I am QRO capable on all VHF bands, and most UHF bands, I seldom use more than about 100 Watts. I am anxious to hear your thoughts!
 
RE: Musing�s on Polarization & Antenna Effic  
by N0TONE on July 13, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
WA6BFH wrote:

>Now in all I have said, and with the few points that I
>have specifically seeded in this response. I hope you
>will tell me of your thoughts on my wavelength
>preferences and chosen type of operation. Let me
>highlight two points. I very much enjoy the science
>involved in VHF work and above. Secondly, while I am QRO
>capable on all VHF bands, and most UHF bands, I seldom
>use more than about 100 Watts. I am anxious to hear your
>thoughts!

I am glad you are pleased with the personal choices you have made in your operations. However, this is not the subject of the article which you wrote.

Closer to the topic, though, your comments about technicians and being looked down upon are well-taken. It is only recently that anybody thought of techs as, in any way, inferior. In fact, the first time I ever heard about a ham license in any way conferring personal merit or capability was in the late 1980s. I heard some fool say "I won't bother with the Extra Class license because I have a master's degree to prove I'm intelligent." I, and the other five hams in the audience, blew our stacks when he said this, because nobody, at least up to then, thought of the possession of a ham license as any evidence that one had intelligence. Ham licenses and college degrees are simply not comparable in any way. A ham license is the barest of permissions to get started on the air, while a college degree demonstrates a high level of knowledge in some area.

Anyway, I remember that the early technician licensees were actually the most technically competent hams of any. That license was created when it was VERY hard to make 6 meter equipment operate. There were certainly no commercially-built transceivers to purchase. The hams who operated as high as 432 MHz - whew, that was heady stuff! That's what "technician" meant - guys who dedicated themselves to doing the most difficult bands on the radio.

Now that six meters and higher are, relatively speaking, easy, there's still no reason to look down upon techs. They're hams, equal in value to other hams who hold any class of license. I just fear for the boredom factor, because I've seen it in so many.

Meanwhile, this very old man is getting tired much more quickly, and my eyesight is not what it once was. Even with the letters on screen set for "huge", it is difficult to read the screen. Closing my eyes and working radio is so much more relaxing.

Peace on you.

AM
 
RE: Musing�s on Polarization & Antenna Effic  
by WA6BFH on July 13, 2005 Mail this to a friend!

Thank you, and 73! John
 
RE: Musing�s on Polarization & Antenna Effic  
by KC8URO on July 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Hello,

I'm a no-code tech as well. Basically I'm too lazy to listen to the code CD's I have (well, it isn't all laziness, I have a beautiful 12 month old daughter who likes getting into everything), but I plan on it. I have a 2m monobander, an Icom IC-V8000. I can hit repeaters all over the place with it (I have a copper J pole up about 40 feet), and that's alright, but I would really like to do more simplex with it. I figure I'll need a multi-mode rig for that..too bad I can't afford any that I've seen. I know about the 706, but, man, are they pricey! If that's the price of admission to multi-mode operation, I won't be entering any time soon!
 
RE: Musings  
by W5ESE on July 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
> I would really like to do more simplex with it.
> I figure I'll need a multi-mode rig for that..too
> bad I can't afford any that I've seen. I know about
> the 706, but, man, are they pricey! If that's the
> price of admission to multi-mode operation, I won't
> be entering any time soon!

How about a Kenwood TS520/TS530, TS430, Yaesu FT301,
for perhaps $150-300? Used HF all mode rigs are not
much more than an HT.

You just need to work on element 1.

73
Scott
W5ESE
 
RE: Musing�s on Polarization & Antenna Effic  
by KG6WLS on July 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
KC8URO states:
"I'm a no-code tech as well. Basically I'm too lazy to listen to the code CD's I have (well, it isn't all laziness, I have a beautiful 12 month old daughter who likes getting into everything), but I plan on it."

I think most folks in here(including myself) couldn't argue with that one. Having a new/newer addition to the family tends to curtail ones attention away from the things that they use to do (radio, hot rods, golf, fishing, etc.) So, I wouldn't call it laziness. Unless of course, you have a nanny around the house to do all the the domesticated chores for you (that's not the case in my QTH, for the record).

My son will be 11 yrs. in August. Being a single 41 yr. old parent, more attention is spent on his well being, knowing where/what he's doing at all times, and my job. It was actually because of him... that I got back into radios. SWL radios, kits, and homebrew that I had stored away for years was discovered by him one day while cleaning out the closets. He took some liking to it, I got my ticket, and a way we go.

Try the G4FON code trainer. It's a free download.

Good luck & happy parenting :) (they grow so fast)

73 de Mike
 
6m demos and newcomers revisited  
by K7VO on July 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
For AM (N0TONE):

If I still lived in North Carolina I'd have absolutely no compunction about telling a newcomer to stop by any evening after work (my work, that is) and trying out 6m. There I knew there would always be someone on absolutely every evening (and probably most any other time of day as well) and I wouldn't need a sched. If the band wasn't open I might run into people from SC, other parts of NC, or VA, and that was a pretty decent demo. If the band is open, well...

I'll freely admit that things aren't nearly as good (or as active) in the Cincinnati area. However, if the band is open lots of people get on. I can't imagine hearing beacons from DM78 or DM79 and calling CQ and not getting an answer, even with my modest station. FWIW, the band was open to Colorado last Sunday night and I did work stations in those two grids plus DM77. When I shut down to get some sleep (just before midnight Eastern Time) the opening was still going strong. I heard stations all over Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky working out west so folks were on the air. (Nice thing about being horizonatlly polarized like everyone else is that I could hear both sides of the QSOs.)

I am very sorry to hear that people just don't get on in your part of California. That is truly sad during an opening. I suspect that, at least in the east, midwest, northwest, and in northern CA (Bay Area) you wouldn't have had that experience. I haven't lived in a place where 6m openings were simply ignored. I suspect my perspective on 6 is largely shaped by that.

73,
Caity
K7VO/8
 
40 meters and short antennas  
by K7VO on July 14, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Another note for AM:

What I currently use for 30, 40, and 60 meters is a random wire going from the shack window out to the top of the tallest tree in my backyard. Due to the slope of the land that treetop is about the same height as my shack but the tree is probably 35-40' tall. It's quite a slope. I also have a counterpoise running down to ground from that third story window.

My experience on 40m is that it works pretty well, even at QRP power levels, for CW and PSK31. I have a very hard time being heard on 40 SSB, though sometimes if I'm patient I do get through. There just isn't much activity on 40 SSB at night amid the broadcasters in recent years. CW is always hopping, though. My comment about not being in good shape on 40 has to do with the activity level and my desire to do a demo initially on SSB, not CW. (We get to CW eventually :)

60m, where everyone is <=50W and there are no broadcasters I seem to do better on even though my antenna is even less efficient than on 40. I think it has to do with the amount of SSB on 60 (more than 40 at night) and the lack of adjacent QRM.

Anyway, that's what I meant by having 60 on up at my disposal. My wire is just plain to short for 80 and 160. I hear lots of signals on those bands but I just don't get out worth a darn.

73,
Caity
K7VO/8
 
IC-502 and drift  
by K7VO on July 15, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
One more thought from AM's posts:

An unmodified, original Icom IC-502 did drift like crazy. The tuning was incredibly coarse as well and it really required the fingers of a safecracker. However, there was a very popular mod that reduced the tuning range from 50.000-51.000 to 50.000-50.400 and improved stability dramatically. With the mod the IC-502 becomes a really excellent radio -- stable after warmup (typical of analog designs), very sensitive receiver, very low receiver noise floor, and excellent audio both on transmit and receive. Many used IC-502s on the market have the mod and they often go for $75 or less. I've worked a number of barefoot IC-502s during 6m band openings that sounded very good indeed. Many, many of these rigs are still in regular use despite being almost 30 years old now.

The later version, the IC-502A, was very stable and added a fine tuning control. They are harder to find on the used market and usually more expensive, though I know someone who bought a mint one for $80 at the Raleigh hamfest (RARSfest) a couple of years ago. That radio is still in regular use.

Don't discount the IC-502 as useless. It just needs a little TLC.

73,
Caity
K7VO/8
 
RE: Musings  
by KC8URO on July 15, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
You know, I actually do know of a NICE TS-520 that might be available, nice rig. But that doesn't solve my current dilemma. As for the CD's, I have the Jerry Ziliac (Sziliac, however it's spelled)tapes on CD. I've been told they're pretty much tops, they've been teaching prospective hams for the last 50 years or something like that. A fellow ham sent them to me, damn nice of them, but my wife thew the package away before I wrote down the call. Somebody just heard me yacking on the Monroe (146.720) repeater about learning code, and sent me 2 CDR's, that really made me think alot of the people in this hobby, I'll tell you. This person doesn't even know me.
 
Elmer Musing’s  
by N2MWE on July 16, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
Excellent article! I played around with 2m SSB for a little while, and I had a blast with it. Need a bigger antenna, so it's going on hold until I get a bigger place.
 
RE: Elmer Musing�s  
by WA9SVD on July 21, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
I'd love to see a GOOD 6M+2M all-mode rig (without the additional HF bands and expense) with the option to add 70 cm. It amazes me that the manufacturers don't produce one (at least not of which I am aware...)
It would allow Tech's and "the rest of us" who are VHF enthusiasts to operate with a smaller radio, and could just as easily be used with transverters. Such a radio would be a great addition to an HF-only transceiver for anyone.
 
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