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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

The Ham Bug Bites Again...

Dave Weir (W8EIR) on April 16, 2013
View comments about this article!

The ham bug has bitten me again. After nearly 18 years of inactivity, only renewing my license before it expired, I can feel the ham bug gnawing at me again.

Over that past 18 years I had lost interest in the hobby. Was tired of only working 10 meters, and too lazy to spend the time to practice code. I would occasionally buy CQ magazine or visit the ARRL and other ham web sites. Some of the areas I lived in proved very difficult put up an antenna. 2M and 440 was just too boring. Even when CW was dropped as a requirement to upgrade my license, it still wasn't enough to get me back into the hobby.

Now I have plenty of room for antenna's, the time and a understanding wife who wants me to have a hobby besides working all the time.

Suddenly CW is something I want; no, need to know. I spend an hour a day listening to code on my iPad. Working rare DX stations, contesting and my favorite, antenna design, is pulling back into a hobby I enjoyed years ago.

My only quandary is what radio to buy!

73

Dave K8DSW

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by W3DCB on April 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Take a look at SDR/Flex! That will really get you going! Daniel w3dcb
 
The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by W4LWZ on April 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
The same thing happened to me about 10 years ago. I am involved up to my eyeballs and I love it. Welcome back.
 
The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by N4KD on April 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Anything you can borrow! One of the local clubs in Atlanta had some loaner radios. I think that's a good way for a new or returning ham without gear to get his feet wet again. Then, you can decide that your love of CW leads you in the direction of a K3, or that you just like the way a IC-7700 sounds and you want one of those.

Best advice I've read here is to put most of your station budget in the antenna. Then it all works well.

73,
Dave N4KD
 
The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by K7NSW on April 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Which rig? I had tube rigs years ago - seperate xmtr and rcvr. Then dropped out like you did. I was a cw guy. Sold gear. Got interested again like you. Bought American gear: Ten-Tec Omni 7. Thought I had died and woke up in Heaven. Very good radio and a good value for the money. Help is a phone call away if you need it and their factory is on this side of the ocean. Omni 7 is an excellent ssb rig also. Worked perfectly right out of the box. Did I mention MADE IN AMERICA? I use the GAP Voyager vertical. It is BIG: 45 feet tall. Gets me on 160 - 80 - 40 & 20 meters. Those are great bands. GAP - made in America and works great for me. They are also only a telephone call away. Did I mention MADE IN AMERICA?
 
The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by KF9RM on April 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Me too. Although licensed for over 40 years, I have been inactive more than active and realy only get on the air at renewal time. Well the body is having issues with too much snow and water skiing, marathons, etc., so now back into radio.

I bought a 3rd hand Kenwood TS-2000 which is really a station in a box. It does everything I need it to do at a satisfactory performance level and the price was right.

My only issue is I am HOA challenged and need to operate via stealth antennas.

Welcome back to the hobby and all the great things and acquaintances it offers.

73,
Gary
KF9RM ex WB8JYP
 
The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by K6YE on April 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Welcome back to the hobby. I have been licensed for more than 50 years and lapsed twice. This was due to putting my family first (IMHO, a great perspective). All of my children and granddaughter are now adults. Since the 70s, I have been active and now that I have been retired for nearly ten years, I am very active.

There are many radios out there. Join a club and you will probably get an offer to try out many of the current models via club members. Just remember that the "best" radio is the one YOU like to operate.

Good luck in your quest.

Semper Fi,

Tommy - K6YE
DX IS and CW RULES
 
The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by KE4KE on April 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
As a ham who has no option, but to operate my radio remotely with a computer internet connection while at home I can tell you that I miss having the radio right here in front of me. I have a Kenwood TS-590 at work and I miss being able to turn the knobs on the front. I have a TS-480 in the truck. For CW the TS-590 is the better of the two. For CW I would definitely look at the offerings from Ten-Tec. With the Ten-Tec rigs there is no constant relay clicking while keying the radio as with the TS-480. Elecraft is nice, but you'll spend enough for more than a couple TS-590's. Of course the real point is to find a radio that you can enjoy and get on the air. Have fun.
 
The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by WA8IUR on April 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
If possible, you could purchase an inexpensive used radio.The simpler the better. Then you can decide what features you wished you had.
I too had a long absence but was fortunate enough to inherit my fathers equipment.
Welcome back and 73, Tim
 
RE: The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by W7KKK on April 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I was inactive from my Novice days in the 1970s until about 11 years ago. Just never upgraded and did not have time for the hobby.
Now I am retired and have a little property I can have antennas on.
Things have changed quite a bit since my Novice days and there are many new things to learn.
Welcome back and enjoy.
If you are like most of us whatever you buy at first will not be good enough down the road so just pick up a used rig in the $300-600 range and get back on the air. I am certain that funds allowing you will find something better quickly down the road.
Just watch that wallet OM!
 
The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by W8EIR on April 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Shortly after writing this piece I have purchased an Icom IC-7200, and even upgraded my license to General.

I am still in the exploring stages of all the new digital formats, a lot has changed since! I have made a few contacts on phone and PSK31. I forgot how much fun and exciting this hobby truly is.
 
RE: The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by KI6TQT on April 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Well that was quick! Congrats.
 
The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by K2QB on April 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Dave welcome back!! I went through a similar experience. I was very active chasing DX and in a couple of the local radio clubs when we decided it was time to buy a bigger house to acomodate the growing family. Down came the tower and antennas, the shack and TS-940S were packed up with care and to the new house we went. First thing I did was build my new shack with the expecations of getting right back on the air. Never got any antennas up though. Well 15 years went by, the kids grew up and guess what? The itch returned. Long story short I have been back on the air now for 2 years and didn't realize how much I missed it. A LOT had changed.....spotting clusters, LoTW, logging programs and a lot of new faces at the DX Club meeting along with a few missing faces who had become SK's. Updated my trusty 940 with a FT-2000 and am having a ball again. It's been a ball rekindling old friendships and making new ones. I'm sure you will be glad you jumped back in!
 
RE: The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by K9MHZ on April 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Hey Dave,

I certainly don't want to tell you how to spend your money....all I can do is to offer an opinions that are no more credible than the next person's.

That written, I'd suggest getting something from the lower-middle to the upper-middle range of rigs (assuming HF). Yaesu just introduced the FTDx-3000, Icom has the 7600, and Kenwood has the TS-590S. Personally I own an Icom, but all three manufacturers put out some terrific stuff in that mid range of radios. I think you'll find the most brand-loyal people though, will be the Elecraft guys. Those are very fine products. If possible compare them at an AES, HRO, R&L, etc, and find one that suits your taste the best.

I'd strongly advise two things though....

-Get a mid level radio if your pocketbook and XYL cooperate. Lower-end models today are all very good, but you'll outgrow them soon, and you'll be doing the resale then affordability calculating once again anyway.

-Especially DON'T listen to the naysayers all predicting the doom of the hobby, all modern radios failing after a few years, all the manufacturers and dealers are crooks, the asteroids and zombie apocalypses are coming, you name it. It's maddening and never originates from anyone of any knowledge, dignity, or devotion to others in our hobby.


In a way, I'm envious of you for returning at a time of incredible innovation and technologies designed into our gear. You seem really charged up, and that's inspiring to see as well. So....get some good gear, find some good people, learn/relearn some things, and have a great time.

Hope to catch you on the air.

BEst,
Brad, K9MHZ
 
RE: The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by N6AJR on April 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!




I have had lots of radios in the last 10 years or so. I too amd a "retread" I was inactive from the mid 80's till 2001 and then got back in in a big way.

any of the later models of the 746 pro, or the 756 II or III would work. Also the FT 990 is a great rig. A ts 2000 is an easy to use shack in a box, as is the Yaesu ft857.

also take a good look or call then tec. Most of all welcome back home and enjoy
 
RE: The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by K1FPV on April 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I somewhat know the feeling! After 50 years of being licensed, during that time, there were instances of no activity, occasionally 6 months at a time, but never anything longer.

Life, work, family and oh yes, politics! I had the misfortune of running for public office. Unfortunately, I got elected! Now that I'm retired, there is nothing better than casual chats on the air, be it CW, SSB, AM (Yes AM), and digital.

In 50 years, yes the hobby has changed alot! But I still love it!

Bill
K1FPV
 
RE: The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by W4KVW on April 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Buy the best gear(Radio's,antennas,feed line,ect)that you can afford that will cover the bands that you wish & the modes you wish to operate.If you go CHEAP do it on the radio since the most important link is the antenna's & feed line & a POOR choice of these will make even an expensive radio not work as well as it should.

Clayton
W4KVW
 
The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by N7KFD on April 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!

What rig should you buy? The same ones I have of course, they are the best! This brand is great and that brand sucks. It will take you years to answer your question. Buy the rig that is most appealing to you and give it a try. You could read the reviews on this site but I personally don't take much stock in them because it's obvious people review radios that they have never owned or give a particular radio a low rating for petty reasons.

Try the one you like best and go from there.
 
The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by W0WCA on April 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Read all the ads, look at all the pictures, read all the reviews. Educate yourself as to what the different rigs have to offer. Visit your friendly local ham store. Visit a couple of swap meets. Talk to local hams. Then, buy American.
 
The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by W8EIR on April 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I have read reviews on just about every radio, from the least expensive to the $12k need a second mortgage on the house rigs.

I was a sworn Kenwood man when I first started in A.R. as I mentioned in an earlier post, I bought an Icom IC-7200. I read a lot of positive reviews, like that it has a USB port, and I know other radio's do as well, but this one appealed to me. It's got a small foot print, relatively lightweight, the controls aren't to small. Just what I was looking for. The Ventenna HFp portal vertical I bought is awesome. Ive worked Poland, Slovenia, Italy, Iceland etc. It can be broken down in about two minutes and reconfigured for any other from 40-6m in the same amount of time. It does what I need it to do, and doesn't require a tuner!

I am having the time of my life with PSK31, phone and in little bit CW.
 
RE: The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by W1JKA on April 17, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Congrats on your General and you willl be very happy with your IC-7200.
 
The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by W5BXE on April 17, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I did the same and was inactive for about 20 years. I did get back on about 13 years ago with an one of the Japanese all mode radios.

Ham radio is a great hobby with plenty of opportunity to experiment or just ragchew (even on CW).

73 W5BXE
 
The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by KB4QAA on April 17, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Welcome back!
Ham radio is truly a lifelong hobby, that is always waiting for when time and interest allow.

There are more exciting areas of interest than ever before. bill
 
The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by K8QV on April 17, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Put up the best antenna(s) you can manage then get a cheap used radio at a swapmeet, hamfest or from a local trader's net (most clubs have such a thing). It's probably too soon to know what exactly you want to tailor your station to operate. Some rigs are better suited to CW, some have built in tuners, some are easy to use for digital modes, etc. Which radio does what is easy to discover right here on this website. Good luck.
 
The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by N4EV on April 17, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Dave: Welcome back to ham radio! I know you will have a great time on the bands. An earlier reply touted the TneTec Omni VII which is a great rig. I'm using the older Omni VI+ and Jupiter. Both are great cw rigs and
sure will please any cw op. I've had them all from the
Heath SB102, Yaesu, Kenwood, Galaxy, etc. The TenTec
rigs are the best I have ever seen.

Did you read MADE IN AMERICA?

73 Clayton N4EV
 
RE: The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by K8QV on April 17, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Shop for a rig that meets YOUR needs. Everybody seems to have a favorite brand name, but that's not much help in choosing the best rig for YOU. All the current offerings have good and bad points, all brands (even the "Cadillacs") have some dogs out there. Try out a variety of used gear if possible. At the least, don't buy any used radio without first making sure it actually works properly.
 
The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by HP1KL on April 17, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Keep it simple. Get an ICOM TS-50.


Welcome back!! Tony/HP1KL
 
The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by N4NZM on April 17, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Icom-718. Simple, reliable, and inexpensive rig. Does everything you will need with a good antenna.
 
The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by KT4EP on April 17, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
15 years off the air because of work, work-travel, moved my mother-in-law in and needed the shack room, got tired of 2 meters. Got back late 2010, tried 2 meters then HF phone and THEN discovered psk31 and other digital modes and having a blast. Nice to have you back, see you on the air.
 
The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by W4HLD on April 17, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Hello Dave,

I've been licensed for 35 years but like so many others I fell out for about 15 years to focus on family and job. I became active again in 2008 and have thoroughly enjoyed my return.

Ham radio is a great hobby that has so many options while also opening the door to many life long friendships. I've found the ham community to be the most friendly and helpful bunch of people. Do I get frustrated when someone is acting like a knuckle head on the radio -Yes. But I've matured enough to either spin the dial or turn the radio off.

Save welcome back and enjoy! I look forward to working you some day!


 
The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by XW1B on April 17, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Welcome back Dave! It's a bit different today but still a great hobby and well worth your time.

Enjoy! 73 de Bruce XW1B - XW4XR - 3W3B
 
RE: The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by K9MHZ on April 18, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Real quick....the fried pork tenderloins and SOS are still at the hamfests, not to worry.

All of that sissy healthy eating stuff hasn't caught on yet. This is ham radio, dangit.

 
The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by N4OI on April 19, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Quote: "Suddenly CW is something I want; no, need to know."

When I read the subject line, I knew CW would be the catalyst...

73 ES GOD BLESS U ES URS DE KEN N4OI :>)
 
The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by KA9JYO on April 19, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I retired a year ago, for the last 10yrs I have been inactive. Looking on the internet, I found D-Star and other digital modes, I became interested on Ham radio again. Now I am on D-Star, and my next step is JT65.
I think VHF died, I use UHF sometimes, and also some HF like 10mtrs when is open and clear sounding voice.
I like to listen to P25 and Mototrbo, but is not for
Hams, I prefer D-Star.
 
The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by W6VMJ on April 21, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Dave,

I too am getting back into this fun hobby. I'm interested in seeing how this stuff works without the old air wound coils and aluminum tuning capacitors.

CW is what I will do, once I get my first receiver working. I built a Ten-Tec 1056 40 meter kit but so far I haven't heard one CW station. I am using a length of wire just about 30 feet long in the house but would expect to have heard at least one local station so far.

I did build a small oscillator with a 7.025 Mhz crystal so I am in the 40 meter band. I hope.

Now, do I build a RF amp, an antenna tuner, or what?

Taking this one step at a time.

Anyone with a suggestion would be welcome.

73, Jack W6VMJ Fort Collins, CO
 
RE: The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by HP1KL on April 21, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Fort Collins, CO

Maybe WWV is blocking you --(hee hee hee)

Tony/HP1KL
 
RE: The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by K9MHZ on April 21, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
>>>>by KA9JYO on April 19, 2013
....I like to listen to P25 and Mototrbo, but is not for
Hams, I prefer D-Star.<<<<


I think up in your neck of the woods (Chicago) is actually a growing group of hams using P25. That's an interesting development, as Icom has launched so deeply into getting D-STAR accepted. From a business perspective, you have to wonder if they knew they'd better get busy with growing the D-STAR market (by offering free D-STAR repeaters in uncovered parts of the country, etc) in light of a possible emergence of P25 onto the ham scene?

Might be a stretch, but depending upon how successful the P25 guys are, could there be an emerging D-STAR alternative?



 
The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by W3TTT on April 22, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
My vote is for the ICOM 718. But if you intend to do any cw work, certainly spring for the IF CW filter.
Put up a big wire antenna, dipole or vertical. Tune it to any band with a tuner. Have Fun. See you on the air.
73, Joe
W3TTT
 
The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by TTOMAS59 on April 25, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
My recommendation os an older Ten Ten on good shape - Omni C, Argosy, Delta 580 or similar for $200-$300. Then build antennas. The radio should be simple and antennas and operating most important. Stay away from modern radios at first. They can be frustrating and don't help with learning operating skills.
.
 
The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by KB9BVN on April 25, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Forget the rig right now, and worry more about the antenna. Try to figure out what the most effective antenna is, that you're willing to buy and install. Once you know what antenna or antennas you will be using, then go buy an Elecraft K2/100. Excellent receiver, fantastic CW rig, does great with the digital modes, and can be had for a great price on the used market. Most of the SDR rigs are good, but seem to fall a little short in the CW department. If you are really interested in getting into CW then go with Elecraft.
 
The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by KO0KY on April 29, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I went through a similar episode myself. After 20 years I had done almost everything, went with power amps, beams, high end rigs, etc. I was burned out. I dropped out. I kept up my license, as I'm not crazy, and I turned on my rigs every two months or so, but that was it.

I then discovered QRP CW.

The radio bug bit me in a big way, and I have never been happier with ham radio. The technical and skill challenges are absolutely addictive. Also, there's nothing like making contacts on a rig you built with your own hands. I love kit building, and I'm not particularly good with my hands. I just love the challenge. Except for toroid winding, yuck!

Welcome back, we missed you!

73,

John aka ko0ky
 
The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by KD3C on May 11, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Licensed in '79 I moved into a covenant laden development in 1996 and gave up HF. Last year I crawled up in the attic, strung a 55' center fed antenna hooked to a SGC auto tuner and can't believe the DX I've worked. Not like the beam I had years earlier but still wish I'd done it sooner. Due to sticker shock I opted for the TS 870 I always wanted years ago and glad I did. Havin' a blast.
 
The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by KB7IUV on May 14, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
I just got back into hobby after 12+ years off myself. At the time seemed like a lot of rude, unprofessional "CB-types" were invading 10 meters and decided to do shifter-kart racing for a while and sold every last piece of Ham gear. I got the "bug" again recently and bought a Flex-3000 and absolutely love it! I think that SDR is the way too go. I use PowerSDR and bought Comm-Cat to provide my logbook, rig control, scope, QRZ page, DX-spots, and remote control from my iPad and iPhone. I too have a desire to do more CW than I did before and was pleased to find that there are plenty of people on CW (now I just have to get over the fear and call CQ on CW one of thee nights). In fact, some times I see more CW signals than SSB signals. I am also glad to see that all the rude, crude, unprofessional, and deranged Hams/ex-CBers/etc. have all found themselves a home on 14.313 Mhz. So, avoid this frequency and you'll find the remainder of the bands are alive and well with radio enthusiasts.
 
The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by KB7IUV on May 14, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Let me re-word my comments about 14.313 Mhz. It seems not all are bad on that frequency. Some Hams are attempting to use the (or take the frequency back) despite the constant malicious interference and child-like behaviour. So no offense to all those "real" Hams out there.
 
The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by ZL2BMH on May 16, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Yes, I know exactly how you feel. I left the scene for 8yrs and have only just started getting my shack back again after selling it so all the children could go to University, now I'm free and being on the air again really feels great.
Jim.
 
The Ham Bug Bites Again...  
by K4YDN on May 17, 2013 Mail this to a friend!
Way to go Dave, welcome back. Mike
 
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