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Author Topic: Radio choices  (Read 8279 times)
KM6NFF
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Posts: 117




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« on: October 03, 2017, 10:58:26 AM »

I'm new into ham and have been looking at the YAESU FT-991A for a good multi band radio and was wondering if there were any other ideas that compete with this radio. In its price range give or take a few $100. This will be a base station home radio and size isn't that important, but has comparable features. Thanks for the help
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 21753




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« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2017, 11:01:43 AM »

What's your callsign??

With that, we can see where you are located and recommend trying out a few different transceivers nearby to your location -- it's really helpful to "try" out different rigs before committing to one.
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KM6NFF
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Posts: 117




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« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2017, 12:17:03 PM »

I don't have callsigns yet. Getting ready to take the test. I live in Northern California Brentwood 94513. I'm just trying to figure what radio and antenna works for me. I'm the kind of person who jumps right in and doesn't mind spending some money to get right into something new.
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KC4ZGP
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Posts: 1637




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« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2017, 12:35:29 PM »


Alinco SR-8T. 100 watts, all mode.

Kraus
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OZ8AGB
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Posts: 334




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« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2017, 01:35:32 PM »

Welcome to the world of hamradio.   Smiley

As a first radio that also can do 2m and 70cm I would be considering that one myself if I was a new ham today.
There's also the ICOM IC-7100.
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KM6NFF
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Posts: 117




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« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2017, 01:51:03 PM »

Welcome to the world of hamradio.   Smiley

As a first radio that also can do 2m and 70cm I would be considering that one myself if I was a new ham today.
There's also the ICOM IC-7100.

Thanks, so you think the YAESU FT-991A is to much radio for a first timer. I was really looking at a Base type setup, but I usually jump in feet first and buy something that I won't regret and want something better months later. I really don't know the better choices for a radio that I can grow with
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KE6EE
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Posts: 1849




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« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2017, 02:30:19 PM »

Thanks, so you think the YAESU FT-991A is to much radio for a first timer. I was really looking at a Base type setup, but I usually jump in feet first and buy something that I won't regret and want something better months later. I really don't know the better choices for a radio that I can grow with

I think you are making far too much of what radio to buy before you even take a test.

Do you have shortwave receiver so you can listen-in to HF and see if you enjoy the experience of tuning in signals
and figuring out how to deal with noise and other interference? It's not like changing channels on a TV or clicking on an internet site. It's confusing and complex just to hear something and interpret it.

My point is that with ham radio you are looking at a wide range of operating skills and an historical communication culture that is quite apart from and different than the information you deal with in the exam.

The ARRL has a wide range of introductory books which are well-worth exploring particularly if you don't have a
friend who is a ham who can show you many things.

Modern radios are very complex. They have complex menu systems that often defeat beginner's efforts just to turn them on and listen. The contemporary operating environment is full of noise from electronic devices, interference from often-crowded frequencies especially during contests and weak signal levels due to historically low propagation.

It makes sense to start with a relatively simple, easy-to-use, transceiver that does not get in the way of your
learning basic skills and understanding what aspect of operating you enjoy. Only once you have decided what
kind of operating you want to do can you make a rational decision on which gear will serve you well.
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AC7CW
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Posts: 969




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« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2017, 02:33:19 PM »

radios are possibly somewhat like cars: you won't know if it's for you until you drive it a little.

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Novice 1958, 20WPM Extra now... (and get off my lawn)
KM6NFF
Member

Posts: 117




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« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2017, 02:50:41 PM »

Thanks, so you think the YAESU FT-991A is to much radio for a first timer. I was really looking at a Base type setup, but I usually jump in feet first and buy something that I won't regret and want something better months later. I really don't know the better choices for a radio that I can grow with

I think you are making far too much of what radio to buy before you even take a test.

Do you have shortwave receiver so you can listen-in to HF and see if you enjoy the experience of tuning in signals
and figuring out how to deal with noise and other interference? It's not like changing channels on a TV or clicking on an internet site. It's confusing and complex just to hear something and interpret it.



My point is that with ham radio you are looking at a wide range of operating skills and an historical communication culture that is quite apart from and different than the information you deal with in the exam.

The ARRL has a wide range of introductory books which are well-worth exploring particularly if you don't have a
friend who is a ham who can show you many things.

Modern radios are very complex. They have complex menu systems that often defeat beginner's efforts just to turn them on and listen. The contemporary operating environment is full of noise from electronic devices, interference from often-crowded frequencies especially during contests and weak signal levels due to historically low propagation.

It makes sense to start with a relatively simple, easy-to-use, transceiver that does not get in the way of your
learning basic skills and understanding what aspect of operating you enjoy. Only once you have decided what
kind of operating you want to do can you make a rational decision on which gear will serve you well.

Great information, thanks. I do have several ARRL books coming in. Also I'm doing a lot of studying and reading as well. I signed up on HamTest. I figure the more the better and it can't hurt. 35 years ago I was a CBer and always wanted to check out Ham and as life goes things get put on the back burner. So now with plenty of time on my hands this seems like a great idea.

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WB2WIK
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Posts: 21753




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« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2017, 02:54:39 PM »

I don't have callsigns yet. Getting ready to take the test. I live in Northern California Brentwood 94513. I'm just trying to figure what radio and antenna works for me. I'm the kind of person who jumps right in and doesn't mind spending some money to get right into something new.

You're close to a great store, HRO (Ham Radio Outlet) in Oakland.

To "try stuff out" I'd definitely go there and look at, touch, listen, spin dials, etc.    Absolutely worth the small amount of effort.

Also:   Antennas are waaaaaaay more important than "radio selection."   People have different opinions about radio gear: What you love someone else may hate, and vice-versa.   However there can be no real differing opinions about antennas:  What works best is going to be big and high, no matter where you are or who uses it. Smiley

The old "90/10" rule prevails, for me and for most who have been doing this a long time (I'll be licensed 53 years in April)...in terms of "bang for the buck," 10% spent on radio equipment and 90% spent on antenna systems will almost always provide the most benefit.   (This used to be a "50/50" rule for a long time, but back then radio gear cost more in terms of % of net income for most, and antennas were less expensive because so many hams had good real estate and lots of tall trees to help install effective, elevated wire antennas that don't cost much to build -- but the tide has turned...gear is cheaper in terms of % of net income and antennas are more challenging for many due to smaller lot sizes, absence of tall trees, etc.)

A writeup about this from 15 years ago:  http://www.eham.net/articles/3625

« Last Edit: October 03, 2017, 03:11:38 PM by WB2WIK » Logged
KM6NFF
Member

Posts: 117




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« Reply #10 on: October 03, 2017, 03:23:57 PM »

I don't have callsigns yet. Getting ready to take the test. I live in Northern California Brentwood 94513. I'm just trying to figure what radio and antenna works for me. I'm the kind of person who jumps right in and doesn't mind spending some money to get right into something new.

You're close to a great store, HRO (Ham Radio Outlet) in Oakland.

To "try stuff out" I'd definitely go there and look at, touch, listen, spin dials, etc.    Absolutely worth the small amount of effort.

Also:   Antennas are waaaaaaay more important than "radio selection."   People have different opinions about radio gear: What you love someone else may hate, and vice-versa.   However there can be no real differing opinions about antennas:  What works best is going to be big and high, no matter where you are or who uses it. Smiley

The old "90/10" rule prevails, for me and for most who have been doing this a long time (I'll be licensed 53 years in April)...in terms of "bang for the buck," 10% spent on radio equipment and 90% spent on antenna systems will almost always provide the most benefit.   (This used to be a "50/50" rule for a long time, but back then radio gear cost more in terms of % of net income for most, and antennas were less expensive because so many hams had good real estate and lots of tall trees to help install effective, elevated wire antennas that don't cost much to build -- but the tide has turned...gear is cheaper in terms of % of net income and antennas are more challenging for many due to smaller lot sizes, absence of tall trees, etc.)

A writeup about this from 15 years ago:  http://www.eham.net/articles/3625



Thanks, that's a great suggestion. HRO is less than 45 minutes away. I think I'll go by there and see what they might suggest for my situation.
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K0UA
Member

Posts: 1371




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« Reply #11 on: October 03, 2017, 04:55:08 PM »

Another "me too" vote for the 90/10 rule.  Spend your money on good antennas, and it don't make NEAR as much difference what your radio is.  Sure I like and have some of the newest technology.  I have been a ham for about 46 years. I have an older Icom 756pro3 and my newer Icom IC7300 and a Yaesu FT891.  These are my HF/6 rigs. But older lesser rigs can and still work very well. But the less antenna you have the less your ham radio experience will be.  Sometimes a very compromised antenna is all you can put up for one of several reasons.  But ALWAYS put up the best antenna you can, and then think about the radio.

   I will guarantee you if you only have 1000 dollars to spend, and you spend $900 on the antenna system and find a $100 radio, you will be happier than if you buy a $900 radio and spend $100 on antennas. But enough of that.  Go as suggested and look over the radios, and see what strikes your fancy, but be thinking about what you are going to put up.  Welcome to Ham radio.  Good luck. 73 James K0UA
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KM6NFF
Member

Posts: 117




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« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2017, 05:04:34 PM »

Another "me too" vote for the 90/10 rule.  Spend your money on good antennas, and it don't make NEAR as much difference what your radio is.  Sure I like and have some of the newest technology.  I have been a ham for about 46 years. I have an older Icom 756pro3 and my newer Icom IC7300 and a Yaesu FT891.  These are my HF/6 rigs. But older lesser rigs can and still work very well. But the less antenna you have the less your ham radio experience will be.  Sometimes a very compromised antenna is all you can put up for one of several reasons.  But ALWAYS put up the best antenna you can, and then think about the radio.

   I will guarantee you if you only have 1000 dollars to spend, and you spend $900 on the antenna system and find a $100 radio, you will be happier than if you buy a $900 radio and spend $100 on antennas. But enough of that.  Go as suggested and look over the radios, and see what strikes your fancy, but be thinking about what you are going to put up.  Welcome to Ham radio.  Good luck. 73 James K0UA

Thanks again. For my limited space I will buy the best antenna available. Then go forward with which radio to get.
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W1VT
Member

Posts: 2489




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« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2017, 06:31:25 PM »

An autotuner close to the antenna can be an effective way of getting a limited space antenna to work efficiently on all bands .  A tuner in the shack rarely works as well.
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K5LXP
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Posts: 5296


WWW

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« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2017, 03:04:06 AM »

The 90/10 rule is valid, no matter what the radio it won't work without good antlers.  That being said, if I had the wherewithal to spring for a contemporary radio straight out of the chute I would encourage it.  There's something to be said for growing into a piece of equipment rather than out of it.  It's a lie to say there's such a thing as too much radio.  Yeah, if budget dictates then you get what you can afford, but if you can afford some blinkenlights go for it.  Sure beats struggling with the POS equipment I had starting out as a kid.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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