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Author Topic: 6 meter radio with tuner  (Read 2919 times)
KC1ABU
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Posts: 4




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« on: October 09, 2017, 06:31:18 AM »

I'm older (77) and slower, new to amateur radio but hold a "general ticket". I am considering a 6 meter MFJ 9406 unit, can't seem to find out if I would require a tuner. Not a problem if I do need one, but would like the proper one. Any help is appreciated. I really like "eham". thanks. KC1abu
ß
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K7KBN
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Posts: 3473




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« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2017, 07:24:27 AM »

You shouldn't need a tuner if your 6M antenna is properly adjusted and installed.  As the wavelength gets longer (like 80 meters), you're likely to need a tuner unless you operate exclusively in one narrow portion of the band.  A wide QSY might be more than the amplifier can handle.  A shorter wavelength (like 6 meters) can handle the same QSY (as a percentage of the 2:1 SWR bandwidth) quite handily.
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
KC1ABU
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« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2017, 07:31:40 AM »

Thanks, that's the kind of answer I was looking for.
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KC4ZGP
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Posts: 1637




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« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2017, 08:47:44 AM »


Devise a ground plane antenna.

The radiator and radials need be no longer than 4.5 feet.

Droop the radials at a forty-five degree angle. The feed point will approach 50 ohms. No tuner necessary.

Affix it to your roof.

Kraus
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KC1ABU
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« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2017, 09:57:19 AM »

Thanks, that sounds like a good project.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2017, 10:25:17 AM »


Devise a ground plane antenna.

The radiator and radials need be no longer than 4.5 feet.

Droop the radials at a forty-five degree angle. The feed point will approach 50 ohms. No tuner necessary.

Affix it to your roof.

Kraus

As someone who's operated six meters since 1966 and still do, I'd strongly recommend against this.

The MFJ-9406 is an SSB rig, and everyone on SSB uses horizontal polarization.

For ionospheric contacts, polarity doesn't mean much; however "most" 6m contacts are not ionospheric, they're tropospheric and using a ground plane (vertical) will put you at a large disadvantage when trying to work horizontally polarized stations -- which virtually all SSB stations are (even mobiles).

If you want a simple, well-matched antenna for 6m SSB work, a 1/2-wave horizontal dipole (better still if it's rigid and rotatable so you can "steer" it) or 1/2-wave loop like a "halo" or similar will work much better.

"Most" home stations on 6m use horizontally polarized, rotary beam antennas.
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KC4ZGP
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« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2017, 10:52:13 AM »


Try it.

You'll be surprised at what works.

Kraus
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N0YXB
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Posts: 1122




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« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2017, 12:07:27 PM »


If you want a simple, well-matched antenna for 6m SSB work, a 1/2-wave horizontal dipole (better still if it's rigid and rotatable so you can "steer" it) or 1/2-wave loop like a "halo" or similar will work much better.

"Most" home stations on 6m use horizontally polarized, rotary beam antennas.

Ignore the noise and go with WIK's sage advice.
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KG5AHC
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« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2017, 06:23:59 PM »

Welcome to the hobby, KC1ABU!  I've only been here for about three years myself.

Any particular reason you are choosing to start out on 6 meter band?  Do you know of a net or group of operators you wish to join on air?

You might outgrow that one band radio in a month or two.

Consider how I started out.

I was eager to get a rig I could use as a Technician, at an affordable price.   By the time I purchased the MFJ 9410 transceiver, the MFJ 971 Tuner, an MFJ 25 amp MightyLite power supply, a folded dipole antenna and some coax, I was into the hobby for over $600.  I still have these components and do get some use out of them, but they spend a lot of time on the shelf. 

A few months after I got my Tech license,  I got my General license, (and with the financial help of my elmer N4ZZZ), I upgraded to an ICOM 7200 transceiver, an LDG IT-100 Tuner, and a 50 amp power-supply.  I use these pieces at least one or two days a week.  I am very happy with this rig, it does everything I need.

I like these MFJ rigs because the are compact, and sort of "primitive".  When you make a contact with them you can take pride that you did the work of making the contact, not just setting a dial on a digital VFO.    -- I even bought the 9440 radio for a vacation trip I took last year.

I am not trying to discourage you from starting out with the 9406 radio, but if you can afford to get a digital multi-band radio at the start, you might save money in the long run.

If you will be making your own antennas (wire or metal), you will find that an antenna analyzer is a valuable tool.

Good Luck and 73's
Jeff KG5AHC




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K0ZN
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« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2017, 07:27:15 PM »

WB2WIK is dead on correct. On SSB you absolutely want a horizontally polarized antenna; "everybody" on SSB is horizontal on 6. The cross polarization loss can be 15db or more.... that is a BIG signal loss. It will cut your range by a large amount. A simple horizontal dipole can be amazing when the band is open on skip. You are not going to be the Band Master, but you can make a ton of contacts on a good opening.  6M dipoles cost almost nothing to make.... Get a copy of the ARRL Antenna Book (an older one off Ebay is fine and cheap!) and make a 6M Turnstile antenna; easy to make, non directional, and horizontally polarized with a little gain. Or make a dipole that can be rotated. Heck, a 2 element Yagi is very easy to make and not much bigger than a dipole and you get about 4.5db gain. There are also some good commercial basic non-directional antennas out there. DON'T bite on the End Fed wire game; you NEVER get something for nothing in the world of antennas. 6 M is a VHF band and not as forgiving of myths, errors, assumptions and advertising gimicks. You want a REAL 6M antenna. If you need or want to operate on 6M FM, then, yes, a vertically polarized antenna is usually the way to go.

73,  K0ZN
« Last Edit: October 09, 2017, 07:30:16 PM by K0ZN » Logged
K5LXP
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« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2017, 08:32:58 PM »

I made my first 6M SSB contacts on a 9406.  Was a crazy big opening and I was running a wire dipole.  Upgraded to a 3 element yagi and ultimately worked over 100 grids with that rig over a few E seasons.  BUT IT WASN'T EASY, even with the yagi.  It's "possible" to make contacts with QRP SSB and a vertical, just like it's possible to win the lottery.  If you want to improve your odds, at least put up a dipole as high as you can or even better something with gain like a modest yagi.  Most people you hear on 6M are running big power and big antennas, but if you're running QRP and a weak antenna, you'll hear them but they won't hear you.  It will be tough enough even with a good antenna so if you're going down the QRP road, at least do the best you can with a decent antenna.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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K0UA
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Posts: 1380




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« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2017, 07:36:31 AM »

I made my first 6M SSB contacts on a 9406.  Was a crazy big opening and I was running a wire dipole.  Upgraded to a 3 element yagi and ultimately worked over 100 grids with that rig over a few E seasons.  BUT IT WASN'T EASY, even with the yagi.  It's "possible" to make contacts with QRP SSB and a vertical, just like it's possible to win the lottery.  If you want to improve your odds, at least put up a dipole as high as you can or even better something with gain like a modest yagi.  Most people you hear on 6M are running big power and big antennas, but if you're running QRP and a weak antenna, you'll hear them but they won't hear you.  It will be tough enough even with a good antenna so if you're going down the QRP road, at least do the best you can with a decent antenna.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
+1 to this.^

I have a 6 meter vertical, and the reason I have one was for 6 meter FM which IS vertically polarized like nearly all FM work. And while I have worked some SSB stations with it during large band openings, it was nearly always several dB less than my 80 meter OCFD horizontal wire antenna.  So I used that wire for many years, then I got a two element Moxon beam, and the difference between the little tiny beam and wire is day and night, let alone the vertical.  If you are going to operate 6 meter SSB at least put up a dipole, but preferably a beam of some kind.  I run 100 watts but often wish for more.  6 meter SSB is about good antennas, horizontal polarized ones, and about as much power as you can afford. Oh sure there are times during good E openings you can make contacts with 10 watts and a vertical, but you will never know what you are missing out on until you get a beam and some power. 
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KC1ABU
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« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2017, 07:45:52 AM »

Thanks to all of you. Great info, and a lot to think about. Appreciate all the help.
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N8YX
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« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2017, 09:46:14 AM »

I have a 6 meter vertical, and the reason I have one was for 6 meter FM which IS vertically polarized like nearly all FM work. And while I have worked some SSB stations with it during large band openings, it was nearly always several dB less than my 80 meter OCFD horizontal wire antenna. ...
My experiences mirror this.

Back in the day I had an HA-460 or a TV-506 connected to a simple dipole at 15 feet. Either could work anything they heard.

Now I have a tri-band vertical w/ decent gain a good bit higher and fed with better grade coaxial cable. It's connected to an all-mode rig whose power level is equivalent to the earlier setup and can easily hit any 6M repeater it hears. In a similar vein, FM simplex with stations running the same polarity antennas is always armchair copy.

Performance with the SSB Gang is...dismal.

What I'm planning on doing in the long run is to put up a tower and top it with HF, 6M and 2M directional antennas. For now, I'm going to install a set of 6 and 2M loops as an omnidirectional solution for SSB work. You might consider same if you can't erect a beam antenna.

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KC4ZGP
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« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2017, 10:27:32 AM »


A full-sized square loop.

Circumference 1005/frequency. A short 1/4 wave-length, 75 ohm coaxial for a 2:1 impedance
transformer.

Fed midway at the bottom or top is horizontal polarity. Fed midway on either side is vertical polarity.

Have fun and be safe.

kraus
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