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Author Topic: icom 718  (Read 1916 times)
KC8KTN
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« on: March 29, 2010, 12:40:25 AM »

Have really been getting into the hf world. To trick this radio out which filters would you recomend. And about the crystal thing you can install to stabilize the reciever is that worth it.I am using a ldg 200 auto tunner with it.Was also wondering can you install more than one filter at a time.Have been thinking about another radio a  Yaesu FT-920 160-6M All Mode Transceiver . Any way are those filters worth it and is there a good place to get them a a good deal.Was going to get that voice synthesizer to tell you freq and signal.Anyways thanks for any advice.
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AD6KA
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« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2010, 01:44:38 AM »

First I would ask myself what the purpose of "tricking my radio out" was. Making more QSO's?
Digging out weak ones?. Bragging rights? Have you ever
used filters before and do you know what they can and cannot do?

Filters are expensive. Figure about $175-200 each.
Wire antennas are cheap. Except for a CW filter, you are not going to make more QSO's at this stage in your ham career by throwing a bunch of filters into it. Period.

You wil make a hell of a lot more QSO's by putting that filter money (OR the money for a shiney new FT-950) into your antenna farm *first* than you will by "tricking out your radio" with filters.
That's an inarguable fact.

If you were a vetern ham keeping a 718 on hand as a  third radio, then I would recommend that if they like the radio a lot, they might put some filters in it.

Lots and lots of new hams fall into the trap that the radio and accessories for the station makes a successful operator. Not true. There is no radio, filter, or accessory that is anywhere near a substitute for a good antenna system, skill, and experience. I bet you could buy a $5,000 radio and use the antenna you have right now (sorta G5RV, and still not make as many QSO's as a guy down the road with a plain 718 and a small tribander on a 35' tower.
Or even a set of dipoles for every band.

Unless you are struck blind, there is absolutely no reason at all to install the voice synthesizer.

Hmas work hard to improve their stations.
CB'ers "trick out their radios".
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AD6KA
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« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2010, 01:47:19 AM »

SHould read:

Hams work hard to improve their stations.
CB'ers "trick out their radios".
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M0JHA
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« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2010, 03:27:53 AM »

the 718 is a great performer as standard . it works fine both ssb and cw right out the box. If your just getting into HF i would consider the antenna before all else.

all the bells and whistles in the world won't bag you more contacts if its all running into a bad antenna..  FACT..

billy
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K1CJS
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« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2010, 04:28:05 AM »

I have to agree with the other posters.  A good antenna is worth ten times and more than what filters or 'tricking out' your radio would ever be worth.
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AA4N
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« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2010, 05:02:20 AM »

A narrow filter can be useful right away if you work a lot of CW.  Especially if you work contests in the venerable search and pounce mode (not so handy if you are running a frequency).

However, the other posters are correct about antennas being the number one improvement as far as return for your money goes.  I've heard it said that you should spend at least as much money/effort on your antennas as you do on your radios.  Some say its more like an 80/20 split (80% antenna / 20% rig).

If the IC718 has DSP filtering capabilities, then I would definitely wait on the filters.

Good luck and welcome to the world of HF!

mike AA4N
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N7NBB
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« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2010, 06:41:39 AM »

YEP. Have to agree with the "tone" of this thread. You've heard the mantra "Location, Location, Location" ? Well add to that "Antenna, Antenna Antenna". I might also add that MUCH... VERY MUCH, can be gained (no pun intended) by LEARNING (experience and experimentation) how to correctly use the RF GAIN control... They don't just put that on the radio so you can attenuate your down the block neighbor running 1000 watts... Properly adjusted (sometimes a real-time "riding" the RF GAIN control) can really pull out a weak, hard to copy station... sometimes even better and certainly much much cheaper than an Expensive filter, that given your experience level, (from the questions you're asking) I'd say a filter would: 1.) be a waste of money, and 2.) most probably only increase your frustration. As Mae Questel used to say, "TRY IT FOR YOURSELF, HONEY !"... find a weak station and then CAREFULLY... SLOWLY..... DECREASE the RF GAIN. At some point the "NOISE" will decrease, but the signal will still be heard... and heard much better than with the gain cranked wide open.  HEADPHONES can also sometimes help copy the weak ones.  If you are really "into" CW then yes a filter can "assist" you in separating CW signals that are so close together that no amount of tuning or RF Gain tweaking, can pull one out over the others... but the SSB filter, at THIS stage of YOUR game, is an unnecessary expense.
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VA3DXV
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« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2010, 07:03:29 AM »

Y'all can give this guy good advice till you're blue in the face, he's still going to "pimp his rig" before he does the smart thing.
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WX7G
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« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2010, 07:20:09 AM »

KC8KTN,

The IC-718, tuner, and your G5RV antenna are not bad the way they are.

The biggest bang for your buck at this point is to add an amp such as an Ameritron AL-811. Why do I say that this gives more bang for your buck than an antenna? The next step up antenna-wise is a triband Yagi on a mast with a rotator. That will cost as much or more than the amp yet cover only three HF bands. The amp will cover all HF bands (except 60 meters) and one MF band (160 meters).

The bands are coming back to life as sunspot cycle 24 begins its climb upward. You have entered amateur radio at the right time.

If DX is what you want you might want to learn CW. This would also dull the 'CBer' attacks that you get around here. Once you learn code who then is the 'CBer?'
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VA3DXV
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« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2010, 07:38:43 AM »

Great idea, run the 811 into a 200 watt tuner connected to a poorly installed G5RV... I like where this is going.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2010, 07:43:14 AM by Brian » Logged
KC8KTN
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« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2010, 07:47:23 AM »

Ok that makes good sense  . Was just wondering about the filters was reading the owners manual. Have been thinking about the rotating dipole. Also now I can see why the extra class would come in  handy. Was talking to a ham last night and he said thats where alot of serious dxing takes place . He said alot of overseas amatuers hang out above the general class bands .Again the advice makes sence but my  property keeps me from doing alot not very big then my house is in the corner of the lot.Again thanks.Everyone take care.
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W1BVV
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« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2010, 09:02:20 AM »

There is a lot of good DXing in the general area of the bands.

If you talked to a ham that said Extras hangout above the General areas, get a new person to listen to.  The Extra frequency allocations are below the General limits.

Concentrate on antennas and operating skill.  You will know when your equipment limits your performance.
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WX7G
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« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2010, 09:05:10 AM »

KC8KTN,

I can only speak for CW but most DX stays in the extra band although some seem to be migrating a bit above that lately.

You'll have fun exploring what HF has to offer. High power is fun, QRP (5 watts) is fun, and contesting is fun. 160 meters is fun and you might like the CQ 160 meter (SSB) contest in February. The G5RV will work on 160 meters by loading the feedline against GND.

The next SSB contests you might try are the ARRL VHF in June and of course Field Day in June. Don't forget Field Day. Go to ARRL.ORG for contest rules and the results for past years. Then there is the ARRL 10 meter contest in December, the Sweep Stakes, and a CQ DX contest in the fall.

The ARRL Contest Coral lists the major contests whether ARRL or others.
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N2EY
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« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2010, 09:52:07 AM »

If you want to make more and better QSOs:

1) The only additional filter you need is a 400 to 500 Hz filter for CW and/or data modes - if you ever operate those modes.

2) Improve your antenna system. A G5RV with the center at 20 feet and not in a straight line isn't a very good antenna on any band. Yes, you can work the world with a very compromised setup, but things like another SSB filter or voice synthesis will not get you better results.

3) Don't get an amplifier. Not yet, anyway. You'll simply have more RFI problems. Plus you'll need a Transmatch capable of handling the power. Improving the antenna will get you far more dB.

4) Improve your knowledge and skills. Learn about antennas, how your rig works, how your antenna works, how the bands work, what a dB is, what all the features in your rig are and how to use them. Learn to use modes other than voice. RTFM, RTFM, RTFM!

Operator know-how is the most important factor - and it cannot be bought. It can only be earned.


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AD6KA
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« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2010, 10:31:27 AM »

"Concentrate on antennas and operating skill"

This is really, really good advice, as is the advice about learning to **use your Gain control properly**.
Learn how to dig out the weak ones. Just this weekend in WPX this method paid off in a new one for me. In between two massive pileups with huge signals (a P40 station and a PJ2 station) I heard a weak signal buried *way* down near the noise. I turned down the gain, narrowed the passband, and spent some minutes digging him out. There was 5N7M (Nigeria) calling CQ all by himself with no answers! Got him on the second call. Tall tower here? Stacked monobanders? Nope, roof mounted HF6V vertical with proper radial system.
Inverted vee for 40m phone and a shortened trap 82' 80m vee.

"Again the advice makes sence but my property keeps me from doing alot not very big then my house is in the corner of the lot."

As General McAuliffe told the Germans when they had the 101st surrounded at Bastogne; "NUTS!"
Just because your house is in the corner of the lot doesn't mean your antennas have to be. I bet your lot is a lot larger than mine. I live in the L.A. burbs in a 1960's baby boomer house.If you can mount a full sized G5RV with the center at 20 feet and the ends at 31 feet (as you once described), then with a little research and ingenuity, you have plenty of room for some *killer* antennas. Get a good antenna book and *read* it.

Then learn how to properly use your receiver's controls. Only experience will teach you this.
You'll often hear "I can work everything I hear". Usuallly it means squat, because they only listen for the big sigs and pass by the ones down in the mud.
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