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Author Topic: Looking to upgrade the shack  (Read 8907 times)
KD8RDJ
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Posts: 5




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« on: May 29, 2012, 04:19:08 PM »

I currently have a IC-781 (gifted to me by a ham friend) and a Kenwood TS-2000. I also have a Hustler 6-BTV vertical. I have stock mics, and internal speakers on all radios. I'm looking to upgrade, and am wondering what would be best to do first. Should I get a new mic? (The Heil HM-12 looks pretty nice) Or should I upgrade my receive audio? Or maybe something else?

KD8RDJ
Will
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K9KJM
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Posts: 2415




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« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2012, 10:21:40 PM »

Those are two super radios!   The 781 as a great HF rig, And the TS 2000 as the best "do it all" radio on the market, Capable of cross band repeat, etc!

As I recall, The 781 did not even come from the factory with a mic......   I have had good luck with Heil with my IC756PRO.  (I use both the HC 4 and HC 5 elements depending on DX or ragchew)

About the best improvement to be made to any ham station is with ANTENNAS.   If you have some mad money burning a hole in your pocket, Buy some good antennas and feedline (TIMES LR400 for VHF/UHF), And/or buy some good books on building your own HF antennas.

An improvement on receive audio can be had with an older "Clearspeech" speaker, Now selling good used in the 100 dollar range. (Those old things WORK!)  That company has changed hands several times, And I am not so sure all of the newer ones work nearly as good as the originals.....
http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/444
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AD4U
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« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2012, 05:30:13 AM »

I second the previous post - ANTENNAS!!

You already have good rigs.  Your 6BTV is an "OK" all band vertical antenna, but you have no idea what you are not hearing. 

If you have $$$ burning a hole in your pocket, if possible install a 60+ foot tower and a decent yagi.  You will be amazed at the difference in performance over what you are using now.

Dick  AD4U
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W8JX
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« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2012, 07:09:07 AM »


Your 6BTV is an "OK" all band vertical antenna, but you have no idea what you are not hearing. 

If you have $$$ burning a hole in your pocket, if possible install a 60+ foot tower and a decent yagi.  You will be amazed at the difference in performance over what you are using now.


Most that knock vertical have never taken the time to use them properly. ALL antennas (including beams) have their strong and weak points. There is a big mis-conception that you must have a beam to do well. Also beam on 40 and below are impracticable most of the time too. You would wise to invest a few buck in some wire antennas or even a loop if you have room and you can choose/switch to antenna best for current conditions.

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K1CJS
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« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2012, 08:03:28 AM »

I also agree with the first two replies.  Concentrate on your antenna systems, and don't forget adaquate protection from static and lightning.  The things you are considering (mike and audio) in most cases is just window dressing--or bragging rights.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2012, 08:05:01 AM by K1CJS » Logged
AD4U
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« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2012, 11:35:21 AM »


Most that knock vertical have never taken the time to use them properly. ALL antennas (including beams) have their strong and weak points. There is a big mis-conception that you must have a beam to do well. Also beam on 40 and below are impracticable most of the time too. You would wise to invest a few buck in some wire antennas or even a loop if you have room and you can choose/switch to antenna best for current conditions.



The only vertical I use is a 100 foot tower topped with 3 each 5 element monoband yagis shunt fed on 160 and 80 meters meters with about (I lost count) 80 radials.  It works quite well on transmit but I use other antennas on receive.  However I doubt if any vertical will consistantly out perform a 5 element yagi at 100 feet on bands 14 MHz and higher.

Dick  AD4U
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KD8RDJ
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« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2012, 01:25:42 PM »

I would love to add a new antenna, but I really can't. Because of my HOA, a tower is defiantly out of the question. If a dipole or some other wire antenna would help, I might be able to do that.
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WX7G
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« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2012, 02:31:57 PM »

A telegraph key is the best upgrade one can make.
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KD8RDJ
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« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2012, 04:47:24 PM »

Ha Ha, well i've already picked up a very cheap key ($15) and am in the process of learning CW. If I like it a good key might be the next thing.
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K1CJS
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« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2012, 12:13:03 PM »

I would love to add a new antenna, but I really can't. Because of my HOA, a tower is defiantly out of the question. If a dipole or some other wire antenna would help, I might be able to do that.

There may well be several things you can do to improve your current antenna without putting up a larger one or changing your current antenna too much.  The one mistake a newbie makes is to think that fancy add-ons will make things better.  They seldom do.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2012, 06:28:25 AM by K1CJS » Logged
KB2FCV
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« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2012, 01:29:25 PM »

I agree with the other posters - look to see what you can improve in the antennas first. If you can't get a tower up, try a wire antenna of some sort and use it in addition to your vertical antenna. In some situations the wire antenna might do better, in others the vertical might to better. It's my feeling that the antenna is one of the single most critical components of the station.
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KD8RDJ
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« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2012, 02:12:32 PM »

So, after looking around, I found it is very easy to add 12 and 17 meters to my antenna. I also have some wire and might put up a 20m dipole. Would this help me?
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W8JX
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« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2012, 03:32:32 PM »

So, after looking around, I found it is very easy to add 12 and 17 meters to my antenna. I also have some wire and might put up a 20m dipole. Would this help me?

I like 17m. I use it mobile and have no trouble getting into Europe with it. 12m works well with a simple antenna too when band is open.
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KG4NEL
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« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2012, 06:03:01 AM »

WARC-band DXing is fun - not going to say there aren't pileups, but it's not quite the madness that 20m or 40m is...
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W8JX
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« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2012, 08:06:22 AM »

WARC-band DXing is fun - not going to say there aren't pileups, but it's not quite the madness that 20m or 40m is...


Neat thing about WARC Band DX is that they call CQ a lot and will usually talk to you for more than 10 seconds too. I chatted with a guy in Scotland once for over 20 minutes on 17m mobile then I had to QRT.
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