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Author Topic: Beginning HAM with 2M/70CM  (Read 4514 times)
KK6AEL
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« on: January 31, 2013, 05:04:36 PM »

Hello all!

After passing my Tech and General exams a couple of months ago, I just bought my first HAM rig, a Yaesu FT-7900R with a Comet SBB-5 mobile antenna to install on my XTerra.  I'm really looking forward to making first contact, and I've been told the combination of radio and antenna is a winner.  The equipment looks great on my work bench.

I do have one question; I have a SWR meter I used to tune my CB radio a while back.  Can I use this to tune the Yaesu?  Obviously it's much higher power output on much higher freqs, and I am not sure if the CB SWR meter is frequency specific.

Also, are there any recommendations for using this specific setup besides the standard stuff for starting out (local repeaters, clubs, etc.)?  I've got the wiring and all that stuff handled; this is actually a fairly easy vehicle mod compared to some that I've done in the past.  I haven't joined my local amateur radio club yet, but will probably do so in near future.

Thanks for reading,
KK6AEL AR
« Last Edit: January 31, 2013, 05:07:25 PM by KK6AEL » Logged
K1CJS
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« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2013, 04:20:07 AM »

All too many of the SWR meters that worked on CB frequencies will not work properly--if at all--on 2 meter frequencies.  You can sometimes get one to 'calibrate,' but only at the very end of the adjustment--and its hard to get the needle to stay on the calibrate mark.

Less expensive SWR meters ARE good for HF bands and CB, and may even work on the 6 meter band, but will not properly work on the 2 meter and higher bands.

Also, the Comet antenna that you have is factory set to be optimally tuned for both the 2 meter and the 70 centimeter band and require no further tuning.  As a matter of fact, if you try to readjust it, you may throw off the adjustment for the band that you're not trying to adjust it to.  Just install it and use it the way it's set now and don't worry about the SWR.  You'll be better off.  73!
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WN2C
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« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2013, 08:04:33 AM »

I'll second CJS' comment.  If and when you can get a meter that is for 2/440 then put it in line and check it.  It should be good as long as you have good coupling of the mount to the vehicle and that should be even ok w/ a mag mount. (if that is what you are using)

Rick  wn2c
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2013, 09:16:46 AM »

Why not just borrow an appropriate VHF-UHF bridge for an hour?  You don't need to drive around with it in line; once the antenna is set up, you're done.

Gene W5DQ lives in Ridgecrest and is a VHF active guy, probably has an appropriate meter.
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N5TWB
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« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2013, 10:35:21 AM »

Having an XTerra myself with multiple radios/antennas installed, I was wondering how you plan to mount that Comet antenna. Given that it's 38" long, that's not exactly garage-friendly even if you mount it low on such a tall vehicle.

Are you taking advantage of the remote head capability of the FT7900R?

Membership in a club and then being active will advance your skills and knowledge more than you can know right now. I highly recommend it.
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KK6AEL
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« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2013, 10:11:56 PM »

The comet mobile antenna folds down at the base for garages and such, so I'm going to use a lip mount on the rear hatch (I bought a very nice mount with the rest of the gear.)  If that doesn't work, I'll fab something up to the roof rack.  My 4' CB antenna is up there on one of the cross bars with a quick disconnect.  It's TALL with the CB antenna on, but since  I only use CB for road trips and trail riding, most of the time antenna is stored inside the vehicle.  The HAM will see more use, but I can fold the antenna down when I need to, and it's significantly smaller than the CB antenna

As for the SWR, thanks for confirming I should be able to just hook it up.  This looks like it will be a relatively easy install, but we'll see how it goes.  Thanks for all the input.

Second question:  If I have the HAM and CB antennas up there at the same time, will they interfere with each other?  I can see using both while on camping/offroad trips, but I don't want to accidentally blow the CB when I transmit on the HAM, since it's got 11 times more power out.
« Last Edit: February 01, 2013, 10:15:45 PM by KK6AEL » Logged
K1CJS
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« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2013, 07:22:40 AM »

If you're going to run one rig, just make sure the other one is off and you'll be fine.  You're right to worry more about the CB set since most of them aren't at all as rugged as the ham rigs.
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N5TWB
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« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2013, 12:11:09 PM »


Second question:  If I have the HAM and CB antennas up there at the same time, will they interfere with each other?  I can see using both while on camping/offroad trips, but I don't want to accidentally blow the CB when I transmit on the HAM, since it's got 11 times more power out.

I have five antennas mounted (4 NMO, 1 magmount) on my XTerra's roof: dual-band V/UHF (2), 1/4-wave VHF (2), multi-band scanner. I've regularly had the following radios in operation at the same time: VHF ham, V/UHF Ham, 2 scanners, APRS. The ham radios are both 40-50 watts, the APRS is 8 watts and the only time I catch any cross-talk is occasionally hearing the APRS digital signal through another radio.

I said all that to tell you that you're worrying about something you're not likely to experience, IMO.
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K5LXP
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« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2013, 10:05:26 AM »

If you're going to run one rig, just make sure the other one is off and you'll be fine. 

If you're going to blow out the front end of a radio it won't matter if it's on or off.

The thing to be careful about is to make sure that while underway the whips don't make contact with each other.   


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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K5LXP
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« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2013, 10:12:43 AM »

I have a SWR meter I used to tune my CB radio a while back.  Can I use this to tune the Yaesu?

For just a quick SWR check most CB meters work fine on 2M but you have to use them a little differently.

http://www.kb6nu.com/no-vhf-swr-meter-no-problem/


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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K1CJS
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« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2013, 04:29:52 AM »

If you're going to blow out the front end of a radio it won't matter if it's on or off.

That isn't what I was talking about, and furthermore, isn't at all likely to happen.  What I was referring to is any interference between the two which may cause audio distortion, etc. on the transmitted signal.



« Last Edit: February 04, 2013, 04:34:00 AM by K1CJS » Logged
K5LXP
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« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2013, 07:08:26 AM »

That isn't what I was talking about, and furthermore, isn't at all likely to happen.

OK, but the question was about damage:

I don't want to accidentally blow the CB when I transmit on the HAM, since it's got 11 times more power out.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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K1CJS
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« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2013, 03:52:20 AM »

Which is why I answered the way I did, Mark.   Grin
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KK6AEL
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« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2013, 05:22:10 PM »

OK, thanks guys.  Sounds like the only issue would be signal degradation if I transmitted on both at once, which isn't likely to happen.  I want to have both radios operational, so I can be a rolling relay over more distance than CB can cover.  I'll mount the antennas far enough apart that I don't have to worry about contact between them while I bump around on the trails.
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