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Author Topic: New and Questions  (Read 950 times)
JKHAM
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« on: February 18, 2013, 08:58:07 AM »

Greeting, Fellow hams, I am very new to the world of Ham. I current live in an apartment and don't have lots of space to set up a real ham shack. I would love some suggestions on getting started. I know there are 2 meter handhelds but I would like have something more stationary and powerful. I have read some stuff that many new hams start off with a mobile unit like what you would use for a car but set it up as small ham shack.
Anyway, there seems to be a ton of opinions. Here is my criteria for what I would like. I would love to be able to do some dx-ing but also keep up with the local nets. does anyone have any suggestions?

KK4KLZ


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K5LXP
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« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2013, 09:52:49 AM »

http://www.arrl.org/shop/Getting-Started-with-Ham-Radio/
http://www.arrl.org/shop/ARRL-Operating-Manual-10th-Edition/


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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K8GU
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« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2013, 09:54:32 AM »

Welcome to ham radio! 

The answer depends a lot on your local ham culture.  If the VHF crowd is cliquish, you won't have any fun with a handheld or a mobile.  I like to just have the chatter on in the car because often the guys on the repeater are more insightful than the people on the broadcast radio.

HF from an apartment could best be described as something between excruciating and tolerable, depending on your situation.  I lived in an apartment for two years and only operated HF mobile and from a club station.  RFI, both giving and receiving, is a fact of life in that situation.

If you got into ham radio to contact far-away places by radio, than skip the VHF stuff.  The happy medium would be to get one of the all-in-one mobile radios like the FT-857D or the IC-7000 (or their predecessors).  Given your situation, you won't notice their shortcomings and they'll give you maximum flexibility to explore the bands.  If you have more questions, feel free to ask.
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JKHAM
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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2013, 02:16:45 PM »

Thank you both for the information...concerning the two radio's mentioned...what would be their short comings? is it performance or financial?
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W6EM
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« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2013, 04:48:15 PM »

Both are 100 watt-class, multi-band transceivers.  The price is a tad high for beginners, so perhaps a used predecessor to the IC-7000, the Icom IC-706MkIIG.  They can be had for $500-$600, and cover 160M to 70cM.

I'd encourage you to listen a lot to the HF bands, and the 706 would allow you to do that.  You'd be able to use it on 6M, 2M, and 70cM as a Technician, for repeaters and such.  You will needs a 25-30A power supply as well.  Astrons are decent.  An RS-35 would work well.

73,

Lee
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VA7CPC
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« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2013, 11:07:41 PM »

You can put a whole "shackful" of gear on about a one-square-foot tabletop.  That will hold one of the previously-mentioned radios and its power supply.   Staples / Office Depot used to have "telephone stands" that were just about the right height and size -- power supply underneath, radio on top, and slightly tilted back.

A 2m VHF dipole can be made from two pieces of wire, each 19.25" long.  Tape it to a window (or to a wall, in a wood-frame, wood-stud, wood-siding building), with the wire running up-and-down.   It should reach all the local repeaters, depending on how high you are, and  how good "line-of-sight" is.   I don't know the length for a 70-cm dipole, but you can look it up or figure it out.

A good alternative is to buy a mobile "mag-mount" vertical antenna (2m/70cm) and put it on top of a file cabinet (which serves as a groundplane).  That gives good results, if there's no metal in the building structure.

The real problem is getting reasonable results from an apartment-mounted antenna _on HF_.  If you have a balcony, use it.  If you have access to the roof or attic, use it.  If not, you'll have two problems to deal with:

1.  The noise level inside apartments tends to be high -- battery chargers, LED and halogen-light power supplies, etc.  They all make RF noise.   And if you don't have them, your neighbors do.

2.  It's difficult to build a wire antenna large enough to give good results.  A dipole is 31' long for 20m, and your apartment may be shorter than that.    So "magnetic loop" antennas (and multi-turn wire loops) are worth investigating.

But one step at a time . . .

If you have a local ham club, join it.  The people will know a lot more about local conditions than I do, and they'll be able to help you set things up.

.             Charles
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K8GU
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« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2013, 05:04:40 AM »

Thank you both for the information...concerning the two radio's mentioned...what would be their short comings? is it performance or financial?

Performance.  All of these smaller all-in-one radios have credible/useful receivers, but they will get squashed on a band full of very big signals.  As long as you're using simple antennas (mobile whips or wires), you'll only run into this occasionally.  By "squashed," I mean that the sensitivity to weak signals will be reduced in the presence of other louder signals nearby or you may hear signals that aren't actually there.

I agree that you should look at the used predecessor to the Icom IC-7000, the Icom IC-706.  There are three versions, IC-706, IC-706MkII, and IC-706MkIIG.  It's arguably one of the most popular ham rigs ever made so there are lots of them out there.  Try to find the MkIIG.  I'll let someone else explain the differences between the three.  The Yaesu FT-100D is a bit long in the tooth and has some reliability problems with the amplifier section, but is probably the best receiver of all of the radios in this class.

For power supplies, Astron is a good recommendation.  You should be able to find a used Astron RS-35 for less than $100.  Buy local because they're heavy!  I had one for many years.  I use the Astron SS-30 in my home station and the MFJ-4125 for travel.
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NK7Z
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« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2013, 06:53:12 AM »

Greeting, Fellow hams, I am very new to the world of Ham. I current live in an apartment and don't have lots of space to set up a real ham shack. I would love some suggestions on getting started. I know there are 2 meter handhelds but I would like have something more stationary and powerful. I have read some stuff that many new hams start off with a mobile unit like what you would use for a car but set it up as small ham shack.
Anyway, there seems to be a ton of opinions. Here is my criteria for what I would like. I would love to be able to do some dx-ing but also keep up with the local nets. does anyone have any suggestions?

KK4KLZ

Welcome to Ham Radio sir!!

You might consider a high powered 2/440 rig in your car, which will cross band, then use a hand held to control it from your home...  I do this sometimes, and it works very well...  Also I have an entire station on one desk, see: http://nk7z.net/station/ for photos...
« Last Edit: February 20, 2013, 06:58:09 AM by NK7Z » Logged

Thanks,
Dave
For reviews and setups see: http://www.nk7z.net
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