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Author Topic: First Base Station - Looking for Input  (Read 1353 times)
KE7KTR
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Posts: 15




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« on: March 04, 2013, 01:49:22 PM »

Hello -

I've had my tech license for several years now.  I'm planning to upgrade to general class soon, more for knowledge than for the privileges.  I was only moderately active for the first few years, but over the last year I have become much more active on the airwaves and started putting together plans for my first base station setup.

I'm mostly interested in VHF/UHF at this point for some simple ragchew and emergency purposes (not really into contesting).  You can tell me why I'm wrong or why you disagree and I'll consider your input, but that's not really want I'm curious about.

I've done a lot of research and gained knowledge (plus confusion) as time has gone by.  I wanted to outline what I'm planning on putting together to get some feedback on what I am doing right / wrong and what I may need to do differently.

- My shack will be on the second floor of my home, maybe 12 feet above ground level.  I know, not ideal but it is what works best for my situation.
- I am planning on getting a Yaesu FT-8900r soon since it seems to fit my plans better than other options I can find.
- I am planning on using a Comet GP-15 vertical antenna on the peak of my roof.  This would place the antenna about ten feet above the radio equipment.
- Planning on a simple power supply.

I take it that I'm going to need a ground rod below the antenna.  For lightning protection.  Also, the station / antenna will be directly above the existing AC ground location, so tie them together?  Or not?  Do tie all of my equipment to a grounding plate on the wall and then tie that to the rod, or do I let my three-prong plugs do their job?

Due to the positioning of everything, I shouldn't need a huge length of coax, but does anyone have any recommendations for what I should use?

Any other suggestions / input?

Thanks for your time.

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K5LXP
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« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2013, 02:06:41 PM »

NEC guidelines cover your antenna installation ground, it's the same as a TV or satellite antenna.  You don't need to provide any separate safety ground for your hamshack.

LMR-400 coax is a "safe" choice for a simple setup like this.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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KE3WD
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Posts: 5694




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« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2013, 02:44:01 PM »

We used to call it, "a shack". 

"Base Station" seems so CB...


EnJOY,


73
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KE7KTR
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Posts: 15




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« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2013, 02:44:52 PM »

We used to call it, "a shack". 

"Base Station" seems so CB...


Just meant to clarify non-HT / non-mobile.
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N4JTE
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« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2013, 04:16:15 PM »

Any chance you can get the antenna off the roof and/or consider a simple dipole when you get your upgrade?
Will make most of your concerns go away and actually be a much more gratifying experience for you on the air.
Bob
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N4JTE
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« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2013, 04:18:33 PM »

Also take a look at this article, might be heplful;   http://www.eham.net/articles/29061
Bob
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KE7KTR
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« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2013, 04:25:51 PM »

Any chance you can get the antenna off the roof and/or consider a simple dipole when you get your upgrade?
Will make most of your concerns go away and actually be a much more gratifying experience for you on the air.
Bob

You mean off the roof as in away from the house on a tower?

I'm not sure what that would gain me except for the grounding situation.  It would take a pretty sizable tower (money) to get the antenna as high as I'll have it over the roof and I would need ten times as much feedline (cost / dBs).

I would consider a dipole at some point.
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KF7GFL
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« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2013, 04:56:26 PM »

When I first got my ticket, I thought about picking up the FT-8900 as it is a quad-band radio. The problem is that it is FM only. You may want to try some other modes such as SSB, AM, CW, etc. and so I suggest looking at the FT-857D. It is only a couple hundred dollars more and will allow you to explore some other parts of the hobby. You mentioned emergency communications and the 857 would allow you to play with the HF bands and an NVIS antenna, which might be rather helpful with all of those mountains around you (I live just to the South of you).

Matt - KF7GFL
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KB8SKK
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« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2013, 05:29:08 PM »

My feeling is don't waste your $ on the 8900r, just got one.
I have buyer's remorse.
Just go with dual band. Then HF, or all in the box.
Just my input from experience, will pick up new all in the box
at Dayton.

73, Karl

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NI3S
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Posts: 67




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« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2013, 06:12:56 PM »

Save the money you are planning for the antenna and build one yourself.  Perhaps the savings would be enough to get you into either a couple used rigs in HF and VHF/UHF or an all-in-one like someone else mentioned.   Great antennas can be built from a trip to the home improvement store and electrical supply house for both HF and the FM stuff.  Starting simple, say a two band HF dipole and a homebrew yagi or cubical quad, offers more chance for success. 

Remember, anyone can rifle through a catalog and buy all the goodies to assemble a shack, but there is a lot of pride that goes into actually building one. 
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KF5IZN
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« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2013, 06:44:11 PM »

I don't know how useful or fun the 50 meter band is when you are restricted to FM. Maybe you might consider building a j.Pole for the 2m/70cm bands.A horizontal polarized antenna might work better for you in the 6 and 10 meter band.

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KE7KTR
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Posts: 15




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« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2013, 07:35:32 PM »

My feeling is don't waste your $ on the 8900r, just got one.
I have buyer's remorse.
Just go with dual band. Then HF, or all in the box.
Just my input from experience, will pick up new all in the box
at Dayton.

73, Karl



Care to elaborate on your remorse?

Perhaps I can take that tranciever off of your hands for the right price and ease some of that disappointment.
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KE7KTR
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« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2013, 07:20:33 AM »

Thanks to all for your input.
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WA3SKN
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« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2013, 10:32:56 AM »

Since you are not sure of your interests, I would suggest one of the "DC-to-Daylight" type rigs... FT897/857, Icom706/7000, Kenwood2000, etc.
This would give you the ability to try a lot of different things.  The FT8900 is strictly FM mode and will limit you.  The second floor shack is not really an issue, nor is the outdoor grounding.  Antennas can be simple home made wire devices to start.  And get a large enough power supply so you can power accessories as well as the radio.
73s.

-Mike.
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