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Author Topic: 2 meter/70 centimeter home rig  (Read 6458 times)
AD6KA
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Posts: 2238




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« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2013, 12:01:26 PM »

You've received some great suggestions, Jeff.

I like K1WJ's idea of making an antenna base support
with a bucket and quick dry cement. Lowes & Home Depot
sell 5 gallon plastic utility buckets for less than $3 sometimes.
They are "loss leaders" to bring people into the store,
but they are good and useful products. I have 3-4 of them.

But I would change one thing about WJ's suggestion:
Instead of a wooden dowel, consider sinking a pipe in
the middle. The inside diameter of which would be slightly
larger than the O.D. of your antenna mast. That way you can
move it around more easily. (The pipe would be sticking only
about 4" or so above the cement.)

ALSO: You could use such a base outside when you go outside
or "Hill Topping". This is fun. Look on a map and find some
mountain or hill you can drive to the top of. Take your rig,
antenna, and coax out there. Radio is powered by your
car battery. Setup the antenna base, then maybe a 10" (or
longer) piece of PVC pipe and get your antenna up in the air.
We're havin' some fun now!  Grin

An alternative, though a bit more expensive way to get a heavy
antenna base is to buy a plain cement "Patio Umbrella Base" from
a hardware store. I have two that I use to hold up 15' fiberglass
telescoping poles, which in turn hold up the ends of my 80m
Inverted Vee. They are about 24" in diameter, 6" high, and have a
thick metal pipe with an ID of about 1.25" with two wing screws.
They weigh about 25-30 pounds and (when I bought them)
cost about $25 each. I tried to find you a link but I couldn't.
(didn't spend much time, I must admit it was a quick search.)
But I'm sure they still make them. I only found the more
expensive iron or fiberglass filled-with-sand ones.

The plain cement patio umbrella stands will support a
suprising amount of weight. I live in a very windy area and
have had no problems with mine supporting pretty tall
poles and wire antenna. Also, seeing that you live in an
apartment, you wouldn't have to go through finding a place
to mix the concrete or to worry about making a mess in the
apartment complex parking area. Apartment managers are
pretty nit picky about those things. Still, the bucket/cement/pipe
idea is a pretty nifty and money saving idea.

Re the power supply: I think the Astron 35M is over doing it.
I am not saying that it a poor product, it is a great product.
You don't need 35 amps and you don't need the meters.
I think the 23 amp Samlex 1223 is a good value and is
compact and unobtrusive. You don't need it's 23 Amps
either, but it is only $15 more than their 12 Amp model.
Plus it will power a 100w HF rig when you move up!  Grin
http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/hamps/3747.html

OK, enuf outta me.
Good luck and welcome to ham radio.
73, Ken  AD6KA
PS: You mentioned "putting the antenna in a corner of
my apartment". Can you put it in front of a big picture
window? Or any other window? With the blinds closed?
« Last Edit: June 20, 2013, 12:28:35 PM by AD6KA » Logged
JKHAM
Member

Posts: 10




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« Reply #16 on: June 22, 2013, 04:28:55 AM »

Thanks to everyone who has chimed in on this. I have located most if not all that I need to move forward. I found a new radio for 329. after looking at other stores it seems either I pay high shipping from china or higher price here in the states but lower shipping. Does this sound about right price wise?
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AD6KA
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Posts: 2238




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« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2013, 01:57:58 PM »

Thanks to everyone who has chimed in on this. I have located most if not all that I need to move forward. I found a new radio for 329. after looking at other stores it seems either I pay high shipping from china or higher price here in the states but lower shipping. Does this sound about right price wise?

Depends on the features you want.
Do you want cross band operation.?
(Receives a signal on one band and re-transmits
it on the other band?)
Or is "Uses one band at a time" OK for your purposes?
D-Star? Easy Echo Link Hookup?
Removeable faceplate/head? and if yes, does it
come with that hardware? It is called a "Separation Kit"
Sometimes retailers will throw that in, sometimes not.
If you aren't going to use it mobile it's not needed....
but still nice to have....and improves the resale price.
*Always* keep the factory boxes.  Grin

What radio did you have in mind?
Someone else here will have to give you advice
on price/value/features of specific models. I am an
HF guy and have only owned one FM dual band rig
and that was a long time ago. I am not conversant with
the current offerings, sorry.

FWIW: If you are going to be using repeaters that you
make *certain* that the rig has Alphanumeric
capability. That is, you can program in a repeater pair
of frequencies, then label them in plain English. It is
a heck of a lot easier when scrolling through the memories
to remember "Oat Mountain" than "147.705-".

I had one of the first IC-2820's and it did not have
alphanumeric capability. I had to keep 3 x 5 cards
with frequencies and repeater names & locations. PITA.
73, Ken  AD6KA
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JKHAM
Member

Posts: 10




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« Reply #18 on: June 22, 2013, 02:02:05 PM »

Thanks for the information. This will be used as a base station at home only. The model I found was YAESU
FT-7900R. 2M/440 MOBILE TRANSCEIVER W MH-48A6J MIC. The FT-7900R provides 50 Watts of power on the 144 MHz band, and 40 Watts on the 430 MHz, and is designed for simplicity of operation along with high performance in the receiver section. The FT-7900R is ideal for the active Ham who has a need for simplex, repeater, or FM satellite operation on both bands, but without the complication of cross-band repeat capability, which is available on our FT-8800R and FT-8900R models.
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K5LXP
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Posts: 4507


WWW

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« Reply #19 on: June 23, 2013, 04:21:56 PM »

You can get a 4-6ft Tripod at MFJ that the antenna will mount to or you could get a home depot bucket fill with 20lbs of quick dry cement with 4ft wood dowell again from home depot.

Sounds like a lot of trouble for an indoor 1lb antenna.  You could hang that antenna from the ceiling tied with a piece of string.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM

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W4KVW
Member

Posts: 501




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« Reply #20 on: June 25, 2013, 04:13:37 PM »

I use an ALINCO DR-635T.It's so simple to program you may not need the manual.It does NOT have all of the menus of most other dual band rigs on the market.I have the separation cable for mine which makes it really easy to mount the head & put the body out of the way.I use the ALINCO EMS-14 desk microphone & it makes a nice base setup for 2 meters & 440 mhz FM work & it does do cross band repeat & has a built in TNC if wanted or needed.  {:>)

Clayton
W4KVW
« Last Edit: June 25, 2013, 04:17:20 PM by W4KVW » Logged
JKHAM
Member

Posts: 10




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« Reply #21 on: June 27, 2013, 12:22:09 PM »

well radio and power supply are here. any suggestions for racks or something to hold them both?
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K5LXP
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Posts: 4507


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« Reply #22 on: June 27, 2013, 01:43:56 PM »

I put all my power supplies behind the desk.  No real reason for them to occupy desktop space.

You can use the mobile bracket to secure the radio to the tabletop or to the underside of a shelf.  Having the rig at eye level, or angled towards you is convenient.  Securing it will prevent tension from the mic from dragging it around.


Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
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AD6KA
Member

Posts: 2238




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« Reply #23 on: June 27, 2013, 04:06:58 PM »

Quote
Mark, K5LXP:
You can use the mobile bracket to secure the radio to the tabletop or to the underside of a shelf.  Having the rig at eye level, or angled towards you is convenient.  Securing it will prevent tension from the mic from dragging it around.

This is really good advice, especially if your desk is
crowded with a laptop, printer, other radios, you get
the idea.

In a pinch, you can always go with the "College Dorm
Desk Shelf Special"
. Grin Two cinder blocks on each side of
the desk top, with an inexpensive 1/2" or 3/4" pine plank on top
of them as the shelf.  Then, as Tom suggested, use the radio's
mobile mount (comes with the radio, and screws for mounting)
to mount it to the underside of the shelf. You can also add
the "Mic clip", also included with most mobile FM rigs, to the front
of the plank. This will keep the mic both out of the way yet
handy to reach.

(BTW: Put old towels or rags down on the desk to keep
the cinder blocks from scratching it. You can even use some
inexpensive stain or varnish to "spiffy up" the shelf.)

I agree %100 with the poster who said to put the power
supply on the floor behind the desk. That's where mine are.

GL ES 73, Ken  AD6KA
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K9CCH
Member

Posts: 2




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« Reply #24 on: June 28, 2013, 11:59:23 PM »

Just in case...

You could also build a copper J Pole antenna and disguise it like this guy did.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJZwPK_MUDY
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W5LZ
Member

Posts: 477




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« Reply #25 on: June 29, 2013, 06:35:23 AM »

In no particular order...

Power supplies.  Getting more than you actually need is a nice idea.  Sooner or later you'll add something that requires DC power and having some 'extra' is nicer than buying another power supply. 
Antennas for VHF/UHF are just not all that big.  There are quite a few that would probably fit your requirements/situation.  Look around, see what you can find, go from there.  All antennas work better outside rather than inside.  Mounting it higher is always better than not.  If it's inside expect to have RFI issues.  If you don't, then you're lucky!
What radio?  (I'm a Kenwood fan so guess what I'd recommend!)  Take a look at all of them.  Try to guess what would be a usable 'bell-n-whistle' and what won't be for you (good luck with that).  It's a very, very good idea to sit in front of a radio, get your hands on it, see how you and it 'get along'.  That's also one of the hardest things to do, right?  Still a very good idea.  One of the reasons I like Kenwood stuff is that the programming is pretty simple, logical?  Had one of the 'other' brands, it did exactly what it was supposed to do, but completely 'stumped' me with it's programming.
One 'option' to seriously consider is a programming cable and software for whatever radio you decide on.  Makes things much simpler.
Don't rule0out the used market, but know what you are looking at.  What used to be considered an 'option' is now a requirement for repeater use, those DTMF/PL/CTCSS tones.  Not having such a feature is -very- limiting today.
You are the one who will be staring at that radio so selecting one that is suitable for you is the thing.  What I find 'suitable' may not 'fit' you.  Suit yourself, not me/others.
Have fun.
 - Paul
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K1CJS
Member

Posts: 6045




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« Reply #26 on: June 29, 2013, 06:50:08 AM »

First... what repeaters are in your area?  That will help determine your requirements....

I still tend to laugh when I see remarks like this one.  All too often this is the only thing that newcomers are told--without regard to the other capabilities of the 2 meter band.  No disrespect intended, Mike, but 2 meter FM is only part of what newcomers should be getting interested in, and these days, even though FM and repeaters take up a good portion of the band, they're also the least used of most of the 2 meter modes in all too many areas.  73!
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