I’m a new old ham. That is, I held W1BNJ back in the middle 50’s, but college, grad school, etc. curtailed my ham activities, and I let my license lapse for 50 years. Now I’m working with an electronics club at Lexington Christian Academy, and some of the kids are working on getting licenses. So I re-upped and am now AB1HF, extra class. To that end, I am now planning a station for my home and have a bunch of questions for Elmer. I hope some of you can be of help. I am a retired EE instructor from MIT, so don’t worry about my technical knowledge; my issues are more on the practical side. I must say equipment has changed in 50 years! I ran an 807 CW crystal rig and a National NC-150 back then. Doesn’t look like many build their gear now. But I guess a basement shop can’t really build a digital design in a reasonable time or for a price.
1) My max budget for a transceiver is about $1.5K. I’d like to have HF plus 2m. I went to Ham Radio Outlet in Salem, NH, a couple of days ago, and they were pushing me toward the Kenwood TS-570S or the TS-2000 to get 2m. I’ve looked as some of the on-line reviews and forum comments and see that the TS-2000 is a seven-year old design with Kenwood possibly getting out of ham radio. It appears that the ICOM IC-746PRO is a more current and popular rig. It does have better DSP resolution, and several say the audio sounds very good. I asked about ICOM, but they didn’t really reply, just kept on talking about Kenwood.
I’ve read the recent “Getting Started” and “New Radio” posts. They seem to be suggesting the Ten-Tech Orion or the Kenwood TS-120 to get started. But that may be a budget issue or the lack of interest in 2m. I’d consider getting a used unit on eBay. Anyone have a suggestion here? Which of these or possibly another rig should I consider?
2) Antennas: Budget is $500. I plan to build a J-Pole for 2m to get started. I have to build SOMETHING!. This looks pretty straightforward and I can easily mount it on my house. I presently have a 2W handheld a friend, K1LJN, loaned me, but the rubber duck doesn’t reach the local repeaters from my home, so I thought I’d try the J-Pole. I can hear the repeaters, but can’t reach them.
As for HF, I have a pair of big old pine trees about 175' apart with no branches below about 60'. So I’m thinking about starting with a multi-band dipole à la the ARRL Antenna Book, Chapter 7. The mid-point feed would only be about 25' horizontal from the house where the equipment will be located. I plan to arrange the antenna so it can be lowered and other antennas can be inserted for experimentation or be repaired if damaged by ice. I’m in North Reading, MA. My town is OK with vertical antennas on the roof and horizontals between trees. But I will need to further consult should I decide to put up a tower. That is rather unlikely for the near future. I just want to get back on the air with some reasonable contacts.
3) I’d also like some thoughts on lightening protection and feeding the lines through the house wall into the shack. I found a nice web page for a transmission pass-thru panel by K1PEH at http://www.k7peh.com/TransmissionBox.html
which is the sort of thing I have in mind. But he didn’t mention the inclusion of arrestors.
Any thoughts on these plans would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance to all you Elmers for your help!