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Author Topic: Back on the air, already burned out  (Read 3044 times)
KB8ZVJ
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Posts: 7




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« on: November 11, 2009, 07:14:38 PM »

After a 8 year hiatus from amateur radio, I decided it was time to give it another shot. My current rig is a Yaesu ft 8900. As you all know it is FM only.
Antenna is a 2/440 copper tube j-pole. I must say the antenna functions well for its intended purpose.

Obviously, this radio is designed for repeater use.
After one week on the air, I realized I have a limited desire to speak with "repeater locals."

Is 6 meter FM DX possible? I am not going to get into upgrading to General and building a 10 meter antenna.
Is SSB VHF/UHF equipment expensive?

D Star and APRS seem real interesting, but I am not sure of the activity level here in the Detroit area. Is packet still relevant?

I appreciate any and all thoughts. Thanks in advance.
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K4DPK
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Posts: 1077


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« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2009, 07:30:21 PM »

"I am not going to get into upgrading to General"

Why not?

Phil C. Sr.
k4dpk
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K9FON
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Posts: 1012




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« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2009, 07:39:29 PM »

Why not upgrade to General? Im glad that I did. CW test and written test notwithstanding I couldnt stand to stay a Tech for long. Ham radio is too vibrant to be stuck on 2 and 6 meters.
Broaden your horizons friend and get that upgrade! You will be glad you did!!!!!
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K5END
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Posts: 1309




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« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2009, 07:51:13 PM »

I don't think you would ever regret getting on the HF bands.

When you make your first DX contact you will understand what that feels like. It is a rush.

If I'm not mistaken, there are CW sections on HF bands allowed to Tech class. CW and Morse code might not interest you, until you try it. It will grow on you and you will like it, I predict.

But you will want to upgrade to general eventually. The desire will hit you and you'll do it.
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N7KFD
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Posts: 37




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« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2009, 07:56:39 PM »

To answer your question, yes 6 meter DX is possible but not as common as on the lower HF frequencies. I own an old Kenwood TR-9130 which is an all mode 2 meter only rig and it works quite well when the band is open. I have seen them online for around $150. The 2 meter multi-mode rigs were built in the early to mid eighties and they do have limitations, the TR-9130 can only use PL tones with an add on and that to is limited.

I'm not trying to talk you into anything but if you want to work DX the best thing to do would be to upgrade to General. With a Kenwood TS-480SAT (100 watts) and an off-center-fed dipole at around 30 feet I've work several countries even during the last year with virtually no sun spots. But again that's your decision, good luck with whatever you decide.
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VA7CPC
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Posts: 2386




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« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2009, 12:25:25 AM »

Anything that _always works_ becomes dull.   [We're talking radio here, not sex.]  SSB VHF still limits your distance, most of the time.

Upgrade to General, and start working HF.  I agree with the post that talks about the blast of your first DX contact -- i still remember my first DX (to South America, from Vancouver).

The only thing I've found in VHF that comes _close_ to working HF is doing satellite QSO's.  It's difficult (unless you invest in automatic rotors), and unreliable -- hence, it's fun.

          Charles
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W4KVW
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Posts: 488




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« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2009, 03:35:04 AM »

Upgrading is NOW so SIMPLE that many 8 to 10 year olds are doing it with little problem.If you decide NOT too do so then you can BLAME "ONLY YOURSELF"!The NO TEST ham ticket is still a few years away but I'm sure it's coming!

Clayton
W4KVW
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WG8Z
Member

Posts: 190




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« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2009, 05:08:57 AM »

2m/440 FM and burned out?
Not surprised, not much happening there.
Get the upgrade....find somebody with an HF station
Get a taste of 10 thru 160,,the different band characteristics,the range of people.
Get a big Taste of Amateur Radio.
Don't get me wrong, I play on VHF,have several packet station,do APRS.... Have worked 2m/220/440/6m sideband and FM.. I have talked 1000m on 2m FM on a Jpole during a good opening,,Problem is life is too short to waste waiting for those openings.But this is but a small part of the hobby. Get the upgrade, then when a friend offers up that old classic HF rig for $50 throw up a wire and Experience HAM radio.
I don't think I'll ever get burned out on getting up and sharing my first cup of coffee of the day with my HAM friends all over the US and the World.
Give yourself and Ham Radio a chance, you won't regret it.
73
Greg/wg8z
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AA4PB
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Posts: 12840




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« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2009, 05:12:02 AM »

It sounds to me like your best solution is to upgrade to general and get on bands like 40M and 20M where there is plenty of DX and a variety of activities like RTTY and various digital modes.

DX on 6M is rather limited at this time and most of it occurs on SSB during the occassional band opening. Unless you have a very good antenna installation or a very high location you'll be listening to a lot of "dead air" on 6M most of the time.
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WA3SKN
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Posts: 5480




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« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2009, 05:44:22 AM »

You do appear to be limiting yourself.
OK, so 2 meter FM repeater operation is not for you.  You will find 6 meter FM the same.  As for activity, check with your local coordinator and see what 6 meter/APRS/packet/D-Star activity is in your area.  If there isn't any, maybe you could start some!
Please remember that with 6 meter SSB you will want a beam antenna of some sort.
You do have HF privledges on 80,40,15, and 10 meters.  But you will have to work CW mode, except on 10.  This can be a lot of fun.  You will want to learn the code, though.  As for cost, kits are available, but then you would have to put together a kit.
Then there is 10 meter sideband (and data).  You would pick the bottom of the cycle to get interested.  E-skip can be found on the band most days.
I would say it is time to broaden your horizons!
73s.

-Mike.
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W5ESE
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Posts: 550


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« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2009, 06:17:54 AM »

I'll play the devil's advocate.

Get off the repeaters, and try your hand at
operating FM simplex. Your antenna should work
well for this.

On a weekend, drive your car to a hilltop, or
even the top level of a parking garage, and try
the simplex frequencies from there.

Have you provided communications for any public
service events; parades, bike races, walk-a-thons?

I love operating on HF, but I think there are
enjoyable facets of the hobby you can participate
in with the equipment and license that you already
have.

VHF/UHF SSB equipment has become pretty rare;
most VHF/UHF gear for SSB/CW now are either
in the "DC to daylight" category (HF plus VHF
and sometimes UHF, like the ICOM 706MK2G and Icom
FT857D), or transverters that are used in
conjunction with an HF only rig.

The MFJ 9406 and MFJ 9402 are simple SSB radios
that you may want to look at. There are a number
of reviews on this site, under the product
reviews.

73
Scott
W5ESE
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W7KKK
Member

Posts: 374




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« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2009, 06:20:52 AM »

Yes, but all means get out of the CB of ham radio as I refer to it. I have had 2/440 as a Novice of course. When I got active after many years again some local hams got me into using 2 and 440. OK for local contacts with friend but that was it and I had no use for interfacing the radio with the internet for contacts anywhere.
The repeater crowd is not for me either but I know many that like it.
Get that General class and move into HF.
I am not going to tell you that there are not some repeater types there too but it's a whole different world for ham radio.
The bad news is that HF will cost you more $.
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K0BG
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Posts: 9863


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« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2009, 06:38:35 AM »

This post exemplifies why no one should recommend an FM only radio, especially a handheld (not the case here), for newcomers; novices as it were. They are so limiting in so many ways, particularly in face of the status of FM repeaters in much of the country. Speaking of which...

It is no wonder so many amateurs exhibit disdain and scorn for newcomers particularly those frequenting repeaters. I have a lot of tolerance (most of the time) for the lack of operating skills, and poor use of jargon. But I have to say, it has gotten so bad in some areas of the country, I can certainly understand the attitude by the poster. If I was limited to FM, I'd quit too!

Alan, KØBG
www.k0bg.com
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AD6WL
Member

Posts: 181


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« Reply #13 on: November 12, 2009, 06:42:48 AM »

You will want to work 10M SSB and digital modes like RTTY and PSK31.  This will net you the most DX.  Try to operate during contests especially the 10M contests.   You may want to join a group like 10-10, they have their own contests and daily nets.

We are at the bottom of the sunspot cycle so in time the band will get better.

http://www.ten-ten.org/
http://www.contesting.com
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N9AVY
Member

Posts: 66




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« Reply #14 on: November 12, 2009, 06:44:05 AM »

FM & repeaters is but a tiny portion of ham radio. You are limiting yourself. With a little effort you should be able to pass the General now that code requirement is gone.  Limiting yourself to VHF/UHF FM is like eating hot dogs as a steady diet ... no wonder you bailed out of ham radio 8 years ago.
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