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Author Topic: GETTING STARTED  (Read 554 times)
BRANDNEW
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Posts: 2




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« on: May 15, 2007, 04:16:48 PM »

I have always wanted to get a ham license, and now at 52, am about to really do it. What kind of station would you suggest I look at. There are no local stores nearby, everything is on the internet. I have no idea of what kind of gear to look for.

I live in a residential neighborhood. My interests would be to communicate with hams around the US, and longer distances if possible.

I would be most interested in some kind of base station. I am not a do-it-yourself type of guy. Looking for something I can easily use.

Any suggestions?

thank you
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AA4PB
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Posts: 12834




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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2007, 04:34:46 PM »

Its mostly a matter of how much money you are willing to spend. I'd suggest you start with a 100W HF (80M thru 10M) radio so you'll be able to make contacts around the country and around the world on a regular basis. On VHF/UHF you'll generally have to wait for the elusive band openings to work any great distance.

The antenna is way more important than the radio, although it doesn't have to be expensive. The best radio in the world will be rather limited if you are stuck with an antenna in the attic. But, you can still make contacts with an attic antenna if that's what you are forced to use - just to use one voluntarily :-)
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AA4PB
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Posts: 12834




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« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2007, 04:35:58 PM »

That is "just don't use one voluntarily".
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KE4DRN
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Posts: 3722




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« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2007, 06:33:39 PM »

hi,

where are you located ?

http://www.hello-radio.org/clublist.html

Will you be around for Field Day June 23-24 ?

http://www.arrl.org/contests/announcements/fd/

You can visit local FD sites and hookup with
other operators in your area.

73 james
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N1QKH
Member

Posts: 27




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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2007, 02:37:03 PM »

In general, I agree with the 100 watt HF radio as a good place to start. In my own case, I went with an ICOM 706 which gave me HF plus 6 meters, plus 2 meters.
My original plan was to operate the 706 in the house and move it to the car, once I upgraded my license and once I got used to operating all of the many, many menus on the 706. I am still using my original 80 meter dipole, fed with ladder line, via the balun in my manual antenna tuner.

Now, I have a 746Pro in the house and the 706 has been moved to the car so, my plan worked OK.

Having said all that, here are a few things that I could have done better.

I should have signed up with ARRL and had QST coming in every month before I took the test and got my license.
Even if you totally disagree with ARRL and its policies, you must admit that, they give out tons of usefull information to get new guys get started.

Secondly, the 706 and its newer clone the IC-7000 work best when connected the car-type (small) antennas and may work less well connected to a tri-band beam in an urban area with a lot of strong signals, overloading the front end. (So, my success was partly due to being lucky as opposed to being smart.)

Finally, I am in total agreement with the recomendations to check out amateur-radio-field-day and find a local radio club. There is nothing like getting some input from a person who has "been there and done it". It is also, a great opportunity to twiddle the knobs on various radios and see which ones you like best. Also, don't get too excited over any particular brand. ICOM, Kenwood, Yaesu, Alinco, Ten Tec and others have all made very nice radios at one time or another. It will be up to you to see which one you like best.

73 Don N1QKH
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BRANDNEW
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Posts: 2




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« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2007, 10:48:57 AM »

Thanks for all the help. Really appeciate it
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K9KJM
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Posts: 2415




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« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2007, 09:59:51 PM »

Congratulations on deciding to go for the license!  It is a great hobby I am sure you will enjoy.

Some of the proven HF radios include the good old Icom IC 735, Selling good used for 300-350 bucks, A brand new Icom 718 for around 500 bucks, The Icom 706 series are good radios, But geared more for mobil use, They are mostly menu driven instead of "knobs"
I consider a good used Icom 756PRO the best "bang for the buck" HF radio available, Now selling for 900-1200 bucks.
For your situation, One radio that would "do it all" would be the proven Kenwood TS-2000.  Not quite as good on HF as the 756PRO, But for the average user, I doubt you would see much of any difference. AND the TS-2000 also does VHF and UHF, AND crossband repeats!
A really neat feature!
As mentioned, The antennas are more important than the actual radio. IF you fool with VHF/UHF any coax run longer than just a few feet needs to be good coax like LMR-400, And kept as short as possible. For HF, Most any coax will work, Including RG-8X for shorter lengths.
Also, Once you get your license, Do download Echolink.
http://www.echolink.org/
Echolink is NOT a replacement for actual radios, But is a great FREE software program that allows you to connect to repeaters and link stations around the world!
Good Luck!
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KC6WGN
Member

Posts: 110




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« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2007, 11:47:54 AM »

The best I can suggest is to have HF, either yaesu,kenwood,icom,alinco,tentec,or others. HF automatic antenna is best, FT-990,IC-737A,Kenwood TS-570, and the antenna is simple R-5 cushcraft. I have in the patio and it works very good local and dx I communicate. So enjoy ham radio, hope that your qth is not limited to antenna restriction. My place restricted to antenna but I found a way to enjoy my hobby. Its part hobby and parts public services...Thanks again


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