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Author Topic: Just licensed General with a new rig. First steps?  (Read 871 times)
KC0KEC
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Posts: 12




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« on: August 25, 2008, 10:41:39 AM »

Hello all,
  A few weeks ago I passed my general.  I've been out of ham radio for YEARS but have decided recently to get back in as I've gotten interested in mobile HF comm.  I just ordered a Yeasu FT-817ND and am building a nice 40/20/10m dipole.

  So, what are the "first steps" for a newbie on these bands?  Of course I will LISTEN FIRST and play around with listening to some beacons, etc.  But, when I get up the nerve to start talking what is the best bet for a beginner general?  Any recommended frequencies?

Thanks
KC0KEC
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WW5AA
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Posts: 2086




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« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2008, 02:14:13 PM »

Learn CW and get a key next....with a QRP rig you may find that you are very limited on SSB. Have fun!

73 de Lindy
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K5TEN
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Posts: 181


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« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2008, 09:59:12 AM »

We are at the absolute armpit of the sunspot cycle.  It dosen't get any worse than this.

Since with your new rig you will be QRP anywhere you go on HF, read up on QRP operating techniques.

On 40M, hang out on CW near 7.045 (+/- 5 KHz), you will find PLENTY of other QRP'ers around there.  You will also be able to work some DX there.

On 20M, any of the 14.025 to 14.070 will be good, and you WILL work some DX there if you are patient.

On 10M, there will be openings using E-Skip, meteor scatter, and transequitorial DX, but you have to listen alot and be patient. Late afternoon local time is your best bet.

That rig also has 60, 80, and 160, so unless you are restricted to what sized antenna you can get up you can also get on there---but if you are making do with some sort of comprimise antenna, understand that the 5W may not always accomplish what you would like.

Since you are exclusively QRP with that radio--every contact will count toward every sort of QRP award there is out there, and if you get into contesting, you are automatically in the QRP division.

I'm sure that others will hop in and give the same advice--but the best thing you can humanly do to have fun with that radio is your ANTENNA.  What can you get up?  Just a dipole?  How high can you get one up?  

Have room for an inverted vee?  Can you put up a 2 element inverted vee for 40M?  If you can, that 5 watts will sound like 25W on the other end.  

Have room for a 3 element wire inverted vee beam?  Your 5 watts on cw will be WAY louder than just a dipole would.

Use your antenna savvy to be your biggest asset!  

Those guys out there you see smiling in the ham magazines smiling as they accept their plaque for working 100 countries with 5 watts or less know something the rest of us don't!

Lucky for you that if all the bands are dead you still have 2M FM and 440 FM to chat on with that rig!

Welcome back sir, and have fun!

Hollar/email/post if we can help!



Bruce
K5TEN


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KC0KEC
Member

Posts: 12




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« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2008, 11:57:53 AM »

Thanks Bruce & Lindy,

   CW is out of the question right now... I just don't have the time to devote to learning the code.  I had passed 10WPM years ago, but forgot it all.  I do hope to re-learn it later.

    I think I have enough space to enhance my dipole to 80 meters.  I'll give that a shot.

  As for the QRP restrictions.  I'm QRP mostly because of budget and space.  Many people in the HFPACK group had good luck with a portable amp that they used only when necessary.  So, I'll start with the cheaper 817ND and if that isn't meeting my power goals, add the amp later to get it up to 50 watts.

Thanks for the advice!!
Dave
KC0KEC
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KE7MYL
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Posts: 13




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« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2008, 06:06:11 PM »

Dave:

With your reluctance to learn CW at this time, I recommend PSK-31 as a DX operating mode with your FT-817ND. This is a weak signal mode, but robust and I have worked quite a few QRP stations running 5 watts or less. One station at about 1,700 Miles away was running 0.5 watts (yes ½ watt)! So make or buy an interface for your radio (Tigertronics makes a great one) and get on 14.070.150 or 10.142.150 or 7.070.150
and have a blast with your new radio!
And also, welcome back! There are a LOT of new things to experience in amateur radio,
The digital modes are just one of them. I would love to see KC0KEC CQ/QRP in my waterfall soon….

73 de KE7MYL

Rick
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K5TEN
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Posts: 181


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« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2008, 04:46:01 PM »

You would be SHOCKED how quickly your cw skills would come back.




Bruce
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