>RE: My new Shack Reply
by KE7FCK on November 29, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
No, I failed my code test. I have 3 options right now. I could just listen and copy code for practice, which I will do. I could continue to practice my code off-air and re-take my code test, which I will do. Or I could wait for the code requirement to be dropped, which I would rather not do. I wouldlike to acquire a code certification before they are no longer available.<
::Good attitude! Congrats on that, and you won't be sorry. It could be quite a while before the code requirement is actually dropped -- nobody knows.
>My garage is, like most others, a multipurpose location. A higher bench/desk will allow me to store things underneath. The least used space in the garage is the ceiling, so the more I can go vertical, the better. I've even considered building a loft in that corner, with my reloading bench on the bottom level and ham gear on the top. The more I think about that idea, the more I like it. In any case, a desk is only part of the solution, a stool is the other.<
::Got it. But as somebody who's been an active ham for 40 years and likes (and uses) CW as well as other modes, believe me, you won't want to work CW while sitting on a stool. You need a very comfortable chair with a desk at the correct height so your elbows will be bent about 90 degrees while operating, and the key paddle set back from the front edge of the desk at least the length of your forearm, possibly a bit more than that, so your entire forearm from elbow to fingertips rests comfortably on the desktop. If you don't sit like this, CW is not just a chore, it's a nightmare: Tiring, and eventually painful.
>Isn't the Vibrokeyer only a paddle? If so, to use it, you'll need a keyer as well since the TS-430S hasn't a built-in one.
Rookie mistake. Yeah, it's a paddle. I guess it's a happy accident, since I think I can tune an electronic keyer to slower than I could a Vibrokeyer. I'm partial to the history, technology and oddity of the Vibroplexes, so I know I will slowly aquire several.<
::With a paddle, you need an electronic keyer and the speed (and other) adjustments are in that. A "bug" (Vibroplex semi-automatic key) has its own adjustments for speed, etc, but only makes "dits" automatically -- you still make the "dahs" manually. Without a great deal of practice (typically years), almost nobody is good with a bug, and the number of CW ops who actually send well with bugs are a very, very small number: Maybe 1%, probably less than that. It's a great nostalgic trip, no doubt, and I know how to use a bug, but much prefer a paddle and keyer. It's easier, faster, cleaner, requires much less adjustment, and I can send faster with it. Try everything, though! It's a hobby.
>Your station as described won't draw anything even close to 20 Amps, unless you're including a drill press or other tools. The TS-430S with its power supply consumes less than 3A from a 120Vac line, when running full power.
The spec sheet says at full power out the unit will draw between 18 and 20 amps. The matching power supply is rated for 20 amps. I'll prepare for 20 amps. Better to have it and not need it rather than....the other.<
::You are misinterpreting the load current of the rig and the current available from the power supply (20 Amps DC at 13.8 Volts) as the current you need from your wall outlet (which is 120Vac, probably 15 Amps max per standard household circuit wiring). They aren't the same, or even close. The AC CURRENT DRAWN from the 120V AC line by your "20 Amp" power supply absolutely, positively HAS to be less than 4 Amps. Probably less than 3 Amps. 3 Amps at 120V = 360 Watts. 20 Amps at 13.8 V = 276 Watts. Your "typical" or average AC line current demand should be about 2-3 Amps. You don't need a 20A circuit for that.
>Antennas are much more important than station equipment or logistics, I'd put all my effort into those. Antennas, operator and propagation are responsible for most all HF work, and the "equipment" doesn't have a lot to do with it.
The more I read on existing antenna designs and experiments, the more I want to. I'm very glad the AT-250 has 4 antenna outs. I will use them all. The Moxon, the inverted V, and the Rhomoid are three that I will likely try out. Fractal versions of them will likely also be built.<
::Experimentation is wonderful and always encouraged. But that's science, and making contacts is usually (for most of us, anyway) the fun part of the hobby. If you want to get on the air and make contacts, the easiest and usually best way to do that is by installing known, proven antennas that work up as high as possible above ground, and using them. I always recommend to new hams: Get 1000 - 2000 QSOs (contacts) under your belt, decide what you like to do, and then start experimenting with antennas as a hobby within the hobby. But make contacts first. And those are easier to make, faster, with known and proven antennas rather than experiments.
>I guess my next most important question it, for antenna experimentation, what are the 3 or 4 keey components I need?<
::I'd recommend: A portable SWR meter; an MFJ-259B or 269 antenna analyzer; couple of dozen molded or ceramic in-line insulators; couple of commercially built 1:1 legal-limit rated current baluns; 1000' (or more) spool of 3/16" dacron rope; 5000' spool of #12 ga jacketed (vinyl insulated) stranded antenna wire; a few 40-50' telescoping masts; a few brass or stainless steel pulleys; few hundred feet of 450 Ohm ladder line; few hundred feet of RG8X coaxial cables with connectors; maybe a 4:1 current balun for the back of the tuner, if it hasn't one built-in; copy of the ARRL Antenna Book; maybe couple other antenna handbooks (shopping the ARRL.org website bookstore isn't a bad place to go); couple dozen guying spikes; an 8' copperclad ground rod (or two or three); roll of #6 ga (minimum) ground wire; couple in-line coaxial lightning arrestors; standard hand tools; and a sturdy, tall stepladder (10' - 12' is great and way better than the standard household 5' - 6' job) and a friend on hand to help! Those things make the bare essence of a beginning antenna experiment for HF, and other than the Antenna Analyzer and the stepladder, all of it is very cheap. You might be able to find an Analyzer used, or borrow one from a friend in lieu of purchasing one, and you might already have a suitable ladder.
::I'd stick more with "textbook" antennas as opposed to "internet posted" antenna designs because the textbook designs have been through at least some degree of peer review and are more likely to actually work. A lot of stuff on the web is nonsense. L.B. Cebik's website http://www.cebik.com
is not nonsense, it's a lot of good stuff; however, a lot of what Cebik has published is the theory behind designing antennas, more than practical information on actually building antennas. An easier approach for beginners, usually, is to follow step-by-step instructions that leave no questions unanswered.