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Author Topic: My very last Ham station.  (Read 8611 times)
W4GRY
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Posts: 21




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« on: October 30, 2005, 09:16:28 AM »

Being retired now and expecting to live for another 10 to 20 years, I am considering putting together what will most likely be my very last Ham station. With cost not being a factor, I'd like recomendations on what radio transceiver, amplifier, tower, rotator, beam antenna I should buy? Also include wire antennas.
I would like to cover 10 to 160 meters. (THIS SHOULD BE FUN FOR MANY OF YOU.) To keep it simple, your replies should be in the below format.

Transceiver:

Amplifier:

Tower (mfg., type, height):

Rotator:

Beam antenna (10 to 20 meters, 40 meters):

Wire antenna: (type and height):

Other (of anything):

Thanks to all who participates in this undertaking.

Jerry Lasitter/W4GRY









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HA5RXZ
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Posts: 380




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« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2005, 09:55:17 AM »

Transceiver: Icom IC7800. They haven't got the bugs out of the Yaesu 9000 yet and the new TenTec rig has yet to appear. Icom appear to have put their heart and soul into the 7800 and it shows.

Backup Transceiver Elecraft K2.

Amplifier: None. Run the rig barefoot and do your bit towards decreasing HF pollution.

Tower (mfg., type, height): Depends on the height of your house. Aim to be about twenty feet above the highest point of the roof.

Rotator: Yaesu

Beam antenna (10 to 20 meters, 40 meters): StepIR antenna. Their new model covers 40m to 6m

Wire antenna: (type and height): Full size dipole for 160m as high as possible. Run decent twin feeder to this and it should also load up for 80m

Other (of anything):

1)Cushcraft R8 vertical in the back yard with LOTS of radials.

2) Comfy chair for those long evenings in the shack.

3) Decent key.

4) Fridge for the beer.

HA5RXZ
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20666




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« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2005, 11:59:20 AM »

I'd bring in the backhoe and crane and blow most of the budget on a big tower and big antennas.  The stuff "in the shack" can always be worked out, swapped, upgraded or whatever almost on a whim but the tower/antenna work is serious and the longer you wait, the less time you'll have to use it.

If I had just one tower to erect, I'd make it the 89 foot 5-section extendable tower from U.S. Tower.  It can retract to about 25 feet, which is a very handy feature, and is motorized so extending/retracting it takes only 2-3 minutes and the push of a button.  You never know exactly what height is best for any given propagation, and having control over antenna height is a very powerful tool.

If I had no budget concerns, I'd probably install the MonstIR beam from Fluid Motion/SteppIR.  It covers 40 through 10 meters all in one antenna that works well and isn't really that heavy considering what it does.

When installing the tower, I'd install a couple dozen heavy duty ground radials while the excavation is still in process, so the base of the tower is well grounded not only for lightning but for RF.  That way, I could use the tower as an effective shunt-fed vertical on 80 and maybe even 160 (top loading from the big beam at the top will lower the tower's resonant frequency quite a bit).

If the property is large enough, I'd run a couple terminated Beverage wire antennas just high enough to keep from them hurting anybody, 1000' long each in a few key compass directions to use for RXing on 80/160.  A few 1000' spools of insulated #12 stranded from Home Depot and some screw-in insulators are all that's needed, provided there are trees to use as wire anchors.  I build my own ununs to match those to RG6 coax, usually, but the same things are available commercially from DX Engineering, et al.

Use a good rotator and high quality cabling that you won't have to worry about for 20 years.

IMO, this $20K or so investment in tower and antennas (including excavation and concrete work) is the best investment anyone can make if they're serious about amateur radio, especially HF work.  Once installed, any radio you use will work better than the best rig in the world connected to lesser antennas.

Personally, today I'd probably buy an IC-7800 and matching Icom PW-1 amp for 160-6m, just because they do work well, look nice and will remain fairly "current" technically for several years.  But this pair is pretty expensive and I could have lots of fun, and work the same DX just as effectively, with lesser shack hardware.  The antennas are much more important.

WB2WIK/6
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KA5ROW
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« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2005, 08:30:58 AM »

Transceiver:  Kenwood TS 2000. Or Yeasu 847.  No one on the other end can tell the difference between that and the IC7800.

Amplifier:  A QRO or Commander Amp

Tower (mfg., type, height): Rohn 55G or Better 50 to 60 ft. But have it professional installed.
Rotator: Yeasu G-2800XA

Beam antenna (10 to 20 meters, 40 meters): Log Periodic Antenna that way you get the WARC bands.

Wire antenna: (type and height): Standard inverted V for 40, 80, 160.

Other (of anything): PolyPhaser grounding, If you stay in Mobile, Al  I would also look at a heavy duty crank up tower to lay down a day or two before a hurricane.
Buy all new, its your retirement.  I don't recommend  IC7800 or any thing in that class of radio Yes they look good and give you bragging rights but use the cost of the IC7800 for other little things you enjoy.
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K7VO
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Posts: 1010




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« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2005, 10:36:59 AM »

I've been thinking about your question for the last week.  If money was no object here is what I would go with:

Transceiver:  Ten Tec Orion II

The Orion arguably had the best receiver bar none.  The II is an updated version with improved firmware but the same basic receiver design.  I'd wait until the second or third production run for them to get the bugs out.  I like to operate CW now and again and I would miss the Ten Tec silky smooth QSK if I went Icom or Yaesu.

Amplifier: Tokyo Hy-Power HL-2.5KFX

Simply look at the product reviews here on eHam for the larger THP amps.  This one will give you the 1.5KW key down you'd want in an "ultimate" station and it is their absolutely latest design.  

Antenna:  Hy-Gain AV-18HT Hy-Tower

Yes, a vertical, albeit one that really is a 53' tall tower.  This is the king of verticals and it hears equally well (as opposed to poorly) in all directions.  Why this and not a tower, rotor, and beam?  I don't know about you but I don't want to have to climb a tower to have to maintain it.  The older you get the less you'll want to climb.

Oh, and no, I don't own any of this equipment.  I can't afford it.  I have been on the air at a friend's house who has the Hy-Tower up and let's just say I was impressed.  I also have used the original Orion and smaller THP amps.

73,
Caity
K7VO
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N9DG
Member

Posts: 320




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« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2005, 07:54:47 PM »

Transceiver:
Flex Radio SDR-1000, it is representative of how most radios will be built 20 years from now. And if you don't like the way it works then learn programming so you can make it do the things that you want it to do.

Amplifier:
Alpha 9500.

Tower (mfg., type, height):
Free standing :Rohn SSV, 140 ft, made from sections 5N and larger (or any of its near equivalent competitors).
Guyed: Rotating Rohn 65, 170 ft (or any of its near equivalent competitors).

Rotator:
Pro Sis Tel PST71D (Although you could build your own equivalent or bigger quite easily if you really wanted to).

Beam antenna (10 to 20 meters, 40 meters):
SteppIR MonstIR 4 Element yagis (A stack of these for the Rohn 65 tower case)

Wire antenna: (type and height):
Not sure but you could do a lot with some wire strung off of that 140 or 170 foot tower!!

Other (of anything):
Nice quiet high horsepower PC with 2 or more 17 inch or larger LCD monitors for the SDR-1000 and the other ham radio software you will be running.  And use BIG coax, it's worth it!!
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WS7X
Member

Posts: 25




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« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2005, 10:37:02 PM »

60 to 100' heavy duty tower
RLP antenna such as http://www.antennaproducts.com/lph1photo.htm.  Nothing like working most of the bands without needing a tuner.  I"d use wire for the top bands. Maybe a rhombic or full size loop assuming you have the acreage. Course you'd probably want a tuner for the wire antennas.  So I'd get a full legal limit autotuner.  Not many to choose from and pricy but hey these are worth it.

Radio of your choice. I don't care for the 10K models no matter how much money I have to spend.  They're just not worth it.  Rather I'd "settle" for the 2 to 3K price range rigs such as the FT 1000s,  Ten Tec, or similiar with their appropriate legal limit amps.  Maybe one of each.  Basically, that's it.

Enjoy.
Noel
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I1ODP
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Posts: 1




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« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2005, 02:33:28 AM »

I would like all my radio station computer controlled

TRX: Flex-Radio SDR 1000 bundled with Dell Optiplex PC and Delta 44 Sound Card

Or IC 7800; (IC 756 Pro III)

Linear: Icom PW1 (tracks TRX; no tune)

Towers: #2
First is for 2 Stacked MonstIr (4O-6 meters) 4 elements Fluidmotion Antennas
Second is for a 2 element Optibeam 80 meters Yagi
Other Antennas: Beverages for receiving and Rhombics

TRX-Manager CAT Software
EA4TX Antenna Rotator system
Studio Condenser Microphone
Audio Processing:Preamplifier,Compressor,Noise Gate, Feedback destroyer,Parametric Equalizer

73's
Paul, i1odp
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K4GPS
Member

Posts: 23




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« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2006, 10:00:27 AM »

I got to agree with Steve. I am looking to build a house in the next month or two and the first thing that I thought of was shack placement for 2 reasons grounding, towers, antennas and feedline conduits. I could have been planning on ordering new rigs and such with the sale of my previous home but the antenna and ground I think will give me more bang for my buck with old radios. The TriEx 80-90ft tower was exactly what I also had in mind.

Rich
K4GPS
Jupiter FL and Rock Hill SC
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HB9DDS
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Posts: 13


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« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2008, 02:40:37 AM »

Transceiver:
- TS-2000
- TS-480
- Elecraft K3
- Drake C-Line

Amplifier:
- ACOM 200A
- ACOM 1000

Tower (mfg., type, height):
Huh

Rotator:
Huh

Beam antenna (10 to 20 meters, 40 meters):
- OptibeamOB12-6 (12 Element, 6 Band)
- Tennadyne T10 (without 40M) + Optibeam OP2-40 (2 ele 40M) + OB2-80+ (2 ele 80M)

Wire antenna: (type and height):
- Dipol for 160/80/40 approx 50ft up

Other (of anything):
Huh


Daniel, HB9DDS
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--
73 de Daniel, HB9DDS
KB0IXM
Member

Posts: 1




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« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2013, 02:42:48 PM »

Just following up on this topic I ran accross.  What did you end up putting up?
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SWL2002
Member

Posts: 374




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« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2013, 03:40:36 AM »

WB2WIK's suggestion is the only one that made any sense.  The rest of the suggestions made by others are questionable and/or just plain stupid.  

The suggestions to get a Flex SDR-1000 are just plain ridiculous, looking back on it now.  Hope he did not follow that advice!  Just a few years later after the SDR-1000 hit the market, it is no longer supported by Flex in its software.  Had he taken this advice, it certainly would not be the last transceiver he would have to buy.  This is a good lesson about the longevity of PC based SDR transceivers.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2013, 04:42:14 AM by SWL2002 » Logged
W8GP
Member

Posts: 224




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« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2013, 06:58:00 AM »

I vote with the antenna camp; rigs come and go but a worthy antenna system will be a lifetime investment. I can't make a recommendation because I don't know your operating habits but spend as much as you can,and then a little bit more. The long term regret of buying an inferior product will far out-weigh the short term regret of spending too much money.
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AG6WT
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Posts: 477




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« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2013, 07:34:45 AM »

For what it's worth, I just looked at the original poster's (W4GRY) qrz page, last edited a couple of months ago, and it says he's disabled and lives in a retirement community that forbids outdoor antennas.  Embarrassed

Let's hope Jerry is able to get out an operate in a park or has some close ham friends that will invite him over to operate at their QTH's.
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W0BTU
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Posts: 1852


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« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2013, 03:10:15 PM »

For what it's worth, I just looked at the original poster's (W4GRY) qrz page, last edited a couple of months ago, and it says he's disabled and lives in a retirement community that forbids outdoor antennas.  Embarrassed

Maybe a STL would work in his yard. Effective and easily disguised. http://www.w0btu.com/magnetic_loops.html
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