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Author Topic: Setting up a new 2 meter base--equipment to buy?  (Read 1030 times)

Posts: 1

« on: February 06, 2010, 01:07:51 PM »

Got my Ham Lic and thinking on a FT 2900 mobile with Astron 20 amp power supply. Already have about 120 ft RG-8.  Antenna----how about a Centerfire 3 element at about 35 ft?  How does this sound for starters?  Should the 3 element do quite abit better for long range use? Than something like a 5/8 wave groundplane.  Rotation is no problem.  Comments welcome.

Posts: 21758

« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2010, 02:20:46 PM »

I'd skip the Centerfire beam.

I've looked at its design, and it's silly.  It does nothing to convert the unbalanced line (coax) to the balanced driven element (dipole),a and this is not a wise design based on 70 years of knowledge about how Yagis work.

The M2 4-el 2m yagi is a far better design and will run rings around that.

However, a good omnidirectional vertical, elevated as high above ground as possible and fed with the best transmission line possible, will usually prove a better choice overall for 2m FM operation unless you're in such a densely populated area that you must specifically null stations who would interfere with your intended communications.

"Height" makes might on VHF.  Every ten feet you go higher above ground can make a dramatic increase in your possible working radius for tropo.  I'd much rather have a good omni at sixty feet above ground than a beam at 25 feet, for FM work.

I don't know what kind of "RG8" cable you have, this varies all over the place.  A good choice is Times LMR400, which is an "RG8 type" but quite low loss.

A great omni vertical is the Hustler G7-144.  It's about 20' tall.  If you can't quite manage something that big, its little brother the G6-144 is also excellent, but about 2 dB less omni gain.

Using a G6 here on my tower (at 60' or so) and 25W on 2m FM I routinely make simplex contacts out to about 75-90 miles, and work repeaters that are 150 miles away.  Every day, all the time.  Easier than rotating a beam.

Good luck whichever way you go!

Posts: 2415

« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2010, 11:40:07 PM »

I agree with WIK's comments.
 Also, Before you buy, You might want to seriously consider getting a DUAL band radio, Like the Yaesu FT7900, Or even better the Yaesu 8800 that is actually two radios in one box, That can cross band repeat. (Such a radio also works great as a public safety "scanner" all in one.)

It is very important to use good low loss coax at VHF, And as WIK mentioned, TIMES LMR 400 is the coax of choice.  Do keep the coax length as short as possible, Just long enough to reach your antenna, That is mounted as high as possible.

I agree that the M2 antennas are some of the very best available.

If money is a problem, You might  consider "homebrewing" a directional antenna, The time tested "Quagi" is  a very simple easy to build antenna that works every time, At a very low cost:

For the vertical omni antenna, You could also check out Comet and Diamond for dual band antennas (Do be careful you dont "limit" yourself to only two meters. There is lots more up on UHF than many folks think)

My recent experience with some of the "Offbrand" or clone cheapo dual band VHF/UHF antennas has not been the best. Back to the old "you get what you pay for"

The Astron power supply is the brand all others are measured by. But you might  consider simply using a battery instead. Myself and many others run the entire hamshack from a single marine type deep cycle battery (About 50 bucks) Along with a 10 amp fully automatic type battery charger (about 40 bucks)   Works great, Eliminates surges, brown outs, And in the event of a commercial power failure, Your radio is ALREADY on battery power!
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