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Author Topic: FT-817ND Antenna recommendations  (Read 20331 times)
SASHARP65
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« on: July 02, 2010, 01:22:08 PM »

Hi,

I'm am about to get my first radio and I am going to get the FT-817ND for mobility, backpacking and something that I could use at home as well.

Can you give me some recommendations for antenna’s for backpacking.

Also an antenna for home use?

I'm looking to get the best bang for my buck, as many bands as possible.

Oh, and I am a newbie.

I know you can spend a lot of $$$ on your rigs and set up, but I'm looking to get the radio and antenna's for under $1000.

Thanks.

Scooter

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K0BG
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« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2010, 02:27:02 PM »

You can make contacts with almost any antenna, but the bigger the better. In your case, there are several small antennas to choose from, not the least of which is the Buddy Pole system. Just remember, you're already handicapped with reduced power, so an abbreviated antenna just adds a level of insult. If you're into QRP, you'll probably enjoy the setup. If not, well....

If your intent is to do mobile, then I suspect you'd be better off with the FT-857D, the 100 watt version. It all depends on your operating style, and expectations.
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WB6BYU
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« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2010, 04:15:14 PM »

I use a set of HF wire dipoles for backpacking.  I have about 30' of small RG-174 coax cable
with a dipole center insulator on one end.  Each time I set up I decide which band(s) I want
to operate and attach the corresponding wires to the insulator, then string it in a tree or
other convenient support.  I tuned the wires up once in a local park about 30 years ago
and have been using them ever since without a tuner.  The full length wires have a wider
SWR bandwidth and lower losses than the shortened commercial antennas and cost
much less.

Cost depends on how cheep you can find suitable wire in a local electronics or electrical
surplus store.  I've gotten several hundred feet of suitable wire (#22 stranded, insulated
hookup wire) for a few dollars, though it is handy if you can make each band out of a
different color of wire to help keep them straight.  The coax is available from the Wireman
for $20 or so for 100', though you won't want to use that much as the losses are fairly
high.  But for HF the losses in 30' are reasonable, and it allows you to get your antenna
higher in the air where it will work better.

If you use the front panel BNC connector I understand it reduces the current draw of
the rig, which is a good thing.
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SASHARP65
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« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2010, 07:25:52 PM »

Thanks for the replies so far.  Being a newbie I have a lot to learn and have bought the ARRL Ham Radio License Manual,  ARRL Handbook for Radio Communications, The ARRL Antenna Book.

I am looking for QRP and total Go-Bag self sufficiency with Solar Cells, batteries, etc.

Scooter
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AF6WI
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« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2010, 12:38:09 PM »

Diana Eng has many videos on portable operating. Here's one for an end-fed half-wavelength antenna:
http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2010/03/make_a_multiband_end_fed_half_wavel.html
but it requires some wrapping and soldering.

How to set up a portable HF station while hiking:
http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2009/10/how_to_set_up_an_hf_portable_radio.html

More videos here:
http://blog.makezine.com/archive/author/diana_eng/
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K0BG
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« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2010, 04:29:27 PM »

End fed antennas just aren't the stuff of champions, especially so when operating QRP. For the most part, the feed line acts more like the antenna, than the antenna does.

After all, the RF has to flow back to the source in some fashion. Since there isn't any ground plane, or counterbalancing element, the only return is via common mode on the outside of the coax feed line.

Do they work? Anything will work, even a dummy load, under the right conditions. But the question remains, why limit yourself to QRPp, when there are better ways?
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SASHARP65
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« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2010, 05:11:53 PM »

K0BG

I'm going QRP for camping, hiking, EOW, SHTF, scenarios where the only power will be what I can carry.  More or less some sort of small Gel Cell and Solar Panel.

So I'm looking for that kind of mobile or I guess I should say portable antenna setup.

I'll also use it at home to learn on and so I'd like to set some sort of better antenna system up there.  Some day with more money I'm sure I'll get a better base station rig, but for now I'm going QRP.

Thanks AF6WI I'll check them out.

Scooter
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WB6BYU
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« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2010, 08:53:18 PM »

You'll find other discussion about similar things down in the QRP forum here on eHam.
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KH6AQ
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« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2010, 08:20:35 AM »

With my FT-817 I use an LDG Z817 autotuner. I use it to tune two 30' wires on 40-10 meters. I like almost instant band changes. Otherwise a tuned dipole for each band is what I would use for backpacking or use at home.

I have used the FT-817 mobile (CW mode) and with a short hamstick-type antenna worked many stations on 20 meters. This was during excellent conditions and it was like shooting fish in a barrel. During the usual poor conditions we have had the past few years mobile QSOs are few and far between.

The FT-817 with Z817 autotuner was the only rig at the N6VW field day this year. It worked quite well.
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SASHARP65
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« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2010, 02:28:48 PM »

Thanks all.

Now I'm second questioning my radio choice.  Do you need to get W4RT's Filter options and DSP noise reduction to make this a usable radio?

Scooter
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KH6AQ
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« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2010, 03:06:21 PM »

Unless you work CW you do not need additional filters on the FT-817. The DSP noise reduction would be nice but since you are running QRP it's the station on the other end who can benefit from receiver enhancements.

On HF most stations you work will be running 100 watts. At 5 watts you'll be 2 S-units weaker at his radio than he is at your radio. To make an easy contact call the strong stations. QRP, especially on SSB and especially with HF propagation being rather poor for the next couple of years, can be a challenge. Some would call it frustrating. Run CW or PSK-31 and it's not so bad.

You could get the FT-817 and when at home run an amp. Tokyo Hy-Power makes a companion amp (the HL-45B) that runs 45 watts. Array solutions sells the HL-45B for $399. HRO sells the FT-817ND for $579. The HL-45B requires 13.6 volts at 8.5 amps and the FT-817 requires 2 amps. An AC-DC power supply such as the Astron RS-20A or RS-12A (both $99 at HRO) will do the job. Now you've got a small portable all-mode all band rig that runs 5 watts in the field, 45 watts at home, and runs on batteries or AC power for a total of $1080.

Morse Express sells the FT-817 "peg leg" accessory for $20.

I have an FT-857 (with CW filter) in the car and an FT-817 (with CW filter) for portable use. Now you've got me thinking about buying an HL-45B amp.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2010, 03:48:31 PM by DAVE CUTHBERT » Logged
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