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   Home   Help Search  
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Author Topic: HF or VHF, that is the question  (Read 9726 times)

Posts: 121

« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2011, 06:52:43 AM »

Wow, you are really overthinking this.  Figure out how much money you can spend, then go shopping.  You can find a working HF transceiver for around $300.00 or less, and a VHF mobile from $20.00 to $75.00.  I just sold a 100% working IC-735 for $250.00 shipped.  Just purchased a beautiful FT-450 used for $450.00.  Stay away from E-bay in my opinion. 
As far as antennas, just home brew some.  Bits of wire and some SO-239's and you will be in business. 
Other good choice for around $250.00 as far as HF is concerned are the Kenwood TS-520 hybrids. 
Non PL VHF radios are ultra cheap, such as FT-227 (2 meter). I've got 3 of them and only have $20.00 in all of them combined.  Just go for it.  good luck and cheers.

Posts: 164

« Reply #16 on: April 22, 2011, 11:41:40 AM »

Stay away from E-bay in my opinion. 

In the past, I would have accused you of being overly cautious. However, at least in the ham gear category, I've had some recent bad luck.

My first bum purchase was a non-working (contrary to what the listing said) Palomar Noise Bridge.

My latest was a Kenwood TR-7950 w/tone board for $128.00, including shipping. Not bad, until you consider that:

a.) There was no tone board in it,
b.) The guy didn't have any idea what a tone board was for.

So, to get it working like I want it, it will cost me as much or more as a new radio. I've ordered the tone board from Piexx. I have to see if feeBay is doing anything about retaliatory negative feedbacks, and I might leave him a detailed negative, although I normally don't bother.

If the original poster does come into a few bucks, I would recommend going to a hamfest ACCOMPANIED BY AN EXPERIENCED HAM.

-- Tom

Posts: 89

« Reply #17 on: April 27, 2011, 06:32:02 AM »

Its interesting that when VHF is mentioned many think "FM and Repeaters". 6M SSB and CW some how seems to fall off the table. That band and mode can be addressed inexpensively with an MFJ 9406.

You'll find many will encourage you to HF and for valid reasons. Its most popular and can be entered with modest antennas and equipment. I find "FM and Repeaters" really not my thing at all, but thats personal.

6M might be esoteric for someone new to the game, but I think its worthy of consideration. There might be some local chatter in your area. The band is often "quiet" until it opens up, and that can happen from one moment to the next. If this band "grabs" you at all you'll want to get a beam eventually tho. A vertical or simple dipole is a little limiting, but a bad place to start.

One of the things you could do is buy or borrow a SW receiver and listen around for a bit. There's nothing like first hand experience. Go from band to band on HF and see if any of the segments work for you. If you have something like that in your inventory and like to build, Kanga offers up a nice 6M converter kit.

Have fun...


Posts: 51

« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2011, 10:29:32 AM »

Designing and building a decent receiver is quite challenging.  Maybe a superregen or a crystal set (hey, that's where I started as a youngster!).  Small building blocks with some success are more rewarding and encouraging than tackling major projects that never succeed.

Building an HF transmitter is easier, many of us old timers started out that way. Mine came out of the 1964 ARRL Handbook.    Couple that with an older, used communications receiver and you can be on the air.   That way you can get your feet wet and gain some encouragement and direction. 

A lot of the HF vs. VHF depends on where you live.   If you live in a remote rural valley, VHF isn't going to be cheap or very rewarding without spending big dollars on equipment and antennas.    OTOH, if you live in a major metropolitan area, then VHF has more potential.


Posts: 1003

« Reply #19 on: May 05, 2011, 04:15:23 PM »

KB1PDK - your grand opportunity is coming up - Field Day, the last weekend in June. check on for club field day locations near you, talk to local hams, find out about clubs, used gear, and listen and learn. If you still want to build, there are some cool kits out for HF CW (the roots of the hobby for me) - check out and You are in CT - VHF would be fun, CW will be fun - but get a local 'elmer' and find a local club - on Field Day you'll be able to get a feel for what active hamming is like. Used gear can be a good deal, but stay away from eBay. You may find something you can use in the classified's right here on, but wait until you've got some local help after Field Day. As a newbie, with used gear, buy it locally, and see/hear it working before you part with cash!
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