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Author Topic: Novice Bands - 40 & 15  (Read 920 times)
KG4ZTF
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Posts: 5




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« on: May 14, 2003, 10:09:03 AM »

I recently passed the tests for General and am now working on improving my code copying skills beyond the 5-7wpm range.  I haven't purchased any gear yet - I've been taking my time researching the (maybe too many) options out there.  My current thought is to get into the Novice sub-bands with a monobander, straight key, and dipole - keeping it really simple and having something that can be set up and taken down with relative ease and is also portable - maximum learning for minimal investment.  If I go this route, which band would be the better choice to get started with, 40m or 15m?
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KC0ODY
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Posts: 78




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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2003, 11:21:17 AM »

I have found that 15 meters has been really quiet lately. This is one of the higher bands that tends be affected by lowering of sunspot numbers, which is where we are headed in the 11 year sunspot cycle. I have not heard much activity on 15 when I've checked in, but there is a lot more down on 40. Forty meters Novice band has been quite busy and that is where I tend to be when I'm calling CQ. Let me know if you would like to set up a sked; I'm still improving my speed as well, and need all the practice I can get!

Good luck- Jackie
kc0ody AT arrl DOT net
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KG4ZTF
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« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2003, 09:38:34 AM »

Thanks for the tip on 40/15, perhaps when I get things in order and get on the air we can set up a sked.  What kind of setup do you have?  Would you recommend the route I mentioned or something different to get started?
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KC0ODY
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Posts: 78




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« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2003, 03:06:40 PM »

I think your initial wishes for a shack and antenna set up sound great to me! I personally liked building my own dipole for 17 meters, and doing some hands-on learning always makes things stick with me better. Nothing wrong with a dipole- tons of hams use 'em, and they are cheap, easy and effective.

My setup is pretty humble right now, but I'm really new to amateur radio, so I suspect I may pick up a "few" more things for my shack in the future. Right now I am limited for space and for antenna styles- landlord of my property says, no beams on the roof, but she let me put up a small Comet GP-3 for my VHF/UHF rig. I also have a borrowed Hy-Gain 4 band vertical antenna with 12 radials of varying length. I have a new 5-BTV vertical, but I haven't put it together yet (I'm going to try to this weekend, last weekend was a total wash-out and I have to do this outside). I made a dipole for 17 meters, which is fast becoming a new favorite band. My transceiver is the humble, yet wonderful IC-718 HF rig. I am so glad I bought it, but part of me kinda wishes I also had an all-band, all-mode rig that includes VHF/UHF, because I'm also interested in weak signal work on the higher bands.

The very next thing I'm gonna buy is a CW filter. Next thing I want to make, a horizontal loop-type antenna ("plumber's dream") for 6 and/or 2 meter weak signal work (once I get a rig for that purpose).

Enjoy! Hope to work you soon...

Jackie
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KF4HEY
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Posts: 172




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« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2003, 12:51:09 PM »

Hello Jeff,

Welcome to the HF bands.  I assume you are comtemplating setting up an HF station.  If so I would not go with a monobander as it will not give you room for growth in the hobby.  Sooner or later you will want to move onto other bands and modes.  If you are interested in a monobander then you will be essentially bound to QRP.  Check out the offerings from: Small Wonder Labs at: http://www.smallwonderlabs.com/.

My best suggestion is that you start with a modest multiband HF rig such as the Ten-Tec Jupiter or the Kenwood TS-570.  These can be had on the used market for <$1000 and some come with a built in antenna tuner.  If not I suggest you get a tuner such as the MFJ941E.  You will also need to get a key or bug.  Most of the necessary used gear can be found here in the Classified Ad section of eHam.net.  For antennas and other station stuff, check out all the literature on the subjects at: http://www.arrl.org/

Good luck and I will look for you the bands.

73,
Mike KF4HEY
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KC8TVW
Member

Posts: 15




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« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2003, 11:23:55 PM »

Jeff,

I also would recommend a multiband rig. Bands change it seems almost on a daily basis. I also have the IC-718. It has been a great starter rig (got it abt a year ago). My understanding is that the lower bands (40 & 80m) are less effected by the sunspot cycle than the upper ones. I personally like having the option of multiple bands.

If you would like to set up a CW QSO, please feel free to email me. As long as it is not too fast, I will send at whatever speed you are sending.

Enjoy.

Steve - KC8TVW
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KG9HV
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Posts: 38




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« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2003, 01:35:08 AM »

   I started out with a straight key, FT-101EE, wire
dipole fed with ladder line to a 949E tuner. I could
tune any band I wanted and it worked well. I remember
having most of my fun on 40M as we were at the bottom
of the solar cycle then (1994). But 40M isn't really
effected by SFI, so it was fun every night. There is
still signals on 15M, but you have to catch them when
the band is up. The past two weeks have been terrible
for the upper bands with SFI below 100 and CME's playing havoc with the geomagnetic indices. A good
reasonably priced key is the Nye Viking Speed-X. I
have the 310-003 model and it is a sweet key to use.
(and alot cheaper than some of my paddles,hihi) I don't recommend bugs to new ops. They take alot of
skill and experience to make them sound good.
Let me know when your going to be on the air and
I'll give you a call.

John KG9HV
Fists #1750      kg9hv AT arrl DOT net
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N9NEO
Member

Posts: 93




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« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2003, 07:56:43 PM »

SORRY FOLKS, TOME FOLLOWS>

Sounds like a lot of Good advice.  I wonder how Jackie is liking that 5BTV.

I just got on bands in March.  Was Tek+ for many years, but got laid off a week after got ticket and couldn't afford antenna, yada, yada, yada - Never got around to it. While I had HQ170 rcvr, and HT-32 xmtr, both for many years (20+),  I just let them collect dust.  

I was at a garage sale last year and bought old Knight T150 and a Hallicrafters SX-100 for $35.  That was what got me on air.  Bought a 5BTV antenna, and built a straight key, and then a paddle and keyer.  Actually more money for antenna than everything else combined.  Ended up giving SX-100 away to co-workers kid, and promised him the T-150 if he got his ticket.  Spent about 2 weeks of evenings getting the T-150 to run.  Wrong coils, solder shorts, output tubes...

Anyway, a vert is nice for multiband operation, but dipole for 75m AM only cost me about 30 bucks including coax.   I especially like the 3.675 - 3.725 band for cw.

Had a TS-520SE for about a month - $160 Ebay.  Plugged it in and made one ssb qso.  Didn't like ssb, and never tried it on cw.  Ok, so I like the old boatanchors best and I don't care to much for the rice. Heheh, Guess what kinda bike I ride!

So I guess point is it's really a personel choice.  If you like fiddling around with radios and maybe have a knack for the electronics thing then maybe you go in one direction.  If you think you may just prefer the plug and play approach, then there are reasonable priced rigs that will get you there, TS-520 is one good choice of many.  With General ticket more options for you.  Many of us guys I think like to work on the old stuff just as much as qso with it.  


Good luck and let us all know what you decide on.  

See you in the ether.

73
Bob
   
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KF0W
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Posts: 22


WWW

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« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2003, 01:11:24 AM »

Hi Jackie.  I just passed my general and morse code and I am looking for some practice.  I have seen you on this topic and your gracious offer to set up skeds for baby hams (like me) to practice CW.  My speed is
s-l-o-w and I am just starting to get going.  Actually, my iambic paddle just came in and I think I can send a lot faster than I can copy, which is probably going to get me in trouble, hi hi.
If you are interested, give me some idea of when and where (on the bands) you hang out and I'll try to listen for you.
Sidney
KC0OSB
Colorado Springs, Co
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KC0ODY
Member

Posts: 78




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« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2003, 02:29:21 PM »

Hey Sidney,

Congrats on your upgrade! I am currently off the air from my home locale right at the moment (in preparation for my upcoming move next month). However, I will soon have a door card for my club's site, W0DCA in West St. Paul, MN. We are an ARES group and we just got set up in a brand new building, but we need IDs that also act as entry cards. Since it's a government building we are in (and since the government can take awhile to get things rolling) I'm still waiting for my ID card to be produced. Then I'll have 24/7 access to the shack.

I will drop a note once I'm on the air on HF again. I would be glad to have a QSO with you. I understand what you mean about sending faster than you can receive- I do the same thing and constantly have to remind myself to slow down... Smiley

GL and 73!

Jackie
p.s. I had to sell the 5BTV... will be moving to an apartment and they won't allow a tall antenna, so I'm currently in the market for some sort of "stealth" HF antenna that I can attach to my balcony railing...
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KF0W
Member

Posts: 22


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« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2003, 08:32:29 PM »

Hi Jackie.  I hope this gets to you.  I did not have your direct email address on your message to me, so I don't know if you are going to receive it.

Tnx for reply.  I'll be looking forward to having that QSO with you soon.
On the antenna question, if you have a wooden (or other non-metallic) balcony rail, you may be able to just string a 20 m dipole right on the rail and come in with ladder line. I just did that at my home in Colorado Springs, and it really gets out.  Worked Norfolk Island (between New Zealand and Australia) on voice the other night, right after a nice long talk with someone in Victoria BC.

I am also joining FISTS so I will probably have a lot of CW contacts in the upcoming months.

Hope to CW with you soon.

Feel free to pass on your direct email if you wish. I won't give it out to anyone.

Sidney
KC0OSB
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