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Author Topic: Parent and Budget Restrictions...HELP!  (Read 13648 times)
ONAIR
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« Reply #15 on: August 30, 2011, 08:52:14 PM »

Dipoles, dipoles, dipoles!!  With that kind of real estate and some wire, you can really have a ball.
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KE7FD
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« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2011, 07:21:09 PM »

I may be revealing my age with this suggestion about ground rods but here's an old timers trick taught to me.

Using a copper pipe, affix a garden hose to one end of it, position it where you want the ground to be then turn the water on. You'll find that it'll "drill" its way to 8 feet, 10 feet or more, through clay and small rocks all in a few mins.  You can get the pipe at any hardware store and depending on the composition of the soil, only a few mins of just guiding the pipe into it's new home.  One fellow soldered three 8ft pipes together before hitting solid rock around 20 feet down.  He cut the pipe off, soldered his braid to the end and that was that.  You could do several of these, tie them together using wide braid.  Better to do this a bit below surface level then cover them over.  The technique has been handed down for many generations, rumored to have been how the Lighthouse of Alexandria was grounded.;-)

Glen - KE7FD
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KE7FD
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« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2011, 07:41:39 PM »

Sorry, I was trying to reply to another thread that dealt with ground rods, but maybe my "water drilling" technique will help you in other ways than the antenna delemma.

You've been given some very good ideas so far in these responses.  I too got started in high school with my novice license and can relate to your concerns.  Realize this:  Many of the ideas provided here just in this thread will work for you and there are many, many more ideas elsewhere, but all you need to do is to pick just one to get on the air.  Then sometime later if you want, try another.  I will say this, from the earliest days my elmer would say, "Just use a tuner".  I never did then, but in recent years I have more than one sitting around now.

If you think you would be able to get by with oen or two bands, get a pair of ham sticks, slap them together as dipoles and stick them in the air.  A "real" antenna is best though if you can hand the wire.  If you can hang some "nested" dipoles (doublets) for multiple bands, then you're doing what 90% of us "vacuum tube" hams did for many years.  With the QRP rig you have, you could build a simple tuner with stiff from Radio Shack (hmmm, maybe) or junk parts. 

You're closer than you think to getting on the air.

GL,
Glen
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KC2VDM
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Posts: 145




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« Reply #18 on: September 12, 2011, 08:12:23 PM »

Hey man i know how ya feel. My mom hates the idea of anything being hung outside. Having my dad on the side helped that argument a bit though. (:
 
On Finance, you have a lot more money than me! I dreamed about a IC-718, but ended up with an ft-101zd. Not a bad radio, but lacks some newer features.

Anyway, something I read in a QRP (low power) book, try attaching a wire to your raingutters! use plastic pieces to section off different pieces of gutter, and your all set. I wouldn't take it to 100 watts, but it could probably handle 50 watts. And, i hate to say it, but invest or build a tuner. While yes, they cheat your radio, they still work alright. And don't operate in the rain like that, bad things are sure to happen.

Good luck with the folks, Maybe we'll have a QSO some day. Be different to hear someone my own age on the bands.

-Alex Costanzo
-Highschool Freshman
-KC2VDM
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KE7FD
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« Reply #19 on: September 13, 2011, 08:51:11 AM »

OK, here's a well reviewed long wire tuner that should work for your situation:

http://qrpkits.com/sltplus.html

If you're using 130 feet of end-fed wire, this little unit ought to do the trick.

KE7FD
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N4KZ
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Posts: 599




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« Reply #20 on: September 13, 2011, 09:53:31 AM »

I agree that an inexpensive external tuner would open up some options for wire antennas, including your existing end-fed long wire. However, don't be quick to dismiss a ground-mounted vertical because of the radials and lawn mower issues. I have used ground-mounted verticals for years and had zero lawn mower issues because I used small gauge wire for the radials.

I didn't even bury my radials. I wanted until the fall after the grass mowing season was finished for the year and laid down about 50 radials. I used lawn staples to keep them in place and by spring they had self-buried and could not be seen. Over the next several years, I did run over two of the radials but since the wire was small -- about 22 gauge -- there was no damage to the mower.

In the meantime, the vertical made an outstanding antenna at minimal cost.

73, Dave, N4KZ
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ONAIR
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« Reply #21 on: September 13, 2011, 08:06:19 PM »

   Hams should never let parents or wives interfere with their communications!  Smiley
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KF7LCE
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Posts: 24




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« Reply #22 on: September 14, 2011, 07:32:54 PM »

I'm a high school sophomore who's just putting up his first HF antenna; I know exactly where you're coming from. Anyway, you will need a tuner if you're going to use a long wire antenna; if you have that much room, you might as well turn that 100-odd feet of wire into a G5RV all band dipole as well. Also, have you considered using magnet wire? The stuff is dirt cheap, dang near invisible, and will work just fine for the power you will be running. Maybe you could convince your parents to put that up if it was a bit of a compromise 'stealth' antenna; worked for me at least.

Also, if you're getting a tuner, you may want to take a look at this antenna. Lacking a tuner, I never built the transmit part of it and just use it as a long wire for shortwave listening, but its small size make it very interesting.
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KC9TNH
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Posts: 304




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« Reply #23 on: September 15, 2011, 07:06:53 AM »

Welcome to Ham Radio!

Your IC-718 is a solid rig that will give you lots of service. Head for HF, keep your eye on the prize. (Oh, to have 300 feet!)

When we bought our house the previous owner had (to her) an "ugly" old tower on the peak of the roof from his previous vertical. That came down when the house got re-roofed. Frankly, the dimensions of the lot (and not crossing the Romulan Neutral Zone of getting close to overhead power) really lent itself to a wire antenna. An off-center-fed dipole (you're smart, do the research) with a short length of readily accessible feedline might be just the ticket. A wire antenna is often out of sight/out of mind very quickly. People don't usually look up anyway. Unless she knows I'm out checking things after an ice-storm she's forgotten it's there.

A wire-based antenna (135' long or so, dipole, OCF-dipole, whatever) is easily doable for not much money and will get that IC-718 out of the shack and into the world. Couple of things and, in the service, we'd call these the long pole in the tent perhaps for you.

Based on your research and whatever mentoring you can garner locally (and you should) you'll likely want to get a balun of some kind - the antenna design will tell you - and get a good one. The other thing is a decent reputable tuner capable of handling your full limit of power (e.g., LDG AT-100 Pro) to take care of making your Icom see a match. (Remember, tuners don't make your antenna resonant.) You might even find a good tuner used. Read the reviews and do some research to understand what you're buying and why. Again, that well-established local ham can help - put pride on the shelf.
 Wink

So, forgetting your folks for the moment & addressing the dreaded budgetary issue, you may need to harness some good ol' fashioned American capitalism and go make some money. It doesn't have to be much, the two items mentioned above will tell you.

Good luck, happy trails and please report back to share with us how it's going.
 Smiley
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73
Wes -KC9TNH
"Don't get treed by a chihuahua." - Pete
NZ9Y
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Posts: 2




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« Reply #24 on: October 22, 2011, 10:26:59 AM »

The advice on gettng a tuner is good.  Without the tuner, you really are limited to 1 or 2 bands. Your parental restrictions make most of the better multiband antennas a battle as an antenna that you can tune for each band wont be a wire.  Tunable verticals are great, but very VISIBLE.


If I was in your position and wanted to get on the air NOW, I would build a 20 meter dipole and feed it with coax.  Tune it (trim it) to put you right in the middle of the portion of the band you want to work (phone or CW/dig).  Now you dont need a tuner and you will be on a band thats almost always open to somewhere.

Regarding Mom,  a 20 meter dipole fed with black or grey RG-8X is pretty much invisible.  Just tell her that you'll put it up and run it a few weeks, then if she still thinks its ugly, you'll be happy to change it.  Once she sees how minimal it is and your excitement over all the DX your working, she'll let it stay.  After you show her your WAS award, then push for more antenna! Smiley
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AB7KT
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Posts: 155




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« Reply #25 on: October 22, 2011, 05:57:15 PM »

I started out in ham radio with a similar set-up and similar age;  although your rig is more sophisticated than the one I had.

You need nothing more than an antenna tuner. I built my first antenna tuner and it would work fine for your set-up. I took a plastic shampoo bottle and glued a kite stick to it. I then wound a coil on the shampoo bottle using bare copper wire. The kite stick holds the turns of the coil off the shampoo bottle which allows you to tap the coils with an alligator clip. I then got a variable capacitor. Mine was from an old broadcast band radio. Of course this was over 30 years ago and BCB radios arn't made like that anymore so you might have more of an issue finding the capacitor. If nothing else, you can buy one. I don't think they would be very expensive. The circuit is very simple and can easy be found in the ARRL Handbook, ARRL Antenna Handbook.... definitely somewhere on the internet.

The best thing you could possibly do is to find other local hams to help you out. Go to the people who administered your license exam and ask them. If they can't or won't help you, they know someone who will. Find a local radio club. I am sure there is one somewhere within a reasonable distance to where you live. These guys have been there and done that. At least a few guys at these clubs are technically oriented and you can learn from them. People will probably loan you, or give you an antenna tuner. Someone will show you how to build one. I say this with certainty.
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I thought you said this was a weak signal mode ? I HAVE a weak signal and he still didn't hear me.

FWIW: My callsign is AB8KT
AB7KT
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Posts: 155




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« Reply #26 on: October 22, 2011, 06:02:37 PM »

After writing my previous post I looked you up and was going to send you a tuner. But I see from your QRZ page that you already have one.
So, you should be on the air by now.
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I thought you said this was a weak signal mode ? I HAVE a weak signal and he still didn't hear me.

FWIW: My callsign is AB8KT
WX7G
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Posts: 6134




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« Reply #27 on: October 23, 2011, 03:57:22 PM »

Your 130' wire can be tuned using an antenna tuner. I recommend the MJF-901B at less than $100.

For a ground to connect the tuner to a ground rod and a ground wire outside the window will work well enough.
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N4FBW
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Posts: 34




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« Reply #28 on: October 31, 2011, 07:17:23 PM »

I also recommend that MFJ 16010 tuner. They won't take a whole lot of power, but you sure can load up a nice length of wire. I used one of these tuners to do some hamming when I was in high school. Make sure you have a good ground for that tuner.

Good luck & 73!

N4FBW
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WB4LCN
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« Reply #29 on: November 29, 2011, 06:59:07 AM »

OK, here's a well reviewed long wire tuner that should work for your situation:

http://qrpkits.com/sltplus.html

If you're using 130 feet of end-fed wire, this little unit ought to do the trick.

KE7FD

I wonder if this would be good to tune to the gutters around the roof?

dave Smiley
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First, make it work, then make it pretty.
Yaesu Rigs: Kenwood TS-480HX, FT-8900R, FTM-350AR (Bluetooth motorcycle mobile), VX-8DR, SB-102 boat anchor (built one as a kid)

Moderate Spock: "Live for a reasonable amount of time and scrape by."
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