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Author Topic: apartment life - low power low profile  (Read 11747 times)
VE3FMC
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« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2013, 10:31:24 AM »

K5TED - I have a TACTENNA 40 I picked up and mounted on a tripod.  It actually seems like it could work out well.  Please look up the review of this antenna and tell me if I am likely to experience difficulties, as I am very new to all this HF craft.

Will need to seriously consider the FLEX 1500 in a used purchase from somewhere.  The price you mentioned seems much more reasonable.  Maybe that is the direction I should go.

The FT-XXX and IC-XXX radios are always a consideration for mobile, and flexible other work.  Bought an SDR radio recently, but could not get the functionality out of it, or was too steep a learning curve and I got frustrated, so sent it back.

Maybe just needed better software, and a better system.  Please feel free to suggest more software solutions, and what is being used with the FLEX-1500.

Kevin
N1KCG
 
Kevin from what I have read about the Tactenna is the coax running to it does most of the transmitting of the RF. I can not always go by the reviews of antennas. You need to talk to someone who has actually tried that antenna. I talked to a guy who did and he said it was junk. Better off with an end fed wire.

Personally if I was going to budget myself for under $1000 I would look for a good used Icom 718, a SignaLink USB (yes they do appear on the used market once in awhile) and a small manual tuner that can handle coax, ladder line or single wire feeds.

But if your heart is set on a FLEX unit then that is your decision.



 

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N1KCG
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« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2013, 10:05:23 AM »

K5TED - that SG-230 runs $500 by itself, and the FLEX I think runs $500 used if lucky.  Will need to do a search for some low power runer.  Good information about needing 5W out to get an autotuner to activate.
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VA7CPC
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« Reply #17 on: February 22, 2013, 12:47:40 PM »

If there's an SWR meter built into the rig, an MFJ 901-B manual tuner works quite well.  Rated for 100 watts, but quite usable for QRP.  It's a "T-network" tuner, with a very wide matching range.  They're around $100 new, cheaper used.

I've used my FT-817 with an LDG Z-11 Pro autotuner, with good results.  That's also a 100-watt tuner.

We'll get you on the air, one way or another . . . <g>

.           Charles
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N1KCG
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« Reply #18 on: February 22, 2013, 01:18:18 PM »

Found some 20 and 40 meter SSB transcievers in the $150 to $180 range.  That married with the $100 tuner, and some interesting antennas for $100 should get me into the GRAND TOTAL of sub $400 to get into the QRP PSK31 and JT65 world.  maybe
 
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VE3FMC
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« Reply #19 on: February 24, 2013, 03:33:32 AM »

Found some 20 and 40 meter SSB transcievers in the $150 to $180 range.  That married with the $100 tuner, and some interesting antennas for $100 should get me into the GRAND TOTAL of sub $400 to get into the QRP PSK31 and JT65 world.  maybe
 

So if you buy a 20 and 40 meter QRP rig you will invest around $300 for two bands. Not a good idea when you can buy a good used HF rig and not invest a lot more than $300. Why limit yourself to one or two bands?

You initially said you could invest $1000, so do that. A good used Icom 718, or other used HF rigs, a manual tuner and some wire for your indoor antennas. Far less than $1000 spent and you would have money leftover to buy an interface such as the SignaLink USB.

Remember you can run QRP with a 100 watt rig. I run 1/2 watt at times on JT65 using a FT-950. You have to think about possibly operating SSB and with indoor antennas running QRP on SSB will not be the way to go.
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N1KCG
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« Reply #20 on: February 25, 2013, 06:02:04 AM »

VE3FMC - good comment.  If I run QRP inside, I end up with even more difficulty, as the RF will not be getting out there, without going through the walls and windows.   The idea was to set up for QRP, knowing that I would in fact have to boost up the power over that, and get equivalent signal conmunications.  But of course do not want to cause interference with other RF devices in the vacinity either.

Likely will search for a radio that has an antenna tuner built in (or something battery powered?), and connect a SIGNALINK device to it (am looking for a plug together cable).  Now my search is for that radio. Nothing found yet.  Did find a radio that had AC power included, which is handy.

Kevin

 
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N3DF
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« Reply #21 on: February 25, 2013, 12:15:44 PM »

What kind of HF beam antenna have you set up inside your apartment?  Please describe. 
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Neil N3DF
N1KCG
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« Reply #22 on: February 27, 2013, 06:35:23 AM »

What kind of HF beam antenna have you set up inside your apartment?  Please describe. 

Look up TACTENNA 40.  But have not used it much, so dont know if its effective.

Just picked up a Kenwood TS-430S which is a bargain, but maybe for a reason (failing components?)   Will see what happens when I get into this a little deeper.  That radio is going for $350 to $400 used and might be a great way to do HF, on the frugal.
 
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WB0CJB
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« Reply #23 on: March 07, 2013, 05:34:03 PM »

Even a TS-520S will do you good. I used one in a 4 plex with a 20-15-10 meter indoor dipole (tacked along the top of my apartment) and worked Burkina Faso on 15M on CW.With PSK-31 you can run 30W without any problems. I've even ran the rig at 5W and did just fine.

One time I put up a loop in my living room (same apartment) using a small tuner and got out just fine. None of the neighbors ever said a word about interference.

I'm sure you will be able to find a rig that fits your budget. A good book to get about operating stealthy is the one titled "Stealth Amateur Radio" by KT0Z. It was the inspiration to get on the air with my indoor dipole. If it wasn't for that I would have gone nuts not being on the air.

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KG6AF
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« Reply #24 on: March 07, 2013, 07:37:33 PM »

If you're looking at transceivers, particularly older ones, make sure you look for at least two things: IF filtering and stability.

Good, narrow IF filtering allows you to select only the signal you want.  The important difference between IF filtering and, say, audio filtering is that IF filtering will eliminate strong signals before they hit the sensing point in the AGC loop.  Without the IF filter, strong signals can capture the AGC, driving down the gain of the signal you're interested in.  (You know all those complaints you hear about hams who are allegedly using too much power on PSK31?   In most cases, their accusers are actually saying that they either don't have IF filtering or don't now how to use it.)

Stability is important for PSK31 and even more so for JT65A.  Most recent-vintage rigs will be fine, but if you're contemplating something older, make sure you confirm that other operators are successfully using those rigs on the modes you're interested in.

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VE3TMT
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« Reply #25 on: March 21, 2013, 11:52:10 AM »

. . . Do you want to try 100 watts and risk problems with neighbors , or are you content with 5-10 watts ?

Yeah I love seeing the pictures of the guys who complain they are in an HOA or antenna restricted neighborhood and have to use stealth antennas. You always see an amplifier on the table!
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KC9DRE
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« Reply #26 on: March 29, 2013, 02:11:10 PM »

I am in a similar situation as I live in an apartment complex, but will have to read the rules again to see if there are any restrictions.  So I am curious as to what solution you find that works and I can try some things here as well and share. I am going to risk the 100 watts here soon though once I decide on my first hf rig setup.
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VE3FMC
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« Reply #27 on: April 01, 2013, 11:36:35 AM »

I am in a similar situation as I live in an apartment complex, but will have to read the rules again to see if there are any restrictions.  So I am curious as to what solution you find that works and I can try some things here as well and share. I am going to risk the 100 watts here soon though once I decide on my first hf rig setup.

Last week I had a nice QSO with an apartment dweller. He was on the 23rd floor and had a Hustler mobile antenna mounted on the railing of the balcony. Had no other ground attachment because he said the balcony was bolted to metal under the brick of the building.

Worked him on 40 meters, about 120 miles distance and he had a pretty good signal.

Other mobile antennas can be modified for balconies, if you can get away with that setup.

Rick VE3FMC
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KC9DRE
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« Reply #28 on: April 01, 2013, 03:53:43 PM »

My complex isn't that tall, we are more like townhouses here and do have some open areas but I am more concerned about complaining neighbors especially when my FT-857D shows up soon....
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VA7CPC
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Posts: 2393




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« Reply #29 on: April 01, 2013, 08:11:38 PM »

You should _never_ tell your neighbors that you're a ham!

Brown-paper wrapping on boxes, 26-gauge antenna wire -- all that will keep you away from:

. . . My washing machine doesn't work, and it's _your fault_!

.         Charles

PS -- there is another side to this argument -- possible enthusiasm about "You can communicate without the phone system?"
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