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Author Topic: New ham questions  (Read 1293 times)
KC9YDP
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Posts: 1




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« on: February 05, 2013, 07:12:40 AM »

Forgive my ingnorance, for I am a new ham(tech).  Everyone was ther once.  I recently aquired a Kenwood TS-430S, and a 10 meter vertical.  I installed the vertical and ran the kenwood through a FMJ 949C tuner.  I read online posts and believe I have everything tuned and ready to go.  I intend to try and work 28.3-28.5  The manual says that the 430 should have a 250W SSB output, but my FMJ meter indicates a 30W output (SSB +AM)  Am I missing something, or?Huh??  No amount of adjustment seems to make a difference.  I see listed everywhere that 28.4 is natl/dx calling.  Is that accurate?  Ive called CQ several times over a couple of days without luck.  Is 10 meter closed?
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KE6EE
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Posts: 399




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« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2013, 07:23:24 AM »

When the band is open, you will hear others calling CQ. Try daytime on 10. There are also many 10 meter beacons which you can find by a bit of searching on the net.

It's certainly been open recently.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2013, 07:26:11 AM by N6GND » Logged
N5VTU
Member

Posts: 365




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« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2013, 07:31:17 AM »

Hi and welcome to ham radio.  Let's tackle the questions one at a time-

A Kenwood TS-430S is a nominal 100W output rig.  The 250W specification you saw was for input power to the final amplifier, not output.  You have to account for system losses and the fact that no amplifier is 100% efficient.

Assuming your 10m vertical is truly a 10m vertical (and not an 11M cb antenna) you may not even need the tuner, especially operating over such a small portion of the band (28.300 -28.500).  Having the tuner inline however, will not hurt anything.  Depending on what type of vertical antenna you have, it will most likely require ground radials of some sort.  Do you have those installed? Have you checked the SWR of the antenna at your frequencies of interest?

The meter in the MFJ-949 is not a true peak reading watt meter...it can't respond to those SSB peaks fast enough to give any power indication other than a relative one.  30W output on AM doesn't sound too far off.  Remember on SSB, you only get output when you're actually speaking into the microphone, not simply by keying the mic.

28.4 is as good a frequency to call on as any.  USB is the convention on 10m, so make sure you're set to that and that the frequency is clear before you start calling.  10M has actually been moderately active at my QTH, so I doubt the band is "dead". 

I'd suggest getting in contact with a local radio club in your area and see if someone can assist you.  Most hams are more than happy to help newcomers in the hobby.  Being involved with a group of hams and having your very own Elmer will be far more rewarding than any advice you can get on an internet forum.

Good Luck and welcome to the hobby

Stephen
N5VTU


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WN2C
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Posts: 470




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« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2013, 07:36:12 AM »

If you read the manual, it says 250 watts input, not output.  If you are trying to get a measure of output on SSB then you need a peak reading watt meter.  If you are checking on AM (60 watts DC input) you should expect to get approximately 30 watts out.  I suggest you reread the manual specifications page (pg 3).  As far as the vertical goes, what vertical are you using?  Is it ground mounted or on a mast?  If on a mast, how high?  As far as the band supporting propagation, you should at least be able to work ground wave with someone close to you.  Do you know any local hams?  Do you have an Elmer or someone from a local club that can help you?  Could use some info here.

Rick  wn2c
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K7PEH
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Posts: 1124




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« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2013, 07:39:49 AM »

Forgive my ingnorance, for I am a new ham(tech).  Everyone was ther once.  I recently aquired a Kenwood TS-430S, and a 10 meter vertical.  I installed the vertical and ran the kenwood through a FMJ 949C tuner.  I read online posts and believe I have everything tuned and ready to go.  I intend to try and work 28.3-28.5  The manual says that the 430 should have a 250W SSB output, but my FMJ meter indicates a 30W output (SSB +AM)  Am I missing something, or?Huh??  No amount of adjustment seems to make a difference.  I see listed everywhere that 28.4 is natl/dx calling.  Is that accurate?  Ive called CQ several times over a couple of days without luck.  Is 10 meter closed?

I assume you mean MFJ instead of FMJ.

Your SSB output is based on the average voice level and other factors and you will never see the peak 250 watts of the rig.  You will see a lot less but this is normal behavior.  I am not saying nothing is wrong with the 430 though, not enough information yet.

When measuring power output you should use a good dummy load and use key-down CW instead of SSB.  Measuring output power using an antenna may not always tell you what is happening due to matching, fold back on the rigs (if high SWR protection circuitry is in use), and so on.

AM power levels is always less than SSB or CW on rigs due to the fact that the power is used for carrier and sidebands.  I do not know the AM capabilities of the 430.  Indeed, I have operated AM once in my life (going back to the 1960s).

Ten meters is a good band when it is open -- when closed, it is a nice white noise generator for your shack.  I always check 10 meters and typically get some good DX contacts but this does not happen every day.

Also, if you can, arrange for another band to check out.  How about 40 or 20.  A 20 meter dipole does not take up too much room.
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N4KZ
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Posts: 599




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« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2013, 07:53:28 AM »

Another poster mentioned listening to 10-meter beacon stations. That's good advice because hearing beacons will immediately tell you if 10 meters is open and where to. You will hear beacons from 28.2 to 28.3 MHz. Many beacons send relatively slow CW so it could be good code practice too.

And it takes a peak reading wattmeter to get an accurate determination of your rig's output when on single sideband. Your tuner does not have a peak reading meter -- only one that reads an average output. I know, all this can be confusing but hang in there. It's well worth the confusion to enjoy the best hobby in the world. With the meter that's built into your tuner, you can get an accurate output reading if you transmit a carrier -- either in the CW, AM or FM modes. 

Ten has been kind of iffy lately -- open at times and closed at other times. That's why the beacons can be so handy.

73, N4KZ
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AC2EU
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Posts: 410


WWW

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« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2013, 08:04:08 AM »

If you want to check the actual full output, put the rig in cw mode with the key down for a second or two. It should read near the specified output of 100W when properly tuned to the antenna.

also:

Quote
I assume you mean MFJ instead of FMJ.
If MFJ stands for "mighty fine junk"  maybe FMJ is "freakin major junk"?   Grin
I have a MFJ 949D that seems to work pretty well after I re-soldered everything, though...
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WB6BYU
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Posts: 13341




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« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2013, 11:20:52 AM »

In summary:

The TS-430 only runs 100 Watts output.

You'll only measure 20 - 30 watts output running SSB into a power meter
unless it has peak power circuitry.  That's because your voice is a complex
waveform that may reach 100W on peaks, but the average is much lower.
To check for full output power, key the rig in CW mode and advance the
CARRIER control to maximum output level.  (I always adjust my antenna tuner
with CW at about 5 watts output.)

Make sure you are using USB on 10m.

If you don't hear any other stations, the band may be closed.  Listening
for beacons will give you an idea of conditions.  On the other hands, sometimes
you may be surprised by who responds to you on a "dead" band.

10m tends to be at its best in the early afternoon.

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AA4HA
Member

Posts: 1493




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« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2013, 02:43:31 PM »

Also, if you can, arrange for another band to check out.  How about 40 or 20.  A 20 meter dipole does not take up too much room.

We should be careful. He seems to know that he is OK with phone from 28.3 to 28.5 MHz (200 W P.E.P.) (Tech authorization). There is no allocation for tech licenses on 20 m and there is a narrow CW allocation on 40 m at 7.025-7.125 MHz. If we send him off onto other bands it can cause him problems.

Techs get a taste of HF, hopefully this will encourage him to upgrade to General if he has a positive experience and sees the value of gaining those other bands. I hope he does.

A simple 11 m whip can always be trimmed down to 10 m (another good learning experience). I hope he can find a local elmer to help him out.
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Ms. Tisha Hayes, AA4HA
Lookout Mountain, Alabama
N3JJT
Member

Posts: 31




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« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2013, 04:47:30 PM »

Joe, also, make sure on your tuner that you have the 300 watt position selected, not the 30 watt output.  If you leave it in the 30 position, it will peg at 30, and no more. Plus, not good on the meter. Just a thought.

Scott  N3JJT  GL and Welcome to the hobby!
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