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Author Topic: New Tech- 1st Set Up  (Read 1817 times)
KD2DQE
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Posts: 5




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« on: March 19, 2013, 10:54:32 AM »

I recently passed my test and am getting ready to set up my first shack. I am in southern New Jersey a few miles from the ocean in a fairly flat area. I want to keep it basic for my first shack until I find out if I really get into the hobby.

I am thinking of a Kenwood TMv71a, switching power supply, swr meter, LMR 400 cable, and a comet GP3 mounted on the gable end of my 2 story house. I sit on 2 acres with no really close neighbors.

The peak of the roof is at about 30'. I thought I could add a mast to get the antenna above the ridge about 5'. I can run the coax into my gable vent, across the attic, and into the wall of a 2nd floor bedroom where the equipment will be located. It should be less than a 35' run all totaled. I can run a grounding wire from the antenna down the rake board and straight down to the ground and add a grounding rod. The reason I picked the GP3 is that it's one piece and not too big. (It's always windy here.)

Will this setup get me started or do I have some glaring errors in my thoughts.

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AD4U
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Posts: 2153




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« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2013, 11:05:13 AM »

What you described will definitely get you started.  I do not see any glaring errors in what you described.  However if you want to really enjoy HAM radio, sooner or later you must try HF.

Dick  AD4U
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WA3SKN
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Posts: 5437




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« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2013, 11:36:05 AM »

See what repeaters are in your area and how far away they are before getting your first FM rig.  Then you can tell what band(s) you will want to set up for.  Clubs are a great place to get info on the local activity.
73s.

-Mike.
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KA4POL
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Posts: 1914




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« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2013, 11:44:13 AM »

Congratulations on passing the test and welcome to ham radio.
Just a remark on the power supply. Make sure it not only provides the required current. Leave some headroom. And be aware there are cheap and noisy supplies out there. You don't want to produce qrm on the HF bands.
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AD6KA
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Posts: 2232




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« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2013, 12:15:52 PM »

Welcome to ham radio, glad you made it!

All good advice given.
Good one re the clubs, figuring out what you want
to do before buying,
and getting a PS with more "headroom".
A 20-23 Amp power supply is not much more money
than a 12 or 15 Amp power supply. EX: The Samlex SEC-1223 (23A)
is only $10 more than the SEC 1212 (12A).
So when you get your first (12v) HF rig you are ready to go!

Sounds like you have a good VHF/UHF FM setup in mind.
But keep HF in mind, especially since you have a
large lot. Wow, I would love to have 2 acres!  Grin
Remember, you already have Phone privileges on 10m from
28.300 to 28.500.
(And CW & Data 28.000 to 28.300)
Also, CW on portions of 15m, 40m and 80m.

Go to some club meetings and make friends.
Stick your hand out and introduce yourself, don't wait
for people to come to you. By all means tell people
you are new,what you plan to do, and ask what they recommend.
(After all, they will know the repeaters in the area and
their capabilities)
Often some nice folks will lend you a 2m rig or dual
bander so you can get on the air and check it out.
And you can also visit their stations and actually
see and hear what works for them.

Bear in mind that you might want to consider saving
up your money and buying a used "Shack in a box"

HF/VHF/UHF rig such as an IC-706MkIIG, FT-857D,
FT-100D, FT-897. Then you would have HF and
VHF/UHF FM AND VHF/UHF SSB!

GL, hope to meet you on the air!
73, Ke  AD6KA
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KD2DQE
Member

Posts: 5




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« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2013, 01:11:37 PM »

Thank you for the responses.

 I checked and within 25 miles I have about 16 repeaters and withing 50 miles about 40 repeaters.

 When I passed my test I received a 1 year membership to a local club. They meet once a month and I missed the first meeting since I passed the test so I don't know anyone yet. They have VHF/UHF "nets" on their repeaters twice a week that I thought I could listen in on and learn from listening.

I considered an "all in one" radio but thought the features would be too complicated for a newbie. If the consensus is "all in one" is better then I'll consider going that route and start my planning over. The cost is not a factor in my decision, it's more of KISS until I see if the hobbies for me.


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K8AXW
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Posts: 3672




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« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2013, 01:38:11 PM »

DQE:  First and foremost, welcome to ham radio..... the greatest hobby in the world!

I tried to visualize your installation as you described it and it sounds great.  The one thing I would like to point out is the need for a "drip leg" (a droop) in the coax before it goes into your attic vent.  This prevents water (rain) from running down the coax into your house.

After trying to access the repeaters you've noted, determine if a small rotary beam of like 3 to 6 elements would help you.  This is done by bringing up repeaters and determining if they're border line copy.  If they are, then a beam might be a consideration for you in the future.  No doubt you'll find plenty to keep you busy and interested as it is now.

6KA pretty well sums it all up for you.  He makes some very good points that you should seriously consider.  10m is open quite a bit and this is where ham radio can really fire your interest.

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AD6KA
Member

Posts: 2232




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« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2013, 03:01:06 PM »

Quote
I considered an "all in one" radio but thought the
features would be too complicated for a newbie.

Nahhhhh.
No more complicated than manually programming the
cross band dual band VHF/UHF rig that you
are considering, perhaps even less so.

Good luck no matter what you decide!
73, Ken  AD6KA
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NK7Z
Member

Posts: 737


WWW

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« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2013, 05:39:47 PM »

I recently passed my test and am getting ready to set up my first shack. I am in southern New Jersey a few miles from the ocean in a fairly flat area. I want to keep it basic for my first shack until I find out if I really get into the hobby.

I am thinking of a Kenwood TMv71a, switching power supply, swr meter, LMR 400 cable, and a comet GP3 mounted on the gable end of my 2 story house. I sit on 2 acres with no really close neighbors.

The peak of the roof is at about 30'. I thought I could add a mast to get the antenna above the ridge about 5'. I can run the coax into my gable vent, across the attic, and into the wall of a 2nd floor bedroom where the equipment will be located. It should be less than a 35' run all totaled. I can run a grounding wire from the antenna down the rake board and straight down to the ground and add a grounding rod. The reason I picked the GP3 is that it's one piece and not too big. (It's always windy here.)

Will this setup get me started or do I have some glaring errors in my thoughts.



That should work wonderfully!  For VHF/UHF...  However, you should try HF as well, that is where the real fun is from my viewpoint...  You have a great setup for a sloping dipole on 75...  You might even consider a Gap Challenger if you want a simple vertical to put up and use...
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Thanks,
Dave
For reviews and setups see: http://www.nk7z.net
KD2DQE
Member

Posts: 5




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« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2013, 09:36:36 AM »

Geez, the more I learn the more I realize how much I don't know.  Shocked

If I went with something like the Gap Challenger or similar and a Yeasu FT 897D or similar, power supply, swr meter or antenna tuner (not sure with that antenna), and a suitable cable to run underground and up the side of the house, I should be able to use all the modes and bands I'm allowed as a tech? At least it would keep me from falling off the roof.
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NO2A
Member

Posts: 758




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« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2013, 10:58:47 AM »

Hello Bill,and welcome to the hobby. I`m in Mercer County here. I see you`re in Cape May county. That`s a rare county in NJ,as there aren`t too many hams there. Hope to hear you on the repeaters or hf. Good luck. -Mike,NO2A.
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AD6KA
Member

Posts: 2232




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« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2013, 03:27:17 PM »

Quote
If I went with something like the Gap Challenger or similar and a Yeasu FT 897D or similar, power supply, swr meter or antenna tuner (not sure with that antenna), and a suitable cable to run underground and up the side of the house, I should be able to use all the modes and bands I'm allowed as a tech?

Almost but not all. You would not be able to run 220Mhz
or UHF higher than the 70cm band. (440MHz). The radio has 440,
but not that antenna. None of the "shack in a box" rigs cover
220. Admittedly this is a Nit Pick, not that many techs operate above 440,
though you will find some on 1.2 GHz repeaters.

I find claimed the Bandwidth figures for the Challenger
somewhat unbelievable, but then again I have never used the antenna.
Every setup is different, though.
http://www.gapantenna.com/challenger.html
Quote
Bandwidth -- Under 2:1
Entire band on 40m 20m 15m 12m 10m 6m 2m (Really?) Shocked
80m over 130 KHz; 10m over 1MHz

There are ways to make multiband verticals "work"
but whether they are efficient or not is a matter of debate.

If you find you really like 2m & 440 it would not be that difficult
to buy or make yagis (beams) with low loss feedlines. One
of the fun things about VHF/UHF is that the antenna dimensions
are small (wavelength inversely proportional to frequency)
allowing fabrication with inexpensive materials and common tools.
You can also build a decent 2m 1/4 wave ground plane with an SO-239
connector and five 19.25" pieces of stiff copper or piano wire or thin tubing.
Change dimensions for 440.
There is a construction article about these antennas in the March 2013 QST.

(Though from what you say about the number of machines
in your area, you might not need yagis for repeater work).
You would need horizontally polarized yagis for VHF/UHF SSB work.

I know at this point is sounds complicated but it really isn't
once you get familiar with the terminology!
GL ES 73, Ken  AD6KA
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NI3S
Member

Posts: 67




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« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2013, 07:19:55 PM »

Your set up sounds fine.  But I would urge you to study and get your General before buying gear.  Most folks seem to end up on HF sooner or later and spending money with HF in mind could save your hard earned dollars in the long run.

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KD2DQE
Member

Posts: 5




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« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2013, 07:57:01 PM »

Sounds like if I go with an all in one receiver I can stick to my original plan and get on the 2m and 440 repeaters with a roof mounted antenna. Then as I progress towards General I can add hf antennas and expand my horizons without having to buy another rig, 2nd power supply, etc.
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AE5QB
Member

Posts: 267




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« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2013, 08:43:03 PM »

Personally, I think you are doing the right thing but starting out a little on the high side.  I don't want to put a damp blanket on things but if I were you I would not go out and spend $1,000+ on an all band all mode rig.  Nor would I spend $400 or $500 on a VHF/UHF radio.  I would find a good used 2m handi-talkie and put up a cheap homemade vertical dipole, get on the repeaters, talk up a storm, go to meetings and a field day, find out what HF is about, use others' equipment, upgrade to general, then start thinking about full-blown rigs.  Even then there thousands of hams who have been operating for decades and have never purchased a new wizbang radio.  You don't have too if you don't want to and can have just as much fun as the guy with the $10,000 DX rig.  Ok I admit, I'd like to try one of those out.  Who knows, you may decide you don't even like the hobby and want to get out of it in 6 months.  Would you rather have $1200 worth of gear to get rid of at that point or $150 worth?  Watch the classifieds and sooner or later you will see a Radio Shack HTX202 on sale for under a hundred bucks.  Or if you want to buy new look at the Wouxon 2 band handhelds for right at $100.  They work great and you can throw them away if you have too and not feel too badly about it.  Jump in with both feet if you want but I recommend easing into it and learning more about it before you leap.  I think you will have fewer regrets and probably less "stuff" lying around that doesn't get used if you learn a bit more before committing whole hog.  On the other hand, if you have lots of money to burn, go for it.

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