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Author Topic: Upgrade options  (Read 4748 times)
KF5VZW
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Posts: 17




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« on: March 24, 2014, 04:01:06 AM »

I am considering some upgrade options for my station.  I am currently running an Icom 735 barefoot into a G5RV and a dipole. (One is oriented north, south, the other east, west).  I am looking at the 200W Kenwood TS 480HX OR the Ameritron AL 811 amp to use with my existing Icom.  I feel confident that 600W is sufficient for working SSB like I do but I would also have to upgrade my antenna tuner to use the extra power.  The new Kenwood has 200W and a build in antenna tuner.  The Icom is running fine as far as I can tell but I don't get consistently good signal reports.  That could be atmospheric or just the fact I am running what should be 100W out of a 30 year old radio.

Question, would you opt for a new rig with twice the power of your old one or bump up your old rig with even more power? 
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W8JX
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« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2014, 04:34:53 AM »

No simple solutions here. First you might try a different antenna and also a 480HX DOES NOT have a built in tuner only 480SAT does. Also on amp while the AL  811 is rated at 600 watts that is pushing it. Think more 450 to 500 max if you want tubes to last a little while. 735 is not a bad rig.
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KF5VZW
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Posts: 17




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« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2014, 05:22:06 AM »

I stand corrected on the antenna tuner.  I got the two models mixed up.  In fact I was logging in to try and edit the post.  That's what I get for posting on line BEFORE my first cup of coffee kicks in.
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N3HEE
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Posts: 131




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« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2014, 11:22:33 AM »

What are you trying to accomplish?  Work more DX?  Rag chew on noisy low bands?  Going to 200 watts will do very little in the way of signal improvement.   About half an S unit.  The amp will give you a little over one S unit improvement.   This can be helpful for working DX where you are in the noise level on the receive end.  It will probably help a little on noisy low bands in the summer time static.  I would first effort and money into improving antennas.  Then I would look at an amplifier.   If you can squeeze an extra S unit or so out of your antenna and another S unit or so out of the amp then you have something !  Describe your antennas in more detail.
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N2ADV
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« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2014, 07:48:57 PM »

Neither. I would take my 40 year old FT101E hooked to a good antenna to my "state of the art" K3 hooked into a compromised antenna any day.

Agree with the above: describe your antenna options in more detail. Not just what you have... What type of area do you have for antennas?  I'd take a fan dipole up high over a G5RV for sure...

I own a TS480SAT (the 100w version) as well and it's a fine rig but it is going to do no better than your Icom getting out when hooked into the same antennas. I got the 100w version because the jump to 200 watts wasn't worth the extra expense of the beefier power supply and because the difference on the other end between 100 watts and 200 watts is negligible. As noted, the TS480HX (200w version) does NOT have a built in antenna tuner.

I'd work on antennas over power every day of the week and twice on Sunday. And the even better part?  Antennas work both ways. You'll get better receive as an added bonus to improving the efficiency of your outgoing signal!
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KF5VZW
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« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2014, 05:36:00 AM »

Thanks everyone for the replies.  My antennas are as follows.  I have a G5RV up about 20 feet in a tree.  One end is running east west and the other is more south east, due to the location of the tree in my yard.  In a week or two I hope to move it to a more central location on a fiberglass pole and run it truly east and west, trying to get one end of the main radiation lobe pointed to 45 degrees towards Europe.

The second antenna is a dipole I constructed with a 1:1 Balun.  It is cut for 15 meters and oriented east and west.  I plan to stretch that to do 40 meters.

I have a 50' pine tree in the North East corner of my yard that I may be able to use as one end of an end fed.  My lot is only 100' east to west and 150' north to south.
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N3HEE
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« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2014, 09:47:56 AM »

I checked your house out on Google Maps. I see several good options depending on what you are allowed to do.  You really need to leverage that tall pine tree and get those antennas up as high as you can.  I wouldn't worry too much about which direction they are oriented.   Height is more important.   I would be thinking about stringing dipoles between the big pine tree and the taller tree in your front yard.  Perhaps you could lash the fiberglass support pole to that tree in your front yard to gain some extra height.  Tell us more about where you plan to put the support pole?  How long is the support pole going to be?  What restrictions do you have as far as antenna placement options?   Get your antenna situation improved before you do anything else.  -Joe
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KF5VZW
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Posts: 17




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« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2014, 10:20:56 AM »

Joe; I am not restricted as far as a HOA because my street is not part of it.  The organization may have even folded.  I want to keep all of the antennas in the back yard because the front yard is my wife's area.  The tree in the middle of the back yard along the back fence is no longer there.  It was a cypress that was popping knees up and shading my garden.I am planning on putting up a 25 to 30 foot fiberglass pole almost right where it is and running the G5RV ends out towards the two side fences.  I can do that as an inverted V no problem.  I can run it as a flat top to the pine tree and at a slight southern angle towards the other trees or straight off another post if I want to make a flat top.  I am trying to get a stronger signal into Europe.

Thanks;
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2014, 11:36:07 AM »

First, understand that except on 80m and 40m where a G5RV is darned close to omnidirectional with big, fat lobes broadside to the antenna axis (and a lot of radiation "upwards" due to low installation height -- and that makes it even more omnidirectional), on 20m and the higher bands it's not like that.

On 20m, a G5RV is a 3/2-wave dipole and has six lobes: Two are broadside to the antenna axis, and then four more which normally have greater gain are skewed about 45 degrees off those, so it primarily radiates in six directions, not two.

Also the bulk of Europe is NE of you, so if you want to favor EU you'd arrange the antenna to favor NE/SW.

But on the higher bands, where propagation currently is terrific (10m/12m/15m) and often better than 20m, the G5RV has even more lobes; they become narrower, with greater gain, but with deeper nulls between them.  It's almost "luck" if you can orient the antenna to have a lobe aimed directly where you want it.

The G5RV is also not a good antenna on 10m or 17m, unfortunately, unless you have almost no feedline length (G5RV native SWR on 10m and 17m is terrible, and huge -- correcting it with a tuner in the shack doesn't reduce all that loss).

The G5RV does work quite well on 12m and also on 20m and I'd try to favor those two bands for working EU.  The EU stations are very easy to work (strong!) here in southern CA, so they should be fairly easy for you also, based on timing.
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KF5VZW
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Posts: 17




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« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2014, 12:24:50 PM »

I am also considering putting up a 15 meter Hy Gain Yagi in the pine tree and just pointing it at Europe and take my chances with just 15 meters in that direction.
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20666




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« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2014, 03:44:47 PM »

If the pine tree can support it without blowing around much, that could be a fun experiment.

Depending on how long that particular beam is, you might be "off" a bit, as EU peaks over a range from NNE to ENE depending exactly where in "Europe."  Even from here in southern CA, I notice the Scandanavians peak much farther north than central EU, and can separate them with beam headings.

But any kind of beam (I'd target NE, exactly) on 15m will dramatically outperform the G5RV.
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N3HEE
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Posts: 131




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« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2014, 04:33:04 AM »

A simple inexpensive resonant dipole will probably outperform the G5RV on 15 and maybe some other high bands.  From a maintenance standpoint I think you're asking for trouble putting a beam in a pine tree at 50 feet unless you have easy access to a bucket truck.  How about installing a 30 or 40 foot pole in opposite corner of backyard and get that dipole up in the air as a flat top between the pine tree and pole.  I bet that will work FB !  Anyway, I'm only running simple dipoles in my attic for the high bands and am working China, South Korea, EU, UK, OC and just about anything I can hear.  I'm leveraging both CW and good propagation.  When the propagation declines I'm done with the high bands.
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PA1ZP
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Posts: 296




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« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2014, 07:03:39 AM »

Hi

If your Icom735 is still in good condx , changing to a TS480 or other rig will not bring you much.

Though I like the TS480SAT, I would also consider the latest TS570 but just for the looks as performance is in the same range as the TS480 and in the same range as the IC735

I agree with others try to upgrade your antennas.

there are so many antennas to chose from, that will be a more dificult thing to decide on.

73 Jos
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K9MOV
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Posts: 48




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« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2014, 02:56:12 PM »

The G5RV or any multi-band dipole( fed with open wire) does not do well in an inverted V installation. The pattern and lobes deteriorate on 20mtrs and above. You can find that info in the handbook or any antenna book. It works very poorly on the upper HF bands in the inverted installation. Although ,not the best antenna for the upper bands, it will work MUCH better keeping it a flat-top.
Lane--K9MOV
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