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Author Topic: What to use for traveling?  (Read 6133 times)
RACSW
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Posts: 75




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« on: March 30, 2014, 07:35:22 PM »

Hello,
I do a lot of traveling on my motorcycle (47 yrs), and since I've started on the ham hobby, I got to thinking if buying a low power transceiver that would use phone and an antenna wouldn't be something that would be interesting.  Whatever state or country I'm in, set up the antenna somehow, and see if anyone's about.
If I did this, I realize I don't need a lot of stuff, just stuff that works well together.
LNR Precision is making a 5W transceiver for phone, but they haven't produced it yet, so I'm asking for any advice particularly a radio choice and antenna (I'm not wealthy  Wink).  I thought that either 10M or 20M would be the "advisable" band, due to antenna length, probably dipole, but I'm not sure.  I don't know CW, although I wish I did, but that's not an option at this point.
Important: It all has to be fairly compact, I have two saddle bags and a River Duffel on back, that's it.

Any words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated :-)

Regards,
Robert   AC2MM
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AC2MM
KD5TXX
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Posts: 82




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« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2014, 07:41:11 PM »

I have successfully used a 817 on phone.  It is easier with CW....but works with phone.  Good luck.
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RACSW
Member

Posts: 75




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« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2014, 08:09:22 PM »

What's 817?

What band do you prefer?

What antenna?
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AC2MM
GILGSN
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Posts: 208




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« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2014, 08:26:00 PM »

You could get an MFJ-9420... Affordable and works well. I used to have a 9406 and it was well built. For the antenna, get a PAR end-fed for 20m, a slingshot, fishing line and 1Oz weights.. You could also get a Buddistick and clamp that to your bike frame (parked).

Gil.
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AF6WL
Member

Posts: 146




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« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2014, 08:32:26 PM »

What's 817?


Yaesu FT-817 - probably the most prolific portable HF/VHF/UHF transceiver ever made.
The Elecraft KX3 is also one to google ; then google "ft817 vs KX3"  Grin

http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/1184

http://www.yaesu.com/indexVS.cfm?cmd=DisplayProducts&ProdCatID=%20102&encProdID=06014CD0AFA0702B25B12AB4DC9C0D27&DivisionID=65&isArchived=0
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K8AXW
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Posts: 3958




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« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2014, 09:52:13 PM »

You need to think BIG!  Ran into a guy at a hamfest a few years ago.  He rode a Honda Goldwing and pulled a trailer with a 5KW AC generator bolted to the floor and a Heath SB-220 on the same trailer.  His all band transceiver was on the handlebars.

Although he liked tooling down the road running QRO, I felt his RF exposure exceeded FCC limits. 

I realize this doesn't help you OM but just thought I'd throw it in here just to show where you imagination can take you.   Grin
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F8WBD
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Posts: 77




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« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2014, 05:59:52 AM »

Travelling! Well, if you are doing serious cross-country or international travelling, I would recommend the FT-817. Small size, sturdy, all mode and all band, proven reputation, world-wide Yaesu service. I've traveled across the Atlantic with it a dozen times. Packed in Pelican case above my seat. Never a problem.
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RACSW
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Posts: 75




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« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2014, 07:22:30 PM »

Wow...
Thank you all for your inputs, it was more than I expected.
Ok....
First, I had three bikes, including a GoldWing, but I sold that and am now down to two.   I have no intention of talking on a ham radio while traveling, although I am familiar with the GoldWing ham guys doing this.   I prefer to keep distractions to a minimum.  I like to think that's why I've lasted 47 years.   That being said, my new one has Sat radio, Blue Tooth to everything, and more buttons than the plane I used to pilot.   I can make and receive phone calls, get GPS directions, and listen to ZZ Top all through my helmet.  Things are supposed to get easier when you get older I heard  Shocked

  Whenever I get to a motel, I usually have little to do in the evenings, so I thought this would be a nice time to sling a wire someplace, and make a few 5W contacts.   I am a new ham, but I love this hobby  Grin  My only regret is not having had the pleasure of starting it 30 years ago.  It is so interesting, it boggles my mind.

The FT-817...it isn't made anymore, but that one listed for around $800, which is a little steep for me.  I will try to look on QRZ and see if there's any used ones around.  I'll also look at the MFJ.   The ARRL Operating Manual I got when I joined has a picture of a fellow sitting on rocks on a beach in Ireland on page 1-30 with his headset on, making calls (CW in this case).   That's what I want to do.

I'm going to Nova Scotia with a friend in May/June, and it would be nice to make a few calls from there.

As far as LNR Precision goes, they make great antennas  Smiley  Before I got into ham radio, I listened to Shortwave using a Grundig Satellit 800 with an LNR EN-SWL antenna.   That's what gave me the bug.
So now I use their 40M/20M 100W Dipole for those two bands, and just ordered their 10M 100W antenna, so I'll be able to have three bands at the house.   
For a mobile antenna, I want to consider this more carefully however.   I may not have a tree close by, but I certainly can carry their 20M, 5W End-Fed, it takes up almost no space.  The Buddipole idea sounds interesting.  I read that a lot of foreign travelers use that, and it packs light.

I do have one question for you guys.   Normally, when you're in a different region, you're supposed to give your call sign + Region per the WAS map.   Like "AC2MM Stroke 4".   

How do I properly make a call in a different area and signify that I am QRP and trying to make distant contacts from Nova Scotia?   My books say that 14.285 is the SSB/QRP calling frequency for 20M.  Do I do a "CQ" from there?  (After making sure the frequency is clear of course) would "CQ CQ AC2MM Stroke Victor Oscar One calling DX" be appropriate for me making a call from Nova Scotia?  I thought DX would be appropriate if I'm also trying to contact US hams, but I'm not sure.
Can you guys offer some help?

Thanks again,
Robert
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AC2MM
NZ9C
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Posts: 25




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« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2014, 07:50:08 PM »

The FT817 isn't still in production, but the FT817ND is. Google it- approximately $680.
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WB6BYU
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Posts: 13467




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« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2014, 12:46:03 PM »

Remember, when in Canada you have to follow the Canadian rules for identification, etc.

I'd usually use the word "portable" rather than "stroke" where it makes sense in the callsign,
but I work mostly CW so it is "/" instead.  In many cases you would actually put the DX prefix
first, that is, "Xray Echo 1 stroke Apha Charlie 2 Mike Mike", but the specific US - Canadian
agreement predates that.  (In practice, either method is accepted.)  You can find more detail
about operating in other countries in the links on the ARRL web site (www.arrl.org).

The FCC has changed the rules so it is no longer required to add the call sign area when operating
out of your district in the US, though it is still a good idea when it helps to avoid confusion (for
example, during a contest where the State you are in affects the scoring.)  So for casual operation
I sign "WB6BYU" but in a contest I'd use "WB6BYU/7" from here in Oregon.


I've done a lot of traveling with a QRP rig in my backpack, from Australia, New Zealand, Alaska,
Hawaii, Nova Scotia, and a number of other States.  I carry a light dipole kit with 25' of RG-174
coax and wires for each band of interest.  Each time I stop I can set it up for whichever bands
I want:  for a quick lunch stop I might choose 20m or 15m, while for a couple days in the same
place I installed all 5 bands (80 / 40 / 20 / 15 / 10m) to give me more options at different times
of day.  The coax, wire, and enough rope to string it up (plus stray DC cables, my telegraph key,
etc.) all fit in a small belt pouch.

I never carried any sort of support other than my walking stick.  Usually I'm around trees, but
sometimes I've gotten creative using rocks, sticks, etc.  (OK, it didn't work so well the time I ran
it down the top of a barbed wire fence...)  Usually I end up with the antenna somewhere between
10 and 20' high.  With experience you learn to ways that you can string antennas in difficult
situations - when operating from a hotel in Alaska I made a grappling hook from a wire coat
hanger and tossed it out the window into the rain gutter of the building across the alley.
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W1JKA
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Posts: 1812




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« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2014, 05:46:55 AM »

When going portable with WIRE antennas don't forget the almighty Antenna launcher. Just bring along an empty 12 oz. soda/water bottle then fill with water or roadside shoulder sand and attach about 75 ft. of builders chalk line, a few underarm twirls will get your wire up to the 20-30 ft. height range with no problem. Leave your weight/space consuming sling shots, bows/arrows and PVC power launcher gimmicks home for your fixed antennas. If you forget the soda bottle just check the roadside ditches.
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N2ADV
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Posts: 69




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« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2014, 07:32:36 AM »

The FT-817...it isn't made anymore, but that one listed for around $800, which is a little steep for me.  I will try to look on QRZ and see if there's any used ones around.  I'll also look at the MFJ.   The ARRL Operating Manual I got when I joined has a picture of a fellow sitting on rocks on a beach in Ireland on page 1-30 with his headset on, making calls (CW in this case).   That's what I want to do.

The FT-817 sure IS still made... it's under the FT-817ND on Yaesu's website.  The difference is that the ND model includes the 60 meter band in the US.  The older non-ND models can be modified to allow use on that band.  I won't get into that here, it's just as easy to Google it.  There are some other minor differences between the ND and non-ND model but again, those are just as easy to Google. 

I have thrown my FT-817 in my tank bag on my SV650S any number of times and thrown some wire up in a tree and made contacts wherever I've stopped.  

I'd seriously consider one of those.  I saw a used one on QRZ go for around $500 not too long ago.  It also works from HF to 440 so it's basically a shack-in-a-box.  It weighs very little, even with the internal batteries, and takes up very little space.   I've run it on the bike's battery more than once.  It's a very versitile rig.  I've made both Phone and CW contacts with it.  






« Last Edit: April 02, 2014, 07:35:13 AM by N2ADV » Logged
WB6BYU
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Posts: 13467




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« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2014, 09:38:38 AM »

Quote from: W1JKA

...Just bring along an empty 12 oz. soda/water bottle then fill with water or roadside shoulder sand...



An old sock works as well and doesn't take up as much volume.
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W1JKA
Member

Posts: 1812




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« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2014, 10:03:19 AM »

Tried an old sock once with no luck, it wouldn't hold water and sand poured out through the toe and heel holes, then tried a new sock, it held sand good but aerodynamically it was the shits and left me with blisters on my right foot, I suspect it's still hung up in the tree branches awaiting Santa's annual visits.
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RACSW
Member

Posts: 75




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« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2014, 07:53:17 PM »

A lot of good information here.
My sincere thanks to all that replied.
I found three FT-817's all sold.
I also like the Elecraft KX3, it really looks like a well designed rig.
I Bookmarked the ARRL Canadian rules, and will make a "Sample call" listing with appropriate Region Designators.

I'd rather do a wire antenna, like the LNR Precision 20M End-Fed.  Excellent rep, well designed, light and compact and easy to set up with fishing line, socks, whatever...  The Buddipole is for guys who will be hanging around one area for awhile.  Too much setup, too bulky for MC travel IMO.

Nice Yamaha  Smiley

I'm going to try and add an image, hope it works.


This is in Nova Scotia in 2011 with the BMW 800.  I'm waiting for the CAT for Newfoundland. I still have the Beemer, it's like the guys who won't sell their FT-817's, it works perfect, but my main travel now is a Triumph Trophy SE.   I've had a lot of bikes, and this is my idea of a perfect motorcycle for one-man touring.  Absolutely awesome machine  Cool

I did a Preview and didn't see the bike, not sure why.

Thanks again, guys,
Robert
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AC2MM
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