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Author Topic: Complete Station / Shack  (Read 1292 times)
KD9MRX
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« on: April 13, 2019, 07:50:16 AM »

 Grin  ???Good Morning to those on this side of the planet, I posted a similar question sometime back but did not come away with anything positive and I am not sure where to post about setting up a brand new station/shack from top to bottom. If you could point me to the proper forum I will continue.
73's
KD9MRX
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AA4PB
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« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2019, 08:10:57 AM »

This is probably the right place to post your questions. To get good answers however you need to ask specific questions that can be answered with a short post. Things like your budget, goals, antenna restrictions, etc. will direct the answers you get.

My general advice for someone starting out on HF is to begin small. A basic transceiver, a home made dipole antenna, etc. As you gain more experience, you can start upgrading things to better suite your specific needs.
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Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA
K1VSK
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« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2019, 08:43:18 AM »

Sounds like you are at a place where you don’t know what you don’t know.

Rather than rely on the advice of strangers who don’t know you, it’s often beneficial to find a local club to more effectively discuss what you want to learn.
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KD9MRX
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« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2019, 08:48:06 AM »

This is probably the right place to post your questions. To get good answers however you need to ask specific questions that can be answered with a short post. Things like your budget, goals, antenna restrictions, etc. will direct the answers you get.

My general advice for someone starting out on HF is to begin small. A basic transceiver, a home made dipole antenna, etc. As you gain more experience, you can start upgrading things to better suite your specific needs.

At 72 pushing 73 and a pensioner I have to go for it. I would like a  Icom, Kenwood or Yaesu which ever is the best.
HF for the base and HF for the mobile
VHF/UHF base and mobile
Prior to getting my license I purchased a bunch of equipment one being an Icom 735. I want to have all freq available to me as I am going for the advanced in a couple months, I am on the fence with this digital stuff heck I have a hard time figuring out the cell phone. There is a local club which I joined but the meetings are 20 miles away and with my health in poor repair I seldom drive that far.
Jim
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AA4PB
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« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2019, 10:07:55 AM »

The FCC is not issuing any new Advanced class licenses. Your next upgrade would be the Extra. Regardless of your age (I'm 75), the first thing I'd do is put up a 20M dipole and get the IC735 on the air on 20M. It's one thing to say that I want all bands HF/VHF/UHF base and mobile but it's quite another thing to accomplish it in any short amount of time. There are so many variables and potential pitfalls that it's nearly impossible to get someone to make reasonable selections over the Internet. That's why I'm suggesting getting what you have on the air quickly, work some DX, make some contacts.
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Bob  AA4PB
Garrisonville, VA
KD9MRX
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« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2019, 10:23:08 AM »

Ok thank you all I will have to do some soul searching, I was looking at a used motor home to get South in the winter but the said no but I can get me radio gear.
73"s
Jim
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K5LXP
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« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2019, 12:04:20 PM »

*Former* resident of WI.  Move south and you don't need a motor home :-)

I get you don't want to make a "mistake" or do anything "wrong" but unless you buy something broken, anything made in the last quarter century is more than capable of getting you on the air.  Until you reach a point in the hobby where you're trying to snag that last country or get that one multiplier in a contest that puts you over the top, don't sweat the details.  As a new ham I worked a remarkable number of stations with a dipole or vertical and radios older than me.  If you buy used stuff you can get a pretty big band for your buck and then you're not wondering if you're in over your head.  If you end up not liking a particular rig you can sell it for most or all of what you paid for it.  Or go for broke and get a flagship radio and have a blast figuring it out.  There's no right or wrong way to go and try not to get wrapped up in the minutia.  Failure is an option.  Try something, see what happens then try something else.  This is a journey, not a destination.  Getting on the air will open a lot of doors and everyone you meet and things you do will add to your experience.  So get after it.

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM
 
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KD9MRX
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« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2019, 12:27:51 PM »

Hi Mark,
Well sometimes you get this once in a lifetime bonus for a better word and I am a poor man always will be and I was not expecting this windfall  not at all so the Mrs said I can purchase one of three items a motorhome to go South or a cool car or I can have a kickbutt radio shack and after looking at the choices,  well the motorhome would be nice and after looking at camp rates for 3 months nope that is not the way to go way to spendy. Cool car from the early to late 60's - early 70's well I am to beat up to have to wrench so it comes down to my bucket list and that is I got my ham license, I have this one chance and well why not. I bought an old Icom 735 for 275 and all seems ok in the stupid pail but I am nervous as to how long it is going to keep going at least with new it does come with a warranty which gives you a certain piece of mind. I got one more month so time to keep thinking.
Jim
KD9MRX
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KL7CW
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« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2019, 03:30:31 PM »

I think the suggestions to just get on the air, perhaps with a 20, 40, and/or 75 meter dipole with your existing rig.  At this point you probably have no idea what you will want in a year or so.  Example 75 meter SSB rag chewing, contesting, CW, WAS, DXCC, or even data.  If your rig does not work, probably not worth the money to fix it, so possibly a new HF rig might be the best choice.  Fiber glass poles can be used to support a few inverted V dipoles if you do not have other supports.  Even at 30 or 40 feet they will work OK for some good QSO's.  Later you can consider a tower, Yagi, etc.  There are very good transceivers which would satisfy all but the most avid contesters or DX'ers which cost roughly around $1000, perhaps a bit more with options.  Just one example is the Icom 7300, which I do not own, but it has good reviews.  If you are sure you want a tower, you could have one erected with pulleys at the top, which you could use to experiment with various inverted V dipoles, etc., then later put up something like a tri band Yagi if HF is still an interest to you.  Serious competitive DX'ers often have very high towers, but most of us, especially those in urban areas seem to get by just fine with our 50 or 60 foot towers, or even something like 40 feet if that is all that is feasible. If you really want to jump right in, you could erect something like a tri band (20, 15, 10) meter trap Yagi (3 element) with rotator on something like a 50 or 60 foot tower, and have a pulley installed near the top for future inverted V dipoles for 40 or 80 meters. This would be a dream installation for many folks, but would fall short of what real competitive folks want.  Most of us have "worked the world" with similar set ups.  A tower with installation costs, coax, guy wires, Yagi, rotator, etc. is rather expensive, lets say very roughly at least a few thousand dollars, and perhaps even something like $10,000 or more.  In the "good old days" when we were young the radio clubs just had antenna parties to dig holes, pour concrete, install Yagis, etc., but with most of us around 80 years old, not many volunteers with the health, or skills, to undertake such a project for a few slices of pizza and a beer when work was completed.  Also we were dumb, since any serious tower work, really depends upon certain skill sets, not just dumb luck.   Be safe.    Rick  KL7CW
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N8FVJ
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Posts: 900




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« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2019, 04:22:12 PM »

You can play with the ICOM IC-735 to get your feet wet. A great antenna that does not need an antenna tuner is a EFHW 80-10. 57 eham reviews and it has a 5 of 5 rating. You will never need another wire antenna. A pleasant HF transceiver is a Yaesu FT-991A that covers 160 meters thru 450mHz all mode. Or, an ICOM IC-7300 and a separate FM 2 meter/70cm dual-band if SSB on 2 meters & 70 cm does not intrigue you. I like the Kenwood TM-V71.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2019, 04:27:21 PM by N8FVJ » Logged
KD9MRX
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Posts: 204




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« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2019, 05:17:25 PM »

Hello Mark Fred Jim and others,
I really just want an all around I am not sure about this thing called contesting and rag chewing is more my style  the digital is well I don't know seems like a lazy way to talk, I do have a tower that is laying on the ground so going to get the boys busy and have them dig me a hole for it and weld up some sort of lowering mechanism. I just am leery of plunking down cash on a used electronic item might last till I gone or it might smoke tomorrow. I remember antenna parties in the CB boom lot of fun. I am going to keep drooling over the catalogs and thank you for your advise it is well taken. Hope to catch you on the air someday
Regards
Jim
PS; Mark I was living in Branson, MO for quite a few years but the kids started to spawn young uns and she got lonesome I tell ya my bride of 45 years is 100% Swede and just had to come back and now one is in Florida, one in AZ one in CA. Just can't win.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2019, 05:21:42 PM by KD9MRX » Logged
K5LXP
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« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2019, 07:43:12 AM »

rag chewing is more my style

When I first got into ham radio, SSB was the only thing I had on my mind too.  I crammed for the 5wpm CW test, got my novice ticket and then a curious thing happened.  Through a few local hams I discovered traffic handling and within about 6 months I was a regular on the nets passing traffic on CW.  CW has been my favorite mode ever since operating from home, portable QRP and mobile. 

Quote
I am not sure about this thing called contesting

I don't think I seriously participated in any contest (not counting FD) until I had been a ham almost 20 years. (And just to let you in on a little secret, Field Day is a contest...)  Same goes for making my first satellite contact.  So while a particular facet of ham radio may not grab your attention now, don't discount the idea that as you learn and grow in the hobby you should try different things.  And "contest" doesn't mean you build a K3LR superstation and dominate the standings.  Filling a few log pages during CQWW or Sweepstakes, or giving out some Q's during the WI QSO party is a lot of fun and not nearly the commitment of being a full blown "contester".

Quote
  I just am leery of plunking down cash on a used electronic item might last till I gone or it might smoke tomorrow.

"New" and "warranty" is not the same as quality, durability and reliability.  I know people that trade their cars in before the warranty is up because they think that if it craps out on the side of the road, somehow they won't be on the hook to resolve that.  But it's still crapped out on the side of the road, and that's your problem right now.  Not to mention the expense of paying a huge cost in depreciation at best just to keep a warranty in force.  I've been a ham a while and in radio and in my radio and personal life my solution to that is to have a backup.  Just as roadside assistance is no substitute for a spare tire, we have 2 cars, so if one is down for something I can still get to work.  Radios are no different.  I have more than one HF rig (way more than one...) so if one craps out, it gets moved to the repair bench and a different one gets put online.  In your case a 735 would make a dandy backup or portable rig along with a different primary rig in the shack.  You can get a premium used rig for about the same money as a mediocre new rig and enjoy the benefits of those additional features.  And so what it if it has a problem, "better" rigs tend to have pretty good factory and aftermarket support so chances are either you, or a qualified repair tech can probably fix it.  Meanwhile, you're still running on your backup rig.  Point of all this is don't get all caught up in the uncertainty of used gear because from my perspective a working used rig has a demonstrated reliability, vs the unknown of a new rig and the promise of a warranty.

Quote
now one is in Florida, one in AZ one in CA. Just can't win.

My vote is AZ... If and when I retire the XYL and I have decided we'll just move to whichever kid has the nicest house we can live with them in.  :-)

Mark K5LXP
Albuquerque, NM

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KL7CW
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Posts: 604




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« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2019, 10:08:11 AM »

Just put up a temporary (or permanent) antenna ASAP and get on the air with your old 735. Operate different modes and bands, the object being to find out what floats your boat.  If the 735 dies, or you really decide what features you want in a rig, only then buy a new (possibly) expensive rig.  You can order a new rig on line, or pick one up at a local dealer if one is available, and have it on the air in less than a week.  New rigs with new features, sales, and overall more bang for the buck happen yearly or possibly even more often.  It is not crazy to want the best if you have the financial resources and want to enjoy ham radio for your possibly last decade of life.  It is not logical, but I recently splurged on a fancy new expensive rig, when I had a perfectly good older rig.  However I have been an active ham for 65 years and knew exactly what I wanted and most important had the resources to do this without impoverishing our family.  Good luck on your future living arrangements.  For 50 years my wife and I have been trying to get any of our relatives to move to Alaska with us.  Still no luck.  Our daughters who live on the opposite sides of the planet have been trying to "outbid" each other trying to get us to move back to civilization by sending us literature, real estate adds, etc.  So try out an area before you make the plunge.  Some folks like warm places like AZ but other old retired for 20 year folks like us still enjoy our long winters, lots of snow, a few acres for our antenna farm, and no neighbors to bother us about our towers, wires, etc.           Rick  KL7CW          Palmer, Alaska   (north east of Anchorage)           
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KD9MRX
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« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2019, 11:51:11 AM »

Good afternoon Mr. Rick,
Let me start off by saying that none of this is going to strangle Ma and I living funds and i thought I might just plunk the money into some kind of fund but I do not think it is enough to make a dent in our financial well being. As of this moment I just got in from the front yard where I am hoisting a 40/20 meter Inverted V, I am not going to do any yapping just listen. Had to come in to give my back a rest as it is just total junk, I have three things that are on my bucket list and that is to get the big kahuna lic before the year is out and learn CW, I am on the fence about digital but I do think it would be exciting to bounce a signal off the moon. Antenna is now up (hope no bird / fowl hits the wire) and I have to go back out after a rest to attach the RG8 coax to it and then try and figure away into the house. Number two is buy a classic car one that I can drive and not worry about dings. Third is a nice radio, amplifier and either a scope or signal analyzer. What can anyone tell me about VHF/UHF in rough terms is this like the CB of the ham world.
Thank you all for your concern.
Jim
KD9MRX
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