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  #1  
Old 11 December 2011, 23:14
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Twogun Twogun is offline
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Ham Radio Guys?

Any Ham radio guys on here? If so need a rec for a rig. I was an old commo guy and want to set up a station in the basement and teach my 9 year old tricks of the trade. I worked the 104 but am looking for a modern radio (and used 104's run around $1800. Any suggestions on a decent rig less than a grand would be appreciated.
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Old 12 December 2011, 09:54
phoenixtriad phoenixtriad is offline
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Self-confessed radio dork right here, been on the air for nearly my entire life.

Do you have a license yet? What class of operating privileges are you aiming to have?

If you have questions about licensing, your best bet would be to check out the ARRL website.

That being said, your radio shopping should be based on where you can legally work, unless you plan on upgrading license class in the future.

Are you taking into account a good antenna system? As I am sure you know, the antenna is 80 to 90% of the effectiveness of your setup. Keep that in mind if you start getting tempted by radios whose prices hover around the top of your budget.

Personally I usually purchase used radios from reputable dealers, most of whom offer a house warranty these days (AES, HRO, etc.) I figure that any initial problems the radios had were taken care of by the time it got into my hands. I have got some nearly too-good-to-be-true deals from some of these larger vendors, by calling and explaining exactly what I wanted, and requesting they notify my when it arrived.
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Old 12 December 2011, 10:23
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Thanks for the response. My goal is just to have a project with my boy that he can take some ownership in, including building antennas in the backyard and testing them. I have investigated radios to death but am worse off for it as reviews are all over the map. If you had to buy a rig now and didn't want to break the bank which brand(s) would you look at? And models. I am okay with just HF. Eventually want to teach him code.
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  #4  
Old 12 December 2011, 10:35
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Yaesu 101's can had cheap. These are older type radios that have tubes and require tuning.
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  #5  
Old 12 December 2011, 11:15
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CCo275 CCo275 is offline
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I have a HAM license but wouldn't claim to be an expert. I can get you in touch with my Uncle is a nut about this stuff. He talks to Mars on his equipment and knows everything about amateur radio. PM me if you need more info.
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  #6  
Old 12 December 2011, 14:33
phoenixtriad phoenixtriad is offline
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Based on your needs, IMHO, if you want an "all in one" radio that won't be obsolete for years to come, I would invest in a used Kenwood TS2000. A nice used example will be right at the top of your budget, however based on reviews I have read and word-of-mouth, you will not be disappointed. I do not own one, but based on what I have heard about them, they are the best bang for the buck in the market these days. My second choice would be the tried-and-true Icom 706MkIIG. There are tens of thousands of them in operation and there have been for years, tons on online owners' groups, modifications, etc. I use one as a base station. I do plan on upgrading to a TS2000 once I have my home built next summer.

The ARRL antenna handbook, while somewhat dry, is a great source for antenna building info for a ham of any experience level. Personally I feel there is no need to invest lots of money in tons of fancy antenna theory books-- once you have read one book and applied the principles to projects you build, you will get the hang of the science behind it and not need many references. Though there is quite a bit of a difference between, say, making a J-pole or dipole versus a rhombic, once you understand the concepts and how they are applied to working projects in real life, you will not need to keep referring to the books except for construction guidance on larger projects.
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  #7  
Old 12 December 2011, 20:34
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The ICOM 706 (mentioned above) and the Yaesu FT-857D are both multi-band, and small enough to be used in a vehicle, but have plenty of features that would make a good base unit. Getting one with a built-in "auto-tuner" adds to the cost, but makes it easy to switch between different antennas.
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Old 13 December 2011, 13:57
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Find a local ham radio club and join up. I've seen older hams 'donate' equipment to beginners.

I had a HS school club once, and had four 2m mobile rigs, some packet equipment, a power supply, and an excellent Heathkit set donated by widows of hams for our use.

73...
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  #9  
Old 16 December 2011, 11:12
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Thanks boys for the insight. I am going to head to a HAM radio fair in February to see what I can find.
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  #10  
Old 12 February 2012, 14:34
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I missed this thread. HAM op here.
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  #11  
Old 14 February 2012, 15:58
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I hold a Technician-class, although I've never actually used it and own no amateur equipment. But then I also hold a General Radiotelephone Operator License and graduated the 05B and ASI -A4 courses at the US Army Signal School.
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  #12  
Old 14 February 2012, 23:55
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ag4tj ag4tj is offline
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If you want to do HF just at the house and experiment with antennas in the backyard/roof, I would go with the ICOM 718 new from the store, cheapest way to go, I've had one almost as long as I have been an 18E.

If you are thinking about doing any backpacking at all, (like what we used to do with 104's) I would go with the Yaesu FT-817 (if 10 watts is enough) or the FT-897 if you want 20 watts on battery and the full 100w plugged into external power at the house.

The leg key from the PRC-70 kit works fine with all of the above, just re-wire it with the right connector.


But remember, that 5 to 10 seconds of clicking on your 104 was tens of thousands of latching relay combinations attempting to match the impedance of your antenna.

You can buy something similar (tuner) for your radio, or you can buy a meter to teach your kid how to match the antenna to the operating frequency, or both.
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  #13  
Old 15 February 2012, 00:12
Esquire122 Esquire122 is offline
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WX4AL here. Extra class. I am the Assistant Section EC for Alabama.
I am an active member of ARES and SKYWARN at the Section Level.

You can catch me every Sunday on 3965khz as Net Control for the
Alabama Emergency Net at 2100Z. Around 2130-2140Z you can find me
again on D-Star Reflector 2B. For HF: Yaesu FT-840, MFJ Intellituner,
Ameritron AL-811 and a trap-dipole NVIS antenna for EMCOMM work.
Dual-Band Icom-880H for 2m/70cm analog FM and D-Star.

If you like doing RTTY, PSK-31, and other sound card digital modes,
I also do a digital net on Sundays at 2030Z on 3570khz.

Drop by the net some time.

Respectfully,
Esquire
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Old 5 April 2012, 07:03
LRSCommoDaddy LRSCommoDaddy is offline
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KJ4ETG
I'm a General Class but working on my Extra Class; the math is pure torture.
For Radio's I have a Yaesu FT-60R handheld and an Yaesu FT-7800r mobile rig. I bought the handheld new and the mobile used and they have both served me very well. I'm trying to save up for a Yaesu FT-897 which will allow me to work mobile VHF/UHF/HF. I've been doing radio stuff since the mid to late 90's so let me know if you have any questions.
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  #15  
Old 5 April 2012, 14:30
wowzers wowzers is offline
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My Dad who has had his license since the sixties finally talked me into geting a Technician license. He can't stop telling me how easy the new licenses are compared to when he tested. I purchased a UV-3R for my first rig off ebay.
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  #16  
Old 9 May 2012, 13:36
Domino Domino is offline
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I've been a ham for 53 years this month.

At the moment I have a Icom 706MKIIG, an amazing little radio that works DC to daylight, about the size of a large book, 100 watts max, that does nothing really really well but does everything OK. They run $500-$800 sometimes with the separation kit, optional filters. They are complicated to operate, though, daunting for a newb perhaps. I still have the manual within easy reach even after some years of using it. It will do almost anything if you know how to mash the buttons. I just bought a Ten-tec Omni VI. Ten-tecs are good radios for the most part, simple to operate which the 706 is not.

A good resource is QRZ.com for all sorts of info including an online swap meet. Also test questions, forums for all sorts of interests, gear, etc.

Finding a nearby ham to befriend would be a really good idea. Look for them on N4MC website, locating hams in your neighborhood, by zip code.

The biggest factor of your operating enjoyment is the antenna. Old timers like me say that for every $100 you spend on a station, $90 ought to go to the antenna, $9 on the receiver and $1 on the transmitter. Now days with the ubiquity of transceivers, it's $10 on the radio.

Good on you for getting your kid into radio. It's not a hobby but more of a disease ;>) and has been very good for my brother and me, learning lots and staying out of trouble even after all these years.
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  #17  
Old 24 May 2012, 00:57
Fortress Fortress is offline
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I have been looking at HAM radio myself for some time, but just haven't pulled the trigger on it. Ideally I would like something that I can use at home, if I ever get there, and also transfer to my vehicle. Gonna research vehicle antennas seeing everyone here says it's mainly the antenna and not necessarily the radio. Thanks for all the info.

D
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  #18  
Old 24 May 2012, 16:40
Nags Nags is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaplain View Post
The ICOM 706 (mentioned above) and the Yaesu FT-857D are both multi-band, and small enough to be used in a vehicle, but have plenty of features that would make a good base unit. Getting one with a built-in "auto-tuner" adds to the cost, but makes it easy to switch between different antennas.
I concur on the ICOM 706MKII, small and portable and yet can be used as a base at your home. I used to wrap mine up and take it with me on deployments. Pick up a power convertor for it so you can run it off of household power, and a good SWR meter.

I got my HAM license a while ago when I was an 18E on an ODA. I was told by my Team Sgt, that any good Commo Sgt should have a HAM license for when their team is deployed. That way they could make HF comms back to the States where another HAM operator could do a phone patch so you could effectively call home to the wife or girlfriend from the middle of anywhere that your team was deployed. I haven't been on the air in a few years, but I think I may get back into it soon. Still have all my gear, just need to bust it out and power it on.

I used an Outbacker Antenna when I would take my 706 out on the boat. I had a 28ft Cabin Cruiser and I would set it up on there and make HF shots. That antenna seemed to work pretty could for a mobile HF antenna. You would cut it to freq by just moving a plug from one position on the antenna to another, very easy to use.
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  #19  
Old 26 May 2012, 07:36
thebastidge thebastidge is offline
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Fairly new ham operator here as well: technician class. Studying for General. I don't haev any gear yet, but looking for a Yaesu or Kenwood to start up my collection. As I'm in Afghansitan for the next few months, I probably will take my time on looking.
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  #20  
Old 26 May 2012, 22:49
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Check out the web page: hamtestonline.com It helped me get my General.
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- George Washington
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