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Discussion Starter #1
So, now that I have a general where do I start? I've got a handheld I'm happy with for now, but I want something for my house that's more powerful. I've spent some time on eham reading reviews and my head is spinning. I'm leaning towards Yaesu, but even then am having trouble picking a model. I'd appreciate any help and advice you all could give me.
 

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W8OVP here. I have an old ICOM 730 for HF that I like a lot. It was my first rig, then I sold it for a Kenwood. Sold the Kenwood to the guy that bought my 730 and got the 730 back in the deal. Simple little rig, matching power supply and external speaker. I have a 40 ft tower up with a Cushcraft A3S on it - a dear friend of my grand dad's sent it to me from Texas. For VHf, I have an ICOM 2000H that I keep in the house with a vertical mounted above the A3. I can get the repeaters in Columbus without trouble - about 50-60 miles with 50watts.

Congrats on the general. Keep going, advanced isn't out of reach at all. That's where I stopped.

My callsign belonged to my great uncle in the 40s and 50s. When the FCC opened up vanity, I applied for that CS to honor him. My uncles and dad got a kick out of it.
 

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I'd like to get into SW when I get home, seems like a cool skill/hobby.

Would you recommend finding a near by club to get started? I know virtually nothing about it.
 

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Zombie - first, THANK YOU for your service, sir! Much appreciated.

Yeah, I would recommend finding a local club or at least try to find an old ham that can help you. They call those guys that help you out your "Elmer". I had a good friend that helped me a lot starting out. If you end up in or near Ohio, I'd do all I could to help you. And then there's always the internet here too.
 

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I'm not to sure about the 'elmer' route. There are some well seasoned old coots out there that would love to unload old junk in your direction. The logical question once you have the stuff is where do you unload it when you're ready to move up?

Elmers are fair to good when you have a specific problem --sometimes-- case in point: I've been chasing a 90hertz click for almost a year; got it localized to the metal roofed carport out front of the garage and light sensing outdoor flood lights. How do I 'turn that off' to confirm the problem. Best Elmer advice: tear it down. OoooKkkkk, I'll get right on that when the spouse gives her blessing.

I will second the find a club suggestion. Shop around, some are just social clubs for entertaining retirees. Others actively pursue nothing but ham fests and field day. You want one with a good technical sub-group and then you take a seat and do a lot of listening.

I got a Yaseu Ft-857D as my first up from the handheld. The selling point was VHF/UHF in the same rig. The output on VHF/UHF is a bit low but we have a great statewide repeater system that covers everything and club membership is only 30 buck/year. I also got the 300Hz and 2500Hz IF filters and the TXCO higher stability oscillator (from a different/cheaper source). Also an auto tuner and a comet vertical antenna to meet local CCR. It's enough radio.

For grins I found a great deal on a very slightly used 897 with the above add-ins so I bought the ATAS antenna for the car and can move the 857 into the same wiring harness and mount used by a second VHF/UHF radio. Now I can do HF from the car when my wife isn't looking.

Originally for the car I picked the 8900 (same company) and the matching antenna stuck on a diamond 400 series lip mount. Scored a 7900 too and run both for public service events. It's like having three receivers!

Congrats on the license upgrade!

John, AE5RY
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'd like to get into SW when I get home, seems like a cool skill/hobby.

Would you recommend finding a near by club to get started? I know virtually nothing about it.
SW is a lot of fun. If you get into HAM you can have the best of both worlds.

A few portable SW radio suggestions are the Amazon.com: Sony ICF-SW7600GR AM/FM Shortwave World Band Receiver with Single Side Band Reception: Electronics and the Amazon.com: Kaito KA1102 - Portable radio: Electronics

Here are a few links that might help you if you wanted to get into HAM

eHam.net Home - Amateur Radio (Ham Radio) Community Site

American Radio Relay League | ARRL - The national association for AMATEUR RADIO

QRZ.COM Callsign Database
 

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I'm still stuck with my tech...I gotta get me a General license!

I have a 2 meter HT..its a Chinese spinoff Puxing PX-777+..I built me a "fantenna" using one of those metal fan shrouds, a 19.5ish length of 10 gauge romex copper...I can hit the repeater in downtown H-Town over 30 miles away with 5 watts. My Yaesu FT-2900R can pump out 75 watts..but all I have is a cheap mag mount CB antenna I tuned for 146mhz.

I am trying to get me a TNC (Signalink USB) so I can connect to WinLink..I have to use 2 meter until I get a General license...then go after HF
 

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Congrats on your General, I have had my Tech for about 13 years and still use a Yaesu HT VX model. I grab it every storm and listen to the local police and national weather doing on the ground storm reports. If I were in your shoes I would look real hard at the Yaesu line.
 

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So given that one of HAMs benefits is that you can stay in contact with the outsde world even in a major disaster, how do you provide for emergency power to your systems?
 

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So given that one of HAMs benefits is that you can stay in contact with the outsde world even in a major disaster, how do you provide for emergency power to your systems?

For emergency power I would have a decent generator. You can either power the radio directly from it or if you have the correct equipment you can recharge batteries to run the radios. Also the generator can be used to power other items. As a compromise you may be able to use solar cells for power or charging batteries.
 

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So given that one of HAMs benefits is that you can stay in contact with the outside world even in a major disaster, how do you provide for emergency power to your systems?
A couple of deep cycle batteries and a few square feet of solar collector with necessary circuitry is all you need to keep a modern transceiver operational for as long as the sun shines. In receive the radio draws very little current; I've kept one dual band radio (VHF/UHF, 50 W transmitter) on a single 90A battery for more than a week (receive only).

Given that amateur radio operators have adapted and adopted a considerable amount of efficient jargon (along with retaining (CW) and developing (DIGITAL) modes more efficient than voice), transmission times are often very short. During field day a year ago I saw two radios outputting 100w each run successfully on just 3 deep cycle batteries for 24 hours and over 500 contacts for each radio. At the end of the cycle one radio could only receive but the other was transmitting in the final minutes of the event; one battery was fully discharged.

I've got an HT (Handie Talkie) that covers 3 bands and a small fold-up solar collector for charging cell phones. I've kept the radio operational for weeks checking in with friends 3-4 times a day and letting it recharge continuously.


Passing the first element (technician test) insures that the operator has enough math and science knowledge to size batteries for radio requirements but there are also a number of aids and plenty of other amateurs to offer advice. The ARRL journal QST has article on emergency power on a recurring basis; last month had a whole house and workshop system.


You might be surprised at how often amateurs are put into emergency relief. One evening last fall about a week after a particularly severe cold snap here in the SW, commercial electric power and the telephone system across the entire lower half of NM went dark. Everything from edge to edge south of about Socorro, NM, all power, telephone, 911 and OEM systems off.

Several volunteers went immediately to the main offices of emergency management in those small cities affected, set-up portable amateur radio operations and the call went out for help. Within 30 minutes more than 50 amateur radio operators were providing dispatch service for all emergency services, am information center and additional mobile operators helping to coordinate the power and 911 phone systems repairs.

The event lasted about 6 hours and except for the first 30 minutes or so, civilians in the affected area never knew the full extent of the situation. In fact when told they were in contact with amateurs while calling for fire, rescue or police assistance the comment was often "Good, someone who will do it right!". No news media made mention of the event in the days to follow. Had I not listen during most of the time of the event, I wouldn't have known either!

True to form, amateurs secured their help, the nets and those operators wishing to retire for the night and then IMMEDIATELY began a lengthy self critique. It was incredible.
 

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You might be surprised at how often amateurs are put into emergency relief. One evening last fall about a week after a particularly severe cold snap here in the SW, commercial electric power and the telephone system across the entire lower half of NM went dark. Everything from edge to edge south of about Socorro, NM, all power, telephone, 911 and OEM systems off.

Several volunteers went immediately to the main offices of emergency management in those small cities affected, set-up portable amateur radio operations and the call went out for help. Within 30 minutes more than 50 amateur radio operators were providing dispatch service for all emergency services, am information center and additional mobile operators helping to coordinate the power and 911 phone systems repairs.

The event lasted about 6 hours and except for the first 30 minutes or so, civilians in the affected area never knew the full extent of the situation. In fact when told they were in contact with amateurs while calling for fire, rescue or police assistance the comment was often "Good, someone who will do it right!". No news media made mention of the event in the days to follow. Had I not listen during most of the time of the event, I wouldn't have known either!

True to form, amateurs secured their help, the nets and those operators wishing to retire for the night and then IMMEDIATELY began a lengthy self critique. It was incredible.
That's a great story. I went to Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training in my area and they talked about how HAM operators are part of the disaster plan. I would definitely like to get involved when I get back. Thanks for all the great info!
 
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