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Got my first HF rig. How did I do?

Discussion in 'Discussions, Opinions & Editorials' started by KG4GHN, Feb 10, 2013.

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  1. KG4GHN

    KG4GHN Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am going to a local hamfest at the end of this month and upgrading to General. Been taking lots of practice tests on here and on an app for my iPhone.

    Bought my first HF kit off of a local guy and wondering if I did ok.

    I spent $600 and got a SGC SG-2020 transciever (only 20 watts but pretty good reviews), a Astron RM-35M 35 watt power supply, a MFJ dc connection board, and some sort of pre-made multi-band sloper antenna made by Alpha Delta communications. Also came with some random coax and some kind of super cheap mag mount antenna, probably CB or something.

  2. KC9VFO

    KC9VFO Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I am cheap a** so don't take this personally but I think I could have done better off Ebay with shipping. Good luck anyway have fun!
  3. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Congrats on all.

    I would not have recommended the SGC-2020 (having owned one), but it's already done, so enjoy it and hope it works okay for you.

    That power supply is a more expensive model: It's the rack-mount version, which costs more than the normal "desktop" model and is popular with repeater owners -- so you got a good deal on that.

    Good luck with the test!
  4. K7MH

    K7MH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ya gotta start somewhere! Nothing quite as exciting as getting your first HF rig on the air. If you got to check out the rig at the hamfest or know the seller that is certainly worth something.
    20 watts should do okay for you. Much better than QRP. Get it on the air and make some contacts.
    Some people will keep the same rig just about forever since it meets their needs but most will own a few (or a LOT) of them through the years as their interests, needs or desires change.
    Have fun!
  5. N0WYO

    N0WYO Ham Member QRZ Page

    20 watts will do you. Get it on the air!
  6. N9ZMO

    N9ZMO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Congrats, now get up on the air and start having some great fun.
  7. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Some really like the SGC-2020. I never did, but it does have some interesting attributes, including being pretty weather resistant if used outdoors without protection.

    I've never heard one, ever, that "sounds good" on SSB.:p And I've heard a lot of them over the years.

    But any rig is a lot better than no rig, and it should certainly make lots of contacts with the right antenna(s). Because they do have a small following, they also hold their value well and can probably be sold a few years from now for about the same price.:eek:

    The antenna is more important, anyway.
  8. WA4OTD

    WA4OTD XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I've never heard of this radio. For future reference, you will always get great advise on this site if you throw the question out here before you buy. I read the website about the radio and it sounds nice. Have you had it on the air yet? QRP 5 watts is a real challenge to me, the typical 100W out radio is standard for a reason and 20 watts is kind of in the middle so that is good.
  9. AD4DQ

    AD4DQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Im a cheapskate as well, 600 could get me 2-3 tube radios.... make me happy :) But if your happy with it then that's great! Have fun rag chewing and working DX......
  10. KG4GHN

    KG4GHN Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've not had it on the air yet as I am upgrading my license the 23rd of this month. I also do not have an HF antenna up so I can't listen yet. It does turn on and all of the buttons and stuff work.
  11. N9DSJ

    N9DSJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Nice building blocks; the Astron RM-35M will serve you well for ages (I hope). The SGC SG-2020 is a good rig but with 20 or so watts you might want to concentrate on CW or other digital modes. I usually operate at less power than that but just understand the limitations...

    As for the
    Alpha Delta sloper, a lot depends on how it is installed...slopers can be tricky but am sure you will work through it all..

    Good luck and enjoy the hobby; many facets so if you get discouraged just try something else.


    Bill N9DSJ
  12. KG4GHN

    KG4GHN Ham Member QRZ Page

    I didn't go with a tube radio because everybody says to stay away from them for your first radio.
  13. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I think the SGC2020 would be a fun radio to start with. 20 watts is plenty to make contacts. You can set that rig up to do digital soundcard modes. Even running it at half power, you'll be a 'big gun' on some of the digi modes like JT65HF. I'm trying to work Asians on 15 meters with 2 watts as I'm typing this. I don't have that much trouble with Europe, but Asia is a tougher route from here.

    I bought one of those 1/4 wave slopers from Alpha Delta by mistake, and I donated it to the local EOC. So far, they have been unable to figure out how to make it work - my guess is it's not grounded right at the feedpoint, but I don't seem to be able to communicate that idea.
  14. N0WYO

    N0WYO Ham Member QRZ Page

    To put that into better perspective, Take someone who's experienced with tube radios with you if you want to try them out. Then have them show you how to load and tune them and take care of them. They're a different animal, but if you like twisting knobs, you'll love 'em!:)
  15. KG4GHN

    KG4GHN Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm probably going to just build a dipole to start with. I was going to throw the sloper up today just to see if I could hear anything on it but I had a solder point break on it and my cheapo soldering iron from way back doesn't appear to work anymore. All of my old equipment got beat up from being in storage the last 6-7 years and being moved around.
  16. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Which Alpha-Delta sloper is it? They sell two.

    One is a single wire with traps in it, and it's a terrible antenna.:p The other one is a "twin sloper" with two wires fed from a common feedpoint and it can work very well (personal experience) but only if supported by a tower which serves as its ground return, and that takes some experimentation; but experimenting is fun and educational. It won't work well without a tower to support it.

    A dipole strung up in trees should work fine, but don't expect a single dipole to work multiple bands unless it's a 40m dipole, which should also work on 15m. A G5RV or ZS6BKW dipole design will work on multiple bands if you do it right.
  17. KG4GHN

    KG4GHN Ham Member QRZ Page

    It is the two wire version. I do not have a tower though. Probably going to go with the g5rv type when I make one.
  18. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The 2-wire sloper, if you read the A-D instructions, really requires a decent tower to make it work.

    And in my experience, they're right.

    If you make a G5RV, remember:

    1. Get it up high. The higher above ground, the better. 100 feet is never "too high.":eek:

    2. It's an antenna that actually works on 80-40-20-12 meters. If you want to use it on other bands, it will not be effective. But those four bands have a lot of stuff to work, so it's not a problem.

    3. I hear guys using G5RVs on 17m, 15m and 10m. They ALWAYS have lousy signals because it's a lousy antenna on those bands.

    4. Life is long, the sky is blue, the grass is green, and everyone has room for multiple antennas, so experiment and find what works best for you.:eek:
  19. KA9MOT

    KA9MOT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Forget the G5RV. Build yourself an OCF dipole for lowest band you have room for. It's multibanded so you'll need no tuner and a good performer. Another good multiband antenna is a fan dipole. Avoid wire antennas with traps (coils) in them unless you have no other choice.

    Check out: Antenna.pdf

    Use 14G stranded THHN house wire from Lowes (cheap and tough).

    The important things first:

    1. Get something in the air. Make it the best you can afford, but get it in the air.
    2. Get it as high up as you can afford. If you can only afford 20 feet (supports, etc) that is infinitely better than no antenna at all.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2013
  20. K5TRI

    K5TRI XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I second that. I had a G5RV jr. up in my backyard and wasn't quite that happy with it. Couldn't hear much. Then I built a OCF dipole for 40m and it
    was like somebody suddenly switched the bands on. Night and day difference. Worked plenty of DX and QRP with about $20 in parts.

    73 Mike K5TRI
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