New to Ham radio and DX........

Discussion in 'The DX Zone' started by KE9RJM, Apr 30, 2018.

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  1. WA7WJR

    WA7WJR XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hi Bob, I was too narrow in my original reply and focused on the DX. The Museum Ships weekend and other special event stations are always fun (and educational). Another good one coming up July 1st - 7th is the 13 Colonies special event. ( Along with DX I also keep an eye out for 3 letter call signs which are special event stations here in US. International special event stations are harder to figure out..but I have found that some international special event stations use longer than normal call signs (e.g. >6 letters/numbers) :)

    Another link you want to include in your browser's favorites is It lists many up-coming contests around the world, as well as State QSO parties (for chasing WAS, or counties in each state.). FYI...there is the ASIA-PACIFIC SSB SPRINT on June 9th.

    In boater's vernacular I suspect you have a case of 2 foot-itis. Meaning, I suspect you got bit by the bug and you want to upgrade, but with limited budget you are looking for a quick fix to satisfy your new passion for chasing signals.

    My advice is to stick with what you have for now. I used a homebrew inverted G5RV for a year before putting up a KIO hexbeam which has worked pretty nice for my second year but is limited to 20 meters and above, so I still have a homebrew 40/80 trap wire dipole and an end-fed half wave wire antennas stretched across the yard.

    So, why do I say stick with what you have for now?

    Because I just invested in a 60 ft. tower, and a SteppIr DB36 antenna that I will put up in a month or 2. If I would have waited a few months I would have realized the hexbean (although a nice antenna) was not my dream antenna configuration. Honestly, I knew it at the time, but I wanted a reasonably priced directional antenna to throw up on the roof while I saved my pennies for the tower system. In retrospect, I could have saved several hundred dollars by waiting another year and been that much closer (money wise) to my dream transceiver. But, after dropping a load money on the tower and antenna, I'll continue to use my Icom 7410 with AL811H amp, and Elecraft K2/100 and wait another year or so to get my dream Elecraft K3s setup (unless I can convince Santa to be really really good to me this year. :)

    So, basically what I am saying is get some more experience and time under your belt with your current rig. Read a lot of blogs, forums, magazines, etc. and take some time to really figure out what type of antenna system you can put in your yard, and what transceiver system has the bells and whistles you want and is within financial reach.

    Also, one final thought...if you really are hell bent on upgrading...for SSB work, in my opinion, your biggest bang for the buck would be a good antenna and amplifier and wait on upgrading your transceiver.
  2. KE9RJM

    KE9RJM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Unfortunately I am limited by the city rules to 35 feet overall height and my subdivision lot is not conducive to much other than either a small tower or a vertical with some buried radials located very close to the house. Not an ideal situation by any means but I would like to make the most of what i have to work with. The biggest issue i had over the weekend way that my IC-718 is not very good at discriminating weak I am hoping to get something which has enough filtering capability to help with that.

  3. N6RGR

    N6RGR Ham Member QRZ Page


    I would use the $3500 as follows:
    $1,150 for an Icom IC-7300;
    $$1,550 for StepIR Big IR Mark IV vertical antenna with 80 meter coil (good for small real estate situations);
    $800 remaining - Used amplifier - preferably a tube amp such as a Ameritron AL-80B, or Heathkit SB-220 OR buy lots of wire and build a multi-band fan dipole.

    I have an Icom IC-7200 which is a pretty decent transceiver and when I decide to upgrade it probably will be to a IC-7300 or maybe an Icom Ic-7600. The rule of thumb most old timers will pass on to you is to spend 60% or more of your budget on your antenna. A great antenna system will make even a mediocre transceiver into a "good" transceiver. Since you have the height restriction, wire antennas at 45-feet will do a pretty good job, or a 1/4 wave vertical will also do an decent job as long as you have lots of ground radials.

    Good luck and good DX!! I also enjoy contacting the Museum ships, the Route 66 contest and contacting Lighthouses.

    Roger N6RGR
  4. KE9RJM

    KE9RJM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thank you, took the first step and got the IC-7300 while the sale+rebate is going on at DX engineering. Now working on the antenna....
    AA6YQ likes this.
  5. K2CQW

    K2CQW Ham Member QRZ Page

    You are absolutely right. I am almost goddam 80 years old and you kids can definitely play on my lawn.
  6. K2CQW

    K2CQW Ham Member QRZ Page

    All it takes are looks and a whole lot of money.
  7. K2CQW

    K2CQW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Sign up fot LoTW, install N1MM+, work the contests. Easy.

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