706mkiig, AH-4, RE-20, where to start?

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by KC3AJV, Dec 14, 2019.

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  1. KC3AJV

    KC3AJV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I need some help on where you guys would start tinkering, based on the gear I have. I am extremely fortunate to have access to the following gear from my father, who no longer pursues ham radio.

    Baofeng UV-82wp (I did buy this one)
    Icom 2720 dual band mobile rig (w/HM-133v mic connected to Tram dual band NMO style mag mount)
    706mkiig (w/Icom power supply and HM-100n mic)
    AH-4 tuner (missing weatherproofing gasket, unsure if still functional)
    RE-20 microphone with xlr cable and boom

    I only have my Technician license, and currently have the 706 hooked to a dual band 2m/70cm dipole antenna. I have had some good fun with crossband repeat and calling in to the local nets, simplex, etc.

    I started enjoying ham radio in 2012, but got busy with life and haven't done much other than the basic VHF/UHF stuff mentioned above. As I mentioned, my gear is being handed down to me (no way I could acquire this gear on my own), so any projects I undertake need to only use the above gear.

    I have in my head a few projects to keep me engaged in the hobby:

    -Build an HF antenna for txing on 10M
    -Build an HF antenna for rxing more HF bands
    -Test AH-4 for functionality or repair using above antennas
    -Build an xlr-icom 8-pin modular RJ-45 cable
    -Build a 48v phantom power supply
    -I am validated through echolink but haven't ever used it, so set that up and learn the system
    -Build a handheld VHF/UHF yagi for satellite work w/HT

    If you guys had the above equipment, where would you start? I know I listed stuff in many different directions, and will get many different answers....but I'm hoping to cobble together an idea of where I can get the most bang for my buck and if there is a typical "start here" point. Unfortunately my Father is not able to give guidance.

    Oh, and I can wire and solder very well but have only a basic electronic theory understanding if that helps in giving and direction (NAVSEA 2M certified mini and micro 2000-2005 and NASA IPC J standard with space addendum currently)
    WW2PT likes this.
  2. WW2PT

    WW2PT Ham Member QRZ Page

    First thing I’d do if I were a Tech would be to get some wire in the air for HF and work some CW on 80, 40, and 15 meters. The 706 is a good little radio, I used to have one in my car when they first came out and worked tons of DX while driving to and from work every day.

    If you’re more interested in FM and repeaters than chasing DX on the HF bands, the sell everything to fund some more modern gear capable of digital voice (Yaesu Fusion would be my choice) and build yourself a Pi-Star hotspot with a Raspberry Pi.

    Good luck!
    KC3AJV and WB5YUZ like this.
  3. KC3AJV

    KC3AJV Ham Member QRZ Page

    WW2PT, thanks for the input. I do want to experiment on HF, and cut my teeth on 10 meters.

    I read a lot online about guys running the 706 mobile. I guess it was designed for that, and people received it's design for that use pretty well.

    As far as my direction, I guess I questioned whether guys exhaust the VHF/UHF stuff before jumping in to HF. I realize people are different and not everyone takes the same route. I guess diving into this hobby I was just curious if there was an "order" of operations. From your post, it sounds like it's just whatever a person is interested in!
    WW2PT likes this.
  4. US7IGN

    US7IGN Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have the same setup and it is awesome!

    I use it outdoor


    KC3AJV likes this.
  5. W1VT

    W1VT Ham Member QRZ Page

    As a 15 year old kid I upgraded to General from Technician before getting on the air. There are even more advantages to do this today, as the popular digital modes aren't available to Techs on the 80 through 15 meter bands. 10M was a good band when I first got on the air. We are at a sunspot minimum so 10 isn't expected to be good for years. There was a lot of slow speed CW activity when I first got on the air. There is still a lot of CW, but mostly among older hams going 20 wpm+.
    KC3AJV likes this.
  6. WL7PM

    WL7PM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Scrounge up a few insulators and 130 feet of wire, cut wire in half, improvise a feed line from your HF rig to the middle of your 65 foot "radiators". elevate as much as possible. obtain or construct an On-Off 'key' and look for some beginners sending CW around 3550kc, and/or 7040 kc ( You'll need to add a couple parallel "radiators" around 33 feet long to the antenna feed point for 40 meters ) .... listen a lot, copy as you can, and then answer some calls.

    ... Upgrade to General

    Don't know what to say about your UHF/ VHF gear.... Never got into boonbounce myself, seemed like a rich man's hobby.
    KC3AJV likes this.
  7. AA4PB

    AA4PB Ham Member QRZ Page

    You mentioned building a 48V phantom power supply. The RE20 mike is a dynamic that doesn't use phantom power. The Icom radio does put out 8V of phantom power to power the Icom electret mikes. If you connect the RE20 to the Icom you'll have to add a capacitor in series with the mike audio lead to block the 8V. Otherwise the RE20 will short the phantom power and possibly damage the radio.
    KC3AJV likes this.
  8. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    And possibly damage the RE20. Dynamic mikes don't do well with applied DC bias.

    I'd also advise: Upgrade to General, build a multi-band HF dipole, install it, and start working the HF bands below 10 meters. 20m, 40m, 80m are the hot bands nowadays and it could be years before 10m recovers for F2 propagation.
    KC3AJV likes this.
  9. W1VT

    W1VT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes, I just worked the last 40 or so countries for DXCC on 40M Phone with wires antennas strung between trees between 30 to 40 feet. The CQ WW contest weekend. :) It may be some time before the average ham can expect to work than many on 10 meter SSB with a big Yagi on a tower.

    Zak W1VT
    KC3AJV likes this.
  10. K7MH

    K7MH Ham Member QRZ Page

    I made a few of the 8 pin to RJ45 adapters for the 706. Not really hard to do. I used a piece of cat cable (maybe cat5, I don't remember) and cut a section of it about 6 inches long that already had the RJ45 connector on it. Much simpler that way and works fine. Remember to use the correct orientation of the connector when wiring it to the 8 pin plug. There will also be a couple of wires from the RJ45 that are crossed over each other as I recall. So, they don't come out of the RJ45 the same way they come out of the cut pigtail. You have to be careful of that. You can get 8 pin connectors that have a housing which is handy and the best way to go. You can also use a regular panel mount 8 pin jack. I did a few times and cut a piece of K&S brass tubing from a hardware or hobby store that fit over the threads (the right size tubing is a perfect fit) and soldered it onto the threads after wiring and testing the 8 pin. Then I just filled it with silicone RV sealer to protect the wiring inside it. I probably still have a couple of them around here. I still use one of them with a 706 Mk2.
    KC3AJV likes this.

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