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

    Wow guys! Thank you for all the input. Lots of things for me to consider.

    I have been studying the general exam material, and hopefully will go for the exam soon - although, I know there is still a lot I can learn within the technician bands. I guess there's no reason I cant continue to learn what's possible on 2M/70cm while explore the HF world.

    US7IGN, good to know this gear works for you. How high up are you running your setup?

    I've read that 10M is poor right now. Really, as a technician I really just want to start building stuff to get better at buying stuff, and if I can make a few contacts on 10M, great, while I listen on other bands.

    I dont think I can do 65' radiators with the property I have, but I guess I never did explain what might be possible for me. I've been watching lots of videos and reading articles on antenna construction, and I think I have enough material to cobble something together - just cant make it 65' on both sides.

    I could have sworn I read that the RE-20 is a 48V phantom mic, but I very well may have been reading about the wrong model, or about a variant. I did read about icons need capacitors in line to block the 8V for some mics.

    With two guys supporting the no 48V, I'm inclined to believe the RE-20 does not need 48V phantom. I am leaning more towards the mti band dipole at the moment. Seems like that gets me the most action for the least effort and will allow me to learn the most.

    The things I read are possible with wire and a few trees really only pushes me more towards the multibrand dipole antenna project.

    Thanks for that info. The brass tubing idea caught me....was that for strain relief? The panel mount also confuses me....the RJ-45 could just plug in to the radio, so was the panel jack a microphone "bus" of sorts with multiple jacks? I think I'm picking up about 50% of what your putting down.

    Fellas, thanks again. I think I'm sold on the dipole and AH-4 project first, and going for me general exam next. I can always "perfect" my audio with the RE-20 after I figure out what the hell to do on HF! Kinda pointless to have a nice mic when I cant use it to transmit....

    As for the handheld yagi and satellite comms, that can be something I keep in my back pocket. That seems like a really tricky thing to do anyway, having to be available at just the right time, with great conditions. Seems thrilling for sure, but hard to get right with such little windows of time to practice.
  2. US7IGN

    US7IGN Ham Member QRZ Page

    I use this kit to work outside the city, where there are no noise and HOA restrictions, and there is a lot of space and just beautiful.
    Recently, in a forest where there is enough space for wires, the tuner has become completely unnecessary and I use an antenna analyzer to tune the antenna.
    Usually I pick a tall pine and with fishing rod throw the load through the branch as high as possible, then I release the load and tie a thick fishing line to a thin fishing line and wind it on a reel until the thick line comes back to me. I’m already tying the antenna wire or the central dipole insulator to it and raising it to a height of 20 meters.

    I prefer wire GP on 80m and dipoles or loops to the bands above.

    A lot of useful information here https://k0bg.com/
    WW2PT and KC3AJV like this.
  3. KC3AJV

    KC3AJV Ham Member QRZ Page

    US7IGN, that awesome. Very versatile. I somewhat understand why you're explaining, but I think I need to understand antennas better to fully get it. Either way, I can see how that trick gets it way up in the air!
    Thanks for the link too.
  4. WW2PT

    WW2PT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Two things are certain: There are many different ways to enjoy this hobby, and no matter what you do there will be people on QRZ telling you you’re doing it wrong! Lol!

    Decide for yourself what ham radio means to you and just do it. When I was a kid, the things that attracted me to ham radio were chasing DX and operating QRP. After I was licensed, I got into RTTY and AMTOR (the original digital modes), OSCAR satellites, and contesting. Very little time was spent on CW until (26 years later!) I decided to concentrate on that, and I’ve been nearly 100% CW ever since. I never enjoyed the VHF/UHF repeater scene that much, yet I’ve recently become fascinated with the brave new world of digital voice (Fusion, DMR) and have embraced that. So there is always something new to try. The key is to learn as much as you can and keep an open mind to trying new things—or old things like CW, if that’s appealing to you—and have fun. :D
    KC3AJV and AA4MY like this.
  5. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    RE-20 does not require phantom power. It's a low-Z dynamic mike with an built-in transformer and although I've never tried this, I'd think if you applied 48Vdc to it, you'd damage or destroy the transformer. Don't do that. I've had an RE-20 for many years -- it's a very, very good microphone and not many hams would bother spending that much money on a microphone.:p I mostly use a Heil PR40 on the air, and the PR40 is kind of an RE-20 knockoff.
    KC3AJV likes this.
  6. KC3AJV

    KC3AJV Ham Member QRZ Page

    This is where I have mainly struggled for the past few years. After first getting the license, I got the 2m/70cm stuff set up and have done some of the easy stuff there. I bought some RTL-SDR dongles, and planned on setting up a dual dongle trunking system to pick up some of the local DMR systems, but never did put that system together. Then I started reading all about Echolink, got validated, but didn't do that either. Last night I hooked up the AH-4 and a 25' long wire. I haven't tried the system out yet, but plan to this week.
    I seem to have a habit or reading for weeks about a subject, gathering the necessary equipment, but either second guessing my abilities or becoming distracted with life before I ever start fabrication and testing. I think what I really desire is to communicate - and the VHF/UHF nets didn't really quite satisfy me there, and the trunking DMR stuff was interesting, but I wasn't motivated enough because it is just for receive (I'm not terribly interested in hearing the local casino, Fire, Police, EMS - I really just wanted to set up that system because the equipment was cheap and I wanted to see if I could do it). I know there are still things like packet and APRS with VHF/UHF that might keep me going in those bands, but I would need some additional equipment, and I feel I should utilize the SDR stuff I bought before I buy anything else....
    I have the AH-4, coax, and enough wire to play around for a while. I know my communication abilities are limited with just the Technician license, but hopefully tuning in some stuff on different bands with the AH-4 will help me understand HF better, while I study for the General. Once I have that license, and I understand the HF equipment a little better, I think I'll be able to better satisfy my desire to reach out and communicate.
    I really appreciate your comments, and the comments for everyone else as well.
    WW2PT likes this.
  7. KC3AJV

    KC3AJV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I completely understand that! I'm fortunate to have access to this equipment. The mic was bought with some other studio recording stuff years ago while my brother and I we were playing music together. Most of the equipment has been sold now, but my Dad held on to an RE-20 and some cables because he planned on hooking it up to one of his radios. At some point I will figure out how to hook this thing up to the 706mkiig. For now. I think I'll focus on getting a good antenna up. Thank you, for the info on the RE-20. I likely went down a rabbit hole on the internet, reading too much about things I don't fully understand, and coming to incorrect conclusions!
    WA3VJB likes this.
  8. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    If you don't want to fabricate something for the RE-20, there are prefabricated cable assemblies available that are XLR-3 to RJ-45 and even include the blocking capacitor built into the cable assembly...probably in the $30-40 range.

    Whether the RE-20 has enough output to really drive the Icom (to full modulation), I really don't know. But it may be worth a try.

    These studio dynamic mikes are wonderful but often don't have a lot of output and rely on a good preamp following them. Behringer and others make inexpensive studio mixers/equalizers that have preamps built in with adjustable output levels and can drive almost anything.
    KC3AJV likes this.
  9. WA3VJB

    WA3VJB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi and welcome.

    Your Dad may have some guidance as to why he picked such a nice microphone. Worth asking him. Oftimes, the operating experience is enhanced by the look and feel of the station. No other explanation or rationalization is needed, and I laugh at people who poo-pooh spending "that" much money on a microphone on HAM radio. The value of your (and your Dad's) satisfaction is all up to you to ascribe.

    I'd like to invite you to the QRZ.com Amplitude Modulation sub-page. People in my part of the hobby share a fondness for warm, inviting audio, and they also have an above-average set of technical skills to get the most out of your antenna system and audio setup. You, being on Maryland's Eastern Shore, are in the prime signal zone for afternoons on AM in the 75/80 meter phone band. Activity from the mid-Atlantic region, out to the Midwest, and into New England. Take a listen down low, around 3725 in the afternoons, but more likely around 3870-3885Kc for some good-sounding, satisfying conversations.

    If you aren't quite set up for HF reception, try these internet-based receivers to take a listen. I believe you will like what you hear.



    Hope to work you soon.

    KC3AJV likes this.
  10. KC3AJV

    KC3AJV Ham Member QRZ Page

    I did see those kinds of cables in my searches, but because I thought the RE-20 required the phantom 48V, I thought I would also need a power supply. I'll likely back-burner the cable fab until I can get the tuner and antenna working right.

    Thanks for the welcome! I think I'll be spending a lot of time here. I also appreciate the frequency suggestion - when I get the AH-4 and antenna situation sorted out I'll dial that in for a listen. When I get my General and hook up the EV mic, maybe I can contribute!

    I'm certain I'll be posting on QRZ in the future, seeing as my first attempt at hooking up the AH-4 with a 25' wire didn't really work out. I admit though, I need to spend a few nights with the 706 and the manual to understand it better. I'm pretty good with the 2720 and the HT, but the 706 is an entirely different animal with many more features to confound me.

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