Entry Level HF

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by AG7BF, Aug 26, 2016.

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  1. AG7BF

    AG7BF Ham Member QRZ Page

    What do you recommend for an entry level HF rig/setup? I'd like to do some digital (PSK31, etc) and eventually (probably not with the first rig) EME and meteor scatter.

    My current home will require me to be creative with the antenna.

    For that I'm considering this as an option:

  2. AD0AC

    AD0AC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Icom IC-718 and a Hustler 4-btv. No need for a tuner with that antenna. But if you are living in an apartment or other home where you can't use much of an outside antenna, a dipole made with two hamsticks for each band will get you on the air much cheaper than the MFJ loop tuner.
    W4IOA likes this.
  3. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    You're going to get a lot of answers on this. It really depends on how much you are willing to spend on a radio. The IC-718 is a good choice you can get one for less than 500 dollars if you shop around and it performs well, there are plenty of other choices as well. Also, the loop is not a bad idea for limited space so if that is what you have room for it will work, not like a full sized antenna but it will work. You might want to either visit or join a local ham club and meet some of the older hams, they are in a position to know you and help you get what you really need and want to get started.

    In any case good luck and I hope to hear you on the air one of these days.
    W8ZNX likes this.
  4. KB9UWU

    KB9UWU Ham Member QRZ Page

    You could buy my fully loaded K3.
  5. W8ZNX

    W8ZNX Ham Member QRZ Page

    ahoy Charles

    any late model brand name rigs will do fine
    everybody has their pet choice for cheap rig
    mine is the TenTec Omni D
    straight forward radio, no bells, no whistles

    get first rate used manual antenna tuner examples, small Johnson Match Box
    any Drake Tuner, most of the Heathkit tuners, the TenTec tuners,
    for years used a big old Dentron Super Tuner
    at the book store
    use a James Millen Transmatch Junior with a big old Heathkit coil balun

    ( sold a ugly but working Johnson match box at a swap this summer for fifty dollars )

    only MFJ tuner owned fryed with only 60 watts hooked to a voltage fed antenna

    with a good tuner you can play with all kinds of simple cheap HB wire antennas
    easy to make fun to play with
    to me a tuner is an essential part of a ham station
    funny how well a tuner and a hunk of wire can work
    if you know how to do it
    need a hidden antenna nothing easier to hide than a single wire up a tree

    KA4DPO is right join your local club
    get involved if its the right club you can get lots of help
    from putting up a antenna* to finding a good used rig at the right price

    * an old timer could look around your house and yard and know
    in two or three min what kind of antenna would or would not work for you

    still in the stacks
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2016
    WA4BRL likes this.
  6. AG4RT

    AG4RT Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    My entry level rig was a TS-480SAT. Two years later, I'm still happy with it. I use a Signalink USB for digital modes and I'm happy with it, as well. YMMV
  7. KF5FEI

    KF5FEI Ham Member QRZ Page

    There are a few "entry level" rigs with an all-in-one USB interface for doing digital and rig control -- this can be easier than buying this and that and trying to get it to all work. IC-7200 (if you can find one), IC-7300 or the FT-991A. Otherwise, the IC-718 or FT-450D are good for the price, but require external options to do digital and rig control.
  8. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page


    If you have limited space for antennas, "EME and meteor scatter" ought to be left on the bucket list until you can install some very good VHF/UHF antennas. Meteor scatter can be worked via WSJT modes like FSK441 using 100W and a single large yagi on 6m and 2m; more difficult but still "possible" on 135cm and 70cm. But EME generally requires more power, larger antennas, and a precise method for steering them at a slowly moving target that's mostly above the horizon. It's pretty challenging. (And note" EME and meteor scatter don't really have anything to do with "HF" -- although m.s. is workable on 10m with station setups similar to what's used on 6m -- which is generally at least 100W and a good beam antenna.)

    HF, on the other hand, relies heavily on the ionosphere to do a lot of work for us so it's a lot easier to make contacts.:)

    The loop tuner you highlighted works well, if you follow directions carefully and make the loop big enough and of the lowest resistance material possible. Solid copper wire of #8AWG or #6AWG works pretty well; #4 or #2 if you can find it works better.
  9. AG7BF

    AG7BF Ham Member QRZ Page

    Right now my budget is zero, but in a year or two it will be more than zero and possibly enough to get something seriously cheap. I'm just trying to get some information from some folks who know more than me. :)

    Right now almost everyone qualifies.
    WA4BRL likes this.
  10. AG7BF

    AG7BF Ham Member QRZ Page

    What's the word on Alincos?

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