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Entry to 2m & 70 cm SSB/CW/Digital

Discussion in 'VHF/UHF - 50Mhz and Beyond' started by NN4RH, Oct 16, 2019.

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  1. NN4RH

    NN4RH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Soliciting recommendations for entry route to 2m/70cm SSB/CW/Digital operations. I already have an FT-817ND and an FT-950.

    1) FT-817ND with amplifiers?
    2) FT-950 or FT-817ND with transverters (e.g. Q5 Signal)?
    3) New HF+V+U transceiver? Which one best for V/U?
    4) Used all-mode VHF/UHF transceiver? Which?
    5) New IC-9700?
    6) Other?

    Obviously high gain directional antenna is critical, but that's separate whole topic.

    If the transverter route is best, is there any strong preference as to whether the IF should be 28 or 144 MHz bands ?
  2. K3UJ

    K3UJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    817 barefoot with a good antenna, then you can decide if you want to get in deeper.
    Also, what location? Home / mobile / portable. And what do you want to work? Contests / Sats / EME / scatter / little of everything.
    K0UO likes this.
  3. WB3BEL

    WB3BEL Ham Member QRZ Page

    It all depends on what you want to accomplish. The transverter route using a good high quality transverter and good quality IF transceiver will be better performance, but this is probably not needed to start out and experiment. And it likely will cost more money. Using low cost transverter from the Ukraine is not likely to be as good as the 817.

    I'd recommend the lowest cost route and get going and see if you like it. It seems to me the FT817 with power amplifier and good antenna is the right way to go.

    The digital modes require good frequency stability. I am not too familiar with how the 817 performs in this regard, but on 2m used indoors at a stable temperature and since it is low power is likely to be good enough for most kinds of experiments.
    K0UO likes this.
  4. VE3CGA

    VE3CGA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    A couple years ago I was trying to decide this myself. I had a perfectly good factory realigned IC751A and wanted to get back on VHF/UHF
    Thought seriously about transverters and could have homebrew'd something but...
    Wanted to get rid of all the extra attachments with the older rigs, 2 audio cables, one transmit control, and a homebrew isolating audio box.
    No external rig control either. So with this setup I would have antother pair of boxes for transverters.

    I bought a new 9100 and now have 1 usb cable for rig control & digital audio. Having DSP technology was a big improvement too.
    So with running a satellite setup I use sat32pc which does doppler and steers my homebrew antenna setup.
    1 box for the radio with a PC or laptop and a rotor interface, 3 - 120vac outlets used, one for the rig, one for the PC and one for the rotor
    4 coax on the back of the rig, HF, 6M, 2M & 70cm
    another plus is being able to operate remote using an old laptop from the garage, workshop or pool side, a few hams who I know didnt know the difference between "live or memorex"

    anyway the point being, if your existing rigs will do vhf/uhf I would try them first, setup a fairly decent AZ/EL antenna or, as I originally did, used my 2M beam with an omni for UHF and other than no tracking was very worth while.
    If you can afford it and are bit by the sat mode get something new(er) with usb control & audio and use sat32pc if you can, for rotor & doppler

    Even though it cost a pile of dough, I didnt want to waste time building or matching up different systems and missing out on operating, did that back in the 70's. This gives more time to build other cool things or operate.

    Most new rigs are pretty versitile
    K0UO likes this.
  5. WA3GWK

    WA3GWK XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I am using an ICOM IC 9100 which seems to do well on 2 meters. I haven't used it on 70cm yet. I often see them used on QRZ.
    K0UO likes this.
  6. AI3V

    AI3V Ham Member QRZ Page

    Take the radio and antenna you have and listen to 144.200 mhz usb.

    Get back to us when you work somebody.

    K0UO likes this.
  7. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'd say it's by far the most important topic.

    To "check out" 2m SSB and 70cm SSB, the FT-817ND will do fine...if connected to a great horizontally-polarized antenna system.

    Without that, you can run the best gear in the world and be very disappointed.
    K0UO likes this.
  8. K0UO

    K0UO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    There are my good radios at there for VHF/UHF and 1296, I have worked eme without transverter this day and age and a whole lot easier. The only trans murders I currently have are for 220 and 902
    No matter what you doing the best antennas you can get up 1st and the higher the better.
    And where you're located check out the Southeast VHF Society, just Google
    2020 SVHFS Conference is the Ramada Inn, Gainesville, GA. If you can attend there are great seminars and meetings and many people that will help you
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
    AI3V likes this.
  9. AI3V

    AI3V Ham Member QRZ Page

    The thing is, he'll have no trouble working out to ,say, 50 miles or so with nothing more than a so239 ground plane.

    All that other stuff can come later.

  10. K6CLS

    K6CLS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Good antennas, yeah. Use Armstrong rotation on a high mast, say 20 feet above the roof.

    Get a good preamp and coax switch combo.

    Get the TCXO option for the 817.

    Start with 100w brick amps.

    Find out about local SSB nets. Ask on there who's doing digimodes.

    K3RW likes this.

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