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HF - What to get?

Discussion in 'Becoming an Amateur Radio Operator/Upgrading Privi' started by K4CGN, Aug 29, 2009.

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  1. NE6PG

    NE6PG Ham Member QRZ Page


    plant a tree and install a pole to support it.

  2. VE7NOT

    VE7NOT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I would go with a simple 706MKIIG or Yeasu 857D (I don't own one) For the reason that the majority of modes and bands are there for you and you can choose what area interests you....
  3. KB3RHV

    KB3RHV Ham Member QRZ Page

    The FT450 is a good starter HF radio. I would get one with out the tuner and get your self a LDG Z100 pro. The Z100 will work with any radio, so if you decide to upgrade, you will not have to buy another tuner.

    For power supply, look at the Samlex 1223. I have one that I use with my IC-718 and AH4 setup and it works like a champ.

    For antennas, I posted in your other thread. You really need to talk to your HOA and see if they will at least let you put up a small vertical behind your house.

    Like this.......

    .....or some thing similar.

    For coax, use RG8X or LMR240. Either one will be fine if your runs will be 100' or less. This should keep loss on the higher bands (6M) low.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2009
  4. K5KGB

    K5KGB Ham Member QRZ Page

    I agree on the 450 but don't dismiss one with the tuner (450AT). It can be turned off. Of course, it could be a little more expensive but I have seen them include them free at some times. I bought mine used and it was the AT model and I have no complaints out of the rig. I wish the built in tuners would tune more than they do, but they are what they are.

    Some will say to adjust the service menu for a wider tuning range but it's my opinion that doesn't do what folks think it does. I'd rather build resonant antennas for my main bands than to cook a final. JMO

    Good luck with whatever you choose.
  5. K0CMH

    K0CMH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well, about talking around the world with a compromised station: my cheap IC-718, at 75 watts to the antenna, using an attic dipole on 20 meters and my 130 ft end fed wire in trees for 40 meters; got me 25 international contacts, in one hour, during this weekend's Russian RTTY (radio teletype) contest.

    I was searching and pouncing, rather than calling. I had contacts with Russia, Serbia, a few Western Europe, a number of South American countries, and Japan, plus a few US and Canadians thrown in for good measure.

    Then later in the evening, I tuned up the 130 ft wire on 30 meters and had a nice CW QSO with a fellow in the UK. Even later, I tuned up on 160 meters and had a nice SSB rage chew with a fellow in Chicago (we were both 57, even with rain in Indiana/Kentucky).

    Not bad for a compromised station. (By compromised station, I mean a lower end radio, minimal antennas, and less than desirable antenna placement.)
  6. KC6RHE

    KC6RHE Ham Member QRZ Page

    if the best you can do is a 10 meter antenna at home then a mobile radio is the right choice as you will probably want to work other bands and going mobile is one way to do it. A good mobile HF rig can be had that will work good for base and mobile use. I sugest not to buy a used mobile rig, to many issues and unless you know the person you are buying from you could be buying someone else problem. no need to start your experience dealing with fualty used radio's.

    I have a Yaesu FT100D that I have used for base and mobile, never a problem with it. I have use two 20 meter ham sticks as a portable dipole. It's not perfect but it works ok.

    PS: Get a good antenna tuner and no built-ins, its cheap insurance.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2009
  7. AE5JU

    AE5JU Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have both a Yaesu FT-897 and Icom 718. After using both for a while, for a first radio, the 718 is the clear winner. Easy to use... that's important. I had the FT-897 at first, and spent a lot of my time thumbing through the manual. A lot of frustration. I've finally gotten to the point that I don't need the manual constantly.

    The Icom 718, I was literally on the air in minutes after opening the box. And this is really telling... at Field Day I turned over the mic to a couple of other hams and left for two hours. I gave no instructions whatsoever. Just said, "Here, have fun." I came back two hours later to see two smiling faces and a full page of the log filled out. One of two is a newly licensed Tech. The other is a long time General who is will get his Extra ticket soon. He liked the 718 so much he went home and ordered one.

    The accessories I recommend are:

    Samlex SEC-1223 power supply. About $90 from and most other sources. This will easily power both a 100 w radio and a 2 meter rig, though of course not transmitting on both at the same time.

    LDG IT-100 tuner. This tuner replaces the 7000. Works great, and operated from either the button on the tuner's front panel, or the tuner button on the front of the Icom 718. So the tuner does not have to be close. has this, too.

    The DSP (Digital Sound Processing aka noise reductions) on the 718 is not the best. But the same can be said for the DSP in the Yaesu. Let me recommend the West Mountain Radio CLR-SPKR.

    OK, that's radio, power supply, tuner, and external speaker/DSP. One more thing you may find useful, I do, the West Mountain Radio RigRunner. This is a power strip with Anderson PowerPole sockets. I have the #4008, which has 8 outlets. There is a smaller model, the #4005, and a larger one, #4012, but the #4008 fits my requirements. You can also buy it as a kit with a bag of Anderson Power Poles. I'll tell you now, these are great... buy at least 2 dozen. Believe me, you'll find a use for them. The 30 amp type will handle almost all your needs. Don't get the $45-$50 crimper... you don't need that. There is one for $12 on the West Mountain site that will do a good job. I both crimp and solder them. You can find a tutorial on Anderson Powerpoles on the West Mountain site.

    I've had QSO's all over the US, from California to up and down the east coast, and top to bottom, from my QTH in La to Wisconsin, Michigan. Also Canada, Mexico, Cuba (2), Puerto Rico, all over the Carribean, Costa Rica, Ecuador, a number of contacts in Brazil and Argentina. Also, Italy, Ireland, Scotland. All that with a dipole that other hams tell me is not high enough, and no amp, just 100 w SSB.

    On 75 meters, from La, nighttime QSO's all over TX, AR, MS, AL, GA, FL, TN, SC, OH, MO, and more. No tower, no beam, just simple wire dipole.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2009
  8. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I think with your current antenna prospects, I'd look closely at the IC-718. I suggested a wire loop antenna and remote antenna tuner. If you feed the loop with coax, it will work on 40,20,15 and 10 - the remote tuner would really be needed to work 30, 17, and 12 meters. If you're going to do CW, it would be worth it to have 30 meters, otherwise, you can live without these bands and just get a cheap manual tuner, like any of the MFJ units, and keep it in the shack. The autotuner options for the 718 would probably also work fine on the 4 bands I mentioned.

    This will leave you with enough money to buy the accessories you really want/need for your station, and you should be able to have lots of fun on the air.
  9. K4CGN

    K4CGN Ham Member QRZ Page

    I agree, I was thinking about going with the Yaesu 450 but the Icom IC-718 is going to fill the bill and I have seen nothing but great things about it. I am going to go with a wire dipole for now along with the J-Pole for 2m/70cm. I may not be able to get up on 160m & 80m right away but I will still get some HF going.
  10. NA0AA

    NA0AA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Some advice is worth repeating.

    Location is a huge factor in radio performance as well. If your primary station is in an "RF Swamp", the receiver may make a difference, if you live in a quiet area, then a fancy receiver is less important than sensitivity.

    And as always, a great antenna on a good rig is going to beat a lousy antenna on an expensive rig every time.

    I own a number of radios for which I've paid a wide spectrum of prices and to be honest with you, I get just as much satisfaction out of my FT-897 as I get out of my FT-2000. Plus it's a lot easier to carry in the field [I work portable a fair bit - my 897 has many miles on it].

    Get a first radio, power supply, build some antennas, get your feet wet, then consider making upgrades over time if you want to. Most of us started with one radio after all.
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