New HAM with questions

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KG4JYS, Jul 16, 2021.

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  1. KG4JYS

    KG4JYS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well I went ahead and ordered a boofang from Amazon. Just couldn't resist the free same-day shipping and easy returns if it sucks like some reviews show. I also picked up an attenuator so I can check it out on my spectrum analyzer. Haven't transmitted anything or hooked it to the SA yet, but I can definitely receive several repeaters. One of them signs the owners callsign periodically and it sounds loud and clear. Another one has the occasional person keying their mic and not saying anything.. but again loud and clear. I'm surprised by the second. I know where it is, and it's clear across town. The second says on repeaterbook that it's connected to EchoLink but their website says that feature isn't working right now.
    KO4ESA likes this.
  2. KG4JYS

    KG4JYS Ham Member QRZ Page

    So I had some fun with the baofeng bf-f8hp and Nagoya na-771 antenna. There's a nifty echolink repeater system in my area with 5 receivers and a 100w transmitter on top of a local tower. Lucky me, my house is equidistant from two of the receivers and the transmitter! I talked briefly to some guys on a weekly check in that I stumbled across while the radio was scanning presets.

    Strangely, the baofeng is coming in at 18w on 2 meters and 5 watts on 70cm. It's rated for 8 on 2m and 7 on 70cm. I haven't been able to reach anyone on 70cm yet. It does show a significant harmonic on 2m. I've either got to find someone local to confirm that power level or buy a second watt meter, as I find it hard to believe. My 10w 30db attenuator gets very hot after only about 5 seconds so maybe it is really pumping that out.

    I think I'm going to order a nicer radio. I was looking at the Yaesu FT-991A as it will keep me happy for now with my tech privileges and seems to have everything I'd want for General as well. Is there any serious problem with this radio (besides the fact that everyone seems to be out of stock with 2 month lead times)? Yaesu has a $50 coupon until the end of the month on it. Is it due to be replaced with a newer model or something in the near future such that I would be better off waiting?
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2021
    W5ESE and KO4ESA like this.
  3. K5WY

    K5WY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Congratulations on your first contact!

    I also find that hard to believe.

    I've never used one, but many seem happy with them. Undoubtedly there is much information on the web for you to read. It hasn't been out that long that I'd suspect it's about to be replaced.
    KO4ESA likes this.
  4. K5WY

    K5WY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    And if I didn't say so earlier, welcome to the madness!
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  5. N6TDG

    N6TDG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Welcome to the fold...I too am an older guy that got his license later in life, (like three years ago) I got the tech and the following year got the general to play around with the HF. Unlike you, I had absolutely no electronics background, so getting the tech was a very new experience, but the general was easier.

    If money is not neccessarily an issue, than I would get a modern day HF radio and restore the 101E...that will be a very nice radio once restored--sort of a throwback to the past...It will keep the house warm in the winter with that soft gl0w.

    As for VHF/UHF--why not buy a Potato radio...I would do that as well as a separate mobile/base radio (50w) to keep track of local goings on.

    How that you are outfitted--time to figure out what you want to do. As for me--I find I like just rolling around the dial and finding a DX station and talking to someone--like tonight, found a New Zealand station on 20m--we chatted for some 15 minutes and went on our way. Personally, I like voice modes...sort of the magic of radio--hearing a voice from afar coming through the aether.

    You might like digital modes and not even know it yet--whether on HF or VHF...heck, maybe you will bring back packet radio to your neck of the woods.

    That is what is so great about this hobby--there are so many niches that one can roll around and play for as long as one wishes in one segment or another, or all segments at once. Whatever floats your personal boat...The idea is to have a hobby that for the few minutes or hours you are persuing--frees the mind of the troubles of the day--the crap that passes as news and the daily bombardment of politics of one side or another...

    Enjoy and hear you on the air

    73 de N6TDG (Tie Dye Guy)
    PU2OZT, KO4ESA, KJ7ZEI and 1 other person like this.
  6. KG4JYS

    KG4JYS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for the confirmation. I work in computers, where a typical lifespan for a hardware product to be current. I saw that it's been out for about 5 years hence the question.
    KO4ESA likes this.
  7. KO4ESA

    KO4ESA Ham Member QRZ Page

  8. W4EAE

    W4EAE XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Radio is very different, because the market is very different (small). New product development takes a long time by comparison to consumer electronics, and 20 year old used radios are often sold for 80% of their original cost. It took me a while to get used to it.

    Congrats on your license.
    KO4ESA likes this.
  9. W5ESE

    W5ESE Ham Member QRZ Page

    C'mon people; it's 'Radio Amateur'.

    W4EAE likes this.
  10. WB0SMX

    WB0SMX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hi Aaron. Welcome to the hobby.

    It sounds like we may share some similar ham radio interests. I am primarily a builder/fixer/experimenter ham, and primarily operate to prove to myself that whatever I've built/repaired/installed works to my satisfaction.

    I have experienced some VHF radios reading higher than normal outputs when measured on a wattmeter that is not designed for VHF. That may be why you are reading high output, if that is the case.
    As for the FT-991a, I think that would be a great radio for a first-timer. It's a shack-in-the-box, with all of your HF bands, as well as VHF/UHF in one box.
    I would advise against the use of one of the QRP (low power) HF rigs that are showing up recently on E-Bay and Amazon. There is nothing wrong with QRP work, it would just make contacts more difficult for a beginner. A full power (100 watt) HF rig will make things go much smoother for your first HF experiences.
    Good luck, and enjoy whatever aspects of the hobby you drift in and out of...
    73 de Randy wb0smx
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