Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by WJ6F, Feb 16, 2021.
Thank you for the interesting report.
It will be helpful.
A Yaesu FT-818 would be a good first radio for a Tech. It could be used like a giant HT for portable purposes with the included rubber duck antenna or as a base station for repeater access. However, it would also allow the Tech to try other modes in the VHF/UHF space and expand to the limited HF Tech rights (10m SSB, CW at lower bands, etc).
The Icom IC-705 would do the same, but at twice the price.
Anyway, just an alternative to the constant refrain of getting a VHF/UHF FM radio as a tech. A "DC-to-Daylight/All-Mode" radio not only gives the Tech everything they can do as a tech, it will grow with them if they progress through the license scheme.
ETA: Just checked, Techs have SSB access on 10m rather than FM.
This is not promoted as it should be. Though many newcomers are only interested in how many repeaters they can hit with their new HT, there is a greater hm radio world out there that COULD be promoted and encouraged. Though it's hard to beat a $30 radio to get on a repeater, there are not very expensive ways to on HF and 6 Meters. Significant enjoyment and education can be obtained on 6 & 10 in many modes even with a low SFI. A good used older xcvr can be had for the proce of a new fancy mobile VHF/UHF unit from a major manufacturer. This sampling of frequencies and modes was the initial intent of the original Novice license to motivate upgrading and I believe can still be a valid objective.
I can't "like" this enough. We do a horrible disservice to our Techs by only talking about FM repeaters and pushing them to upgrade so they can get on HF, as if HF is the only way to have fun on amateur radio. Even with FM alone, there are plenty of things a Tech can do (APRS, Satellite, mountain-topping aka SOTA, etc). As I mentioned above, the FT-818 makes a great radio for a new Tech and gives them plenty of room to grow. Worst case, they can use it like a big HT, but if they're curious about other bands and modes, they have them all there in one box. One can find used 818s and 817nds for not much more than a high end HT.
I've been playing about with VHF (6m and 2m) FM a lot lately. I haven't made a lot of contacts on 6m (none outside the recent VHF contest but I persist), but my 2m work on summits has been very fruitful and interesting. Seeing how far a decent antenna and 5w can reach has been about as satisfying as making a new contact on HF, especially when you factor in the smaller and lighter radios+antennas.
The first thing I thought about after reading the title was- What HF rig and antenna would I recommend and help a Tech out with? Techs have HF privileges too
Roger that.. It's discouraging to see new ops get 'stuck' in the VHF/UHF only world- of ham radio.
Used to be that you had to get an operator to make a phone call.
First got my tech ticket so I could talk with some Jeep buddies that only ran 2m radios out on the trails and that was great not have to deal with all that trash found on cbs these days. So anyway after running the trails with them for a week or so it was back home and where I found myself wishing I had a way to talk on the portion of 10m we were allowed to use as a tech.
Well having grown up during the cb peak I had a few of them around and even had a base antenna setup to I could talk with the truckers when the weather was bad and such. So I did some looking and came up with a crystal in my junk drawer that would take a Cobra 2000 GTL and turn it into a 10m tech band radio. Having been trained in electronics and working in the field most of my life I had the equipment and manuals I needed to do the alinement needed to get it up and running after the transplant. So I did the operation and finished the alinement. Hooked it up to the 11m antenna and made a contact with a station down under! Luckily it was near enough to the end of the last sunspot peak that 10m was still working.
Come spring and 10m was getting really quiet and we were having a hamfest, so I got my upgrade to General just in time to still be able to operate HF with no sunspots.
Moral of the story take what you know and what you have and do the best you can.
Shouldn't the title of the topic be specified (VHF/UHF only)?
In the US Techs have limited HF access (10m SSB and CW on lower bands). You wouldn't know it though because nobody talks about Techs doing anything but getting an FM HT or FM mobile and talking on repeaters. Then they wonder why Techs get bored and leave the hobby.