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Radios & Antennas For Technicians

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by WJ6F, Feb 16, 2021.

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  1. KC3SWL

    KC3SWL XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    When I was a Tech , I considered it a entrance ramp onto Amateur Radio...not a destination.
    I found an Alinco dualband HT and a used Kenwood TS430...guess which one got more use? The Alinco got me onto a few repeaters but it was the contacts on 10m that got me taking the General and in turn the Extra exams.
    Too many Techs get stuck on repeaters and never expand their horizons.
    Half the time it's the mindset on the various repeater qso's.
    The other half is it's an added expense .
    Amateur radio is not cheap.
    When that 29 dollar Baofeng dies does their hobby.
    Buy decent gear your hobby will thank you.
    US7IGN and M1WML like this.
  2. US7IGN

    US7IGN Ham Member QRZ Page

  3. US7IGN

    US7IGN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Do not make me laugh. You can find a good used radio for under $ 500. Wire antenna costs practically nothing. How much is your iPhone worth?
    VE3CGA likes this.
  4. KI4POT

    KI4POT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yup. An ambitious Tech could do and learn a lot within the Tech allocation, meaning their upgrade to General would be more meaningful. They would spend less time asking basic questions and probably have a greater appreciation for HF. No, they're not going to accumulate a bunch of DX contacts, but I bet they could develop some pretty strong knowledge and absolutely nail short-to-intermediate distance comms over various modes and conditions.

    Farming contacts is boring anyway. :)

    US7IGN likes this.
  5. KI4POT

    KI4POT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yup. $500 would buy a good used all-band/all-mode radio, some coax, a spool of wire, and other misc supplies and get you on the air.

    Depending on your aspirations and local market, you could do it even cheaper.

    But, if your expectations is a $30 HT, and nothing more, for talking on repeaters, then yes, $500 is expensive. Quality aside, the cheap chinese radios, while making one aspect of amateur radio more accessible, have reset expectations on the cost of the hobby.

  6. US7IGN

    US7IGN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Sorry, I never considered HT as something self-sufficient in Hamradio. It's like a child in the garage sitting behind the wheel of his father's car, turning the wheel and sometimes honking, imagining himself to be a real driver ...
  7. KI4POT

    KI4POT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I view them more like a bicycle with training wheels. It gives a new amateur access to the hobby, but in a limited fashion that reduces the impact of mistakes. No, they're not going to make long distance contacts, but they do get to practice good operating practices in a local context and experiment with antennas and alternative power schemes. All of that carries over to other aspects of the hobby once they get more capable equipment.

    I've been licensed for 15 years, most of that as a General, yet I've lately been enjoying using HTs and stretching their reach by experimenting with antennas and operating at higher elevations. So far my longest distance VHF QSO was 60-odd miles on 2m FM, I want to see if I can stretch that out to 100+. One of my HTs does 6m FM+AM and I want to see what I can do with that capability as well. I'm determined to do a successful (ie points awarded) SOTA activation on 6m. I came close in January by getting 2 on one summit, but had to resort to 2m to get the rest I needed.

    Yet I have at most 5 minutes of transmitting through repeaters. :)

  8. US7IGN

    US7IGN Ham Member QRZ Page

    From my experience, only one in 10 who started with HT, at least tried later the HF. But he does not act there, because it is completely different than chatting with those whom they know personally, through a repeater. When they buy baofeng and talk through a repeater, this is what attracted them in the first place. No development. They just don't care. The only way to get interested in HF is to see / hear another on HF or read a book about it and get carried away.
    The fundamental difference between close contacts on VHF is the expectation to hear someone you know, and HF is fishing when every time you don't know who you will hear and who will answer you. Most people are generally not ready to interact with strangers.
  9. KI4POT

    KI4POT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I didn't know other amateurs when I got licensed, so I had no expectations of talking to my friends in the area via radio. I got licensed and bought an HT to experiment with RF (which is why I bought the most expensive and feature-laden HT at the time, to have options).

    When I get out on a summit (either for SOTA or just camping) and set up a higher gain antenna for my HT, I have no expectation or even desire to talk to people I know (that's what cellphones are for!). I want to see how far I can reach. On a camping trip in September, on Flagpole Knob in Virginia, I had a J-pole up in a tree (prob 20' above my head) and a 2m HT. Aside from the nearly two dozen contacts me and my buddy made in 20 minutes, we had several simplex QSOs with amateurs in the Shenandoah Valley. The last contact I made on my last SOTA activation was a guy who had no idea what I was doing, but heard me calling CQ on 146.52 and was curious. He was about 40 miles away. I was using an HT with a halfwave whip. It's not as sexy making a contact over a thousand miles, but it's still a thrill to make a contact over 5o or 60 miles and hear you are pegging their meter (folks are frequently surprised I'm using a mere HT, most think I'm running a mobile rig).

    I know a lot of what I'm talking about is a result of my own technical curiosity and wouldn't be shared by most, but Techs using HTs for repeaters only is our own doing. That's all we talk about Techs doing, using HTs to chat with their friends on a repeater. There's no emphasis on trying other things within the context of their privileges. Build a yagi, get up on a balcony, summit, parking garage, etc, and see how far that signal goes. Try satellites, APRS, miliwatting, etc. Sure, the guy you talk to might only be across town, but maybe see if you can make that same contact on 1w or half a watt rather than the full 5w of the HT (I found out recently I can maintain conversation-quality comms on .05w upwards of a mile and a half away in rolling wooded terrain).

  10. US7IGN

    US7IGN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Unfortunately, they are not interested in this. They are not radio amateurs. They are consumers. They need a good strong signal. If there are three repeaters in the area, they select the loudest one. They like DMR or D-STAR because they don't hiss!

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