where to start in HF?

Discussion in 'Becoming an Amateur Radio Operator/Upgrading Privi' started by KX6MWS, Dec 15, 2011.

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  1. KX6MWS

    KX6MWS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Currently I have a Tech license, and am going to take the General test really soon. (I've pass the practice test consistently) As a tech, I'm already allowed to operate some HF on CW (which I don't know yet), and also have limited phone on 10 meters, but haven't done anything with it yet. Hopefully this weekend I'll be upgraded to General; Is 10 meters still a good place to start? I don't have a lot of money available for a multi-band multi-mode rig. I think my options are pretty much:

    - Buy a single band ssb transceiver. Which band?

    - Build a single band CW kit. (I'm comfortable putting together electronics). I don't know CW yet, but I could probably hook it up to my computer. (Or just de-lazy my brain and start learning it.)

    - Get a working 'boat anchor' that does everything on the cheap.
  2. AF6LJ

    AF6LJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    You could pick up a used HF radio from the eighties for under $400.00.
    I would ask;
    What do you want to do on HF?
    Knowing that buy yourself an entry level radio for what you want to do.
  3. 2E0OZI

    2E0OZI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thats about the best answer you can get! It depends on where your interests lie - mine are HF from 40 to 10 with a bit of 80 sometimes. I don't contest or seriously spend hours in the chair looking for DX, but I'm happy if I get a new country! And I like to have more of an exchange than "59 73".

    I make my own antennas - its fun give it a try. And pretty cheap too. Dipoles are dead easy to make.
  4. WA4OTD

    WA4OTD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Join a local club and talk to the members. Many people will have a loaner radio or old radio they want to get rid of to get newbies started. I have one (TS130S that I paid $125 for) that I offered a friend at church.

    You probably have hamfests around there where you would likely be able to get a radio for cheap.

    Do not get a single band radio as your first and only HF radio. You can get a do all older radio for ~that price.
  5. KW9W

    KW9W Ham Member QRZ Page

    40 meters is where you want to be. Consider the popularity of 40m, and go for it! While you're at it, join us in the 3905 Century Club. CC has members that are involved on more than a few bands, and quite a few modes.
  6. KX6MWS

    KX6MWS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am mostly interested in conversing with others a greater distance than what I get with 2 meters. I'm not interested in contests or just making a contact for the sake of making a contact. I want some conversation. This can be either voice or CW (or even data.) I'm interested in building some of my own equipment, probably mostly from kits. I'll look around for a decently working SSB tranceiver, and probably pick up a CW kit at some point.

    40 meters looks good.

    Is there a lot of activity on 10 meters right now?
  7. 2E0OZI

    2E0OZI Ham Member QRZ Page

    I became a ham amost exactly 1 year ago and made my first contact on 31/12/11 IIRC and at that time 20 was the the thing and then 40 as the others have said, was a fantastic band for just having a nice conversation - more relaxed than 20. 17m is also worth looking in to as its got a lot more decent conversation on it and not quite so many people run massive power.

    10? Well it seemed to be pretty much dead here in SW England until about August and then it started to really jump. all through until maybe the 3rd week of November it was really lively, however now its settled down a fair bit. I wonder if it is the same in the US?
  8. 2E0OZI

    2E0OZI Ham Member QRZ Page

  9. KX6MWS

    KX6MWS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks thats a good article. 40 seems to be where I want to be.

  10. KG4NEL

    KG4NEL Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you put up a dipole and feed it with ladder/open-wire line to an antenna tuner, you'll be able to use it on the band it's cut for, as well as higher bands and maybe a little lower with reduced efficiency.

    You should be able to strike up a conversation on 40 or 20, depending on the time of day. A lot of good conversation can also be had on 17 meters (or 12 if it's open) - the WARC bands can be pretty laid-back compared to bands where everybody seems to have a triband Yagi at 100'.
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