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. KT7DAD

    KT7DAD Ham Member QRZ Page

    That is a contest club, he wanted more that 59 73's...

    MDARC is the largest club in the area, have a high level of activity.

    And is close enough for Kati and me in Reno NV.
  2. K9ASE

    K9ASE XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    WoW you guys travel 4hrs for a radio club?
  3. KT7DAD

    KT7DAD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not for every meeting, however we needed a club that can meet Kati's needs and that have a reasonable level of activity.

    We sometimes participate in club activities via Skype and video conference.

    We are very honored that the club accepted our membership, and have many great friends in the club.
    Usually we attend larger events.
  4. K9ASE

    K9ASE XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Now I feel bad for not getting a ride to the one 30min away. If I would have quit messing with CB's and become a ham when I lived in Antioch that would have been my club.
  5. W0UZR

    W0UZR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Don't have a lot of money? Then look around on the for sale adds here for a 520, 820, 520 SE, or even a 530 Kenwood transceiver. I bought my 820 Kenwood for $170 some years ago and it was in excellent shape.

    What band to start on? Any of them you want. 80 meters has mostly rag chew nets on them though. 40 meters you can call CQ and have good short conversations with people or a rag chew. Same with 20 meters.

    Get a 130' off center dipole then you can work all the bands except 160 meters. The antenna can be at just 20 feet up in the air and it works wonderful. One side is 90' and the shield side is 45'. Hook that up and you be very glad you did. I told someone about that antenna, he made one up and he has been talking all over tarnation since. He even took down his 40 meter dipole because the off center works much better. I took my 40 meter dipole down too. it was down 2 S units from the 130 foot off center
  6. AB2T

    AB2T Ham Member QRZ Page

    As you've seen from the responses, any place is a good place to start.

    10m (and its nearby bands 12m and 17m) are highly dependent on sun radiation and sunspots for propagation. The more activity on the sun, the more fun on the higher frequency bands. When you get your General you'll be able to branch out and try evening HF, but don't let that stop you from trying 10m.

    While learning CW is a great idea, don't push yourself to learn it. Fortunately, these days new hams don't have to work hard on their CW skills the first few years to get upgrades. In the meantime, when the conditions on 10m are really good, you can work sideband with QRP (<5w) or a little more with great results. I wouldn't discount that option either.
  7. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    West Valley ARC is still around:http://www.wvara.org/ I see that they meet where Santa Clara County ARA used to meet. SCCARA now meets at the Kaiser Hospital in Santa Clara. Maybe the two clubs should swap names, since WVARA is now meeting east of SCCARA. WVARA and SCCARA are two of the groups that sponsor the electronics flea markets at DeAnza College. http://www.electronicsfleamarket.com/ I haven't been there in ages, but it used to be a major event.

    Apparently, SCCARA has an active ham station that they open to members and visitors once a month, and for major contests. That's another way to get on HF for $0.

    It looks like starting in March, there are flea markets at both DeAnza College and in Livermore.

    MDARC must be a big deal there, though. I see they are sponsoring the ARRL National Convention (Pacificon) in Santa Clara this year.
  8. K8AG

    K8AG Subscriber QRZ Page

    I agree with AF6JL ("You could pick up a used HF radio from the eighties for under $400.00.
    "). There are some amazing radios from the 80s that are very capable. I have seen used rigs like FT747s and IC735s well under the $400 price level. These are very solid and generally cover at least 80-10M. If you are willing to have a few scratches you could get a real steal.

    My 2 cents.

    73, JP, K8AG
  9. WC5B

    WC5B Ham Member QRZ Page

    I would love to make a couple suggestions. I would highly recommend trying out Digital modes such as PSK31 and JT65. These modes are equalizers when compared to extra classes. A general uses the SAME frequencies that a extra uses. Not only that, these modes are made for low power, low signal to noise ratio. This means small budget stations can pack a punch and work a lot of DX! I also recommend that if you do, check out EPC PSK club. They have a ton of really awesome awards to get that are fun and great looking. As for bands, I would put up something that would get you up on at least 10-40. You will want 10 on the good days when its wide open, 15 as your core day dx'er, 20 as your primary day goto band, and 40 as your night DXer. There are many ways to achieve this. There are a lot of verticals and trap dipoles on the market that would achieve this all in one feed line, but you can make them just as easy. If you have a yard at all, I would suggest a Loop Skywire. A random google search would bring that up. Get a rig with an auto tuner if you can. I would recommend something like a used TS-570 or IC-746 which should be all over the market right now for great prices. Just remember, its the antenna that counts, not the radio. Not only that, but antennas like the skywire can be made by you for dirt cheap.
  10. W2NJU

    W2NJU Ham Member QRZ Page

    I, myself, upgraded to General in November after 7 years as a tech. I found a great Kenwood 570-D on line and snapped it up. The previous owner took loving care if it and it's mint. I paid about $600 and it was worth every dollar. I have yet to get my HF antenna up. when it goes up, it will be a 40 meter OCF.
    I will not be running an amp for a long time....so it will be 100 w. SSB or 40 w. AM for now. I don't plan on being a big contest guy, but I love to rag-chew and it will be great to make contact with stations in other parts of the country/world. Good luck and 73.

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