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 Post subject: Passed my first Ham test
PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 6:22 pm 
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Today I took my first license test, I managed to actually pass General too, though not Extra yet.

It will, for financial reasons, be some time before I get a radio, though. For reasons of long-term economy, I am considering going for an all-mode FIRST, as it will probably be my only radio for some time.

Are there any recommendations for a particularly good all-around radio that would work well for starting out, as well as be useful for more advanced operations later? I've heard very good things about the FT-817ND, it seems to be a cross between a base, a mobile, and an HT all at once. There's also the FT-897 that can be used on internal battery but it doesn't look nearly as portable.

I am open to any options, as I have plenty of time to evaluate them. Thanks everyone for the recommendations for the on-line test prep!

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 6:38 pm 
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Congrats on passing your exam!

That's how it went down for me too.
Passed both written tests. At the time I couldn't get my general without the mose code which was required then so I had to go back for that.

I wish I had some recommendations for you but I'm not an HF guy.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 7:32 pm 
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I've heard the 817 has a very short battery life but I have no first hand experience.

Sent from my YP-G1 using Tapatalk


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 7:33 pm 
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Congratulations!
Even without an official rig, you can still just us on Echolink.
We are meeting Sunday Evenings 7:00 EST on the U-NODE conference.

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If anyone is interested in us Sunday night 7:00 PM EST/2:00 Zombie Time :wink: (6:00 CST, 5:00 MST, 4:00 PST).
Echolink software can be downloaded here http://www.echolink.org/
If this is your first time on Echolink, you will have to go through the validation process. (It will take a little time, not long through) If you can't validate by phone (with the home # listed on your license registration), you will have to scan/email a copy of your license for validation.
Today's mission: I will figure out how to set up a conference, I am going to call it ZS ARC.
So far my favorite way to view is Explorer View, then click on Nodes, then conferences.



From page 10, 2nd post from the bottom
http://zombiehunters.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=79&t=27049&start=216

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 8:15 pm 
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Thanks, that might be great. I don't have my call sign yet, though, I just passed the test today, so give me a bit of time.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 8:42 pm 
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Congrats on the pass! Now, go find yourself an Icom IC-706MkIIG :D

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 9:34 pm 
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If yu are looking for an all-band, HF to UHF rig,, the -817 is a pretty good choice.

You can add an amplifier of you want more power on HF, VHF or UHF - as you have the dough.

Congrats on passing your test.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 9:38 pm 
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I didn't know there was an amp available for it, the yaesu website didn't mention one, though they seem to be a bit dated.

Part of the reason for looking at the 817 was that it seems to be able to run on AA's needs be, and I have the ability to solar charge them in large numbers with a 60 watt setup very easily. I could also possibly connect it to the deep-cycle battery in that setup as it seems to handle car input.

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"Headshots...headshots...Do you know how to do anything else?!"

"Hey, you'd be surprised how many things that works on!"
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 12:19 am 
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Grant wrote:
I didn't know there was an amp available for it, the yaesu website didn't mention one, though they seem to be a bit dated.

Part of the reason for looking at the 817 was that it seems to be able to run on AA's needs be, and I have the ability to solar charge them in large numbers with a 60 watt setup very easily. I could also possibly connect it to the deep-cycle battery in that setup as it seems to handle car input.


They don't.


HF Linear Amplifier :: HL-45B - 160m~10m (45w)
Toyko Hi power ~50 watt designed for the FT-817. $440 USD new, under 300 USD used
http://www.tokyohypower.com/hl-45b.html
Ya, that pretty near the cost of the radio.

Yaesu FL110 100 watt amplifier, sold with the FT 7 years ago About 300 USD for a nice unit - check ham-fests and eham/QRZ for sale boards. GOt mine at a hmafest years ago, still words great.

Build your own - 35 watts - 229 USD
HF Projects - HF Packer-Amp V4 Ham'n is about rolling your own. KIts are one way to go PLus, if you need to work on it, you know all about it.

Build it yourself starting with just a circuit board and get your own parts
http://www.farcircuits.net/rfpa2.htm#11rfpa Get a board and build your own
data for the board amp


After you get above 50 watts for so, you start having problems with neighbors.

A gain antenna - even a tri-bander and good COAX will give you much better bang for the buck.

Or, for fun, get a starter kit like the Rockmite.
Image

You'll have to get to speed on code.
Or if PSK 31 sound like fun, get a
Image
warbler - allows you to connect your PC sound card to the warbler and go!

Steve has several good kits at a reasonable price point.

And the -817 is a good backpacking rig.
Here's a trip I took this summer in the mock bug out

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TacAir - I'd rather be a disappointed pessimist than a horrified optimist
My books, some with a different view of the "PAW". Check 'em out.
Adventures in rice storage//Mod your Esbit for better stability


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 2:42 am 
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Grant wrote:
Today I took my first license test, I managed to actually pass General too, though not Extra yet.

It will, for financial reasons, be some time before I get a radio, though. For reasons of long-term economy, I am considering going for an all-mode FIRST, as it will probably be my only radio for some time.

Are there any recommendations for a particularly good all-around radio that would work well for starting out, as well as be useful for more advanced operations later? I've heard very good things about the FT-817ND, it seems to be a cross between a base, a mobile, and an HT all at once. There's also the FT-897 that can be used on internal battery but it doesn't look nearly as portable.

I am open to any options, as I have plenty of time to evaluate them. Thanks everyone for the recommendations for the on-line test prep!


Congratulations Grant! :D

It is one of the most enjoyable and helpful hobbies in the world - there's lots to do!

I second the suggestion that you get yourself a good used Icom-706 MKGII. I have two of them myself (base and mobile) and they are an endless source of enjoyment to me.

I hope to hear you on the air! :wink:

Sincerely,

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 2:03 pm 
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Thanks all for the suggestions, I'll check them out.

I know that it doesn't HAVE to be expensive to work. I knew a guy who used one of those Rockmites to work Europe (though I should point out that he was standing on a mountain with a roll of wire bigger than a 3-ring binder and had tied the wire to the top of a tree after asking me to fire a fish line up there using a slingshot, so he was likely cheating on a lot of fronts).

CW has always been a problem for me as I can't hear the separations very well, but I keep trying. Also, there are computer programs now, I've been told.

I'll post up my call sign when I get it.

_________________
"Headshots...headshots...Do you know how to do anything else?!"

"Hey, you'd be surprised how many things that works on!"
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“Yes, that IS a thousand rounds in my pocket, AND I’m happy to see you!”: The advantage of the .22lr


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 2:13 pm 
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Hurrah!!!!

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 3:16 pm 
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Grant wrote:
Thanks all for the suggestions, I'll check them out.

I know that it doesn't HAVE to be expensive to work. I knew a guy who used one of those Rockmites to work Europe (though I should point out that he was standing on a mountain with a roll of wire bigger than a 3-ring binder and had tied the wire to the top of a tree after asking me to fire a fish line up there using a slingshot, so he was likely cheating on a lot of fronts).

CW has always been a problem for me as I can't hear the separations very well, but I keep trying. Also, there are computer programs now, I've been told.

I'll post up my call sign when I get it.


FWIW, my 8 Y/O daughter was up to 30 WPM - thought the morse tutor program was a game. Hint, use the Koch style training, eve the military found that it's best.
http://hfradio.org/koch_1.html
http://www.dxzone.com/catalog/Software/ ... _Training/

BTW, your friend wasn't cheating! He was being smart. The Rockmite offers hands-on learning (None of those nasty multiturn toriods!) and an inexpensive way to get into CW.
Good luck - your journey has just begun.

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My books, some with a different view of the "PAW". Check 'em out.
Adventures in rice storage//Mod your Esbit for better stability


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 5:36 pm 
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Congrats on passing!

My first HF radio was the FT-857D and I loved it. I used it as a 2 M base till I got my General, then I moved to an apartment and knew I would not be using that radio much so I sold it and got the FT-817ND and I love it.

My plan was since I can’t have a good outdoor antenna I will use it backpacking and stuff. The only problem was I had not really got a grasp of HF and making contacts so with only 5W output (note you only get 5w if you set it that way with internal battery or have a 12V source, i.e. power supply, SLA. I think it goes to 1.5w on internal and AA battery pack) and it got very frustrating trying to make QRP contacts. QRP is an art and a great antenna can make your day but bad antenna will leave you calling CQ CQ all day. Also knowing what band is open and what antenna will optimize your chances.

So to the point here is that with the ability to crank up the power you may be a happier operator. Just remember you can dial down the power if you want. It is just nice to call to make a contact you need and can not get through to just reach over and bump it up 5-10w if need be and turn it back down when you are done.

Just a little advice. A bit heavier and even with the 817 i carry a SLA battery, so I think it is worth the weight to have the ability to crank up to 100w HF or 50w 2 meter when you get stuck. If this is a strict backpacking radio get the 817 but if this will be your base, mobile, camping, field day, bad weather radio I suggest using the 857 or the like radios in the Icom line.

Please PM me with any questions I have gone on too long to keep my own attention so I will end here. check out reviews on eham for both (http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/3046) and (http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/6883) ICOM (http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/63)


P.S. I ended up buying another Ft-857D so now i have best of both worlds!


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 5:55 pm 
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TacAir wrote:
Grant wrote:
I didn't know there was an amp available for it, the yaesu website didn't mention one, though they seem to be a bit dated.

Part of the reason for looking at the 817 was that it seems to be able to run on AA's needs be, and I have the ability to solar charge them in large numbers with a 60 watt setup very easily. I could also possibly connect it to the deep-cycle battery in that setup as it seems to handle car input.


They don't.


HF Linear Amplifier :: HL-45B - 160m~10m (45w)
Toyko Hi power ~50 watt designed for the FT-817. $440 USD new, under 300 USD used
http://www.tokyohypower.com/hl-45b.html
Ya, that pretty near the cost of the radio.

]


Dont get me wrong i went with the HL-45 idea for a bit but figure for a extra $100 you can have it buit at factory if you are starting from nothing. I personally love kits and think that is a great idea!

44Dave wrote:
I've heard the 817 has a very short battery life but I have no first hand experience.

Sent from my YP-G1 using Tapatalk

the internal battery is very short if you set to 5w and a bit longer if you set at 2.5, that is why i suggest a little SLA battery at the least. I use 7 Ahr SLA but if you have lots of AA and solar you can use that, or just make a connector to your battery bank and use that for months at a time! you can do that to any HAM radio that will take 12V.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 8:58 pm 
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Congrats on passing the Tech and General tests.
I have the 817's big brother, the 897.
I bought mine for some of the same reasons you listed. I wanted an all mode, (most) all band rig as I don't have a lot of room for a lot of equipment.

I thought of getting the internal battery, but I usually just use a 55 A/H AGM battery. Not backpacker friendly, but I do use it portable quite a bit, especially at Field Day.
QRP can be an exercise in frustration for new hams but if you sick with it, you'll become a better operator.

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