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2 meters: recommendations & education update
https://www.zombiehunters.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=120939
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Author:  KJ4VOV [ Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 meters: recommendations & education update

woodsghost wrote:
I was thinking the Yeasu 2980 was dual band but it is not. That simplifies things. So now I don't have to worry about 70cm coax. I'll just use my Baofeng if I need to do 70cm.

I'll poke around and shop for RG8. And any advice anyone want so drop on me I'm all ears!

Thanks a bunch!

Not RG8, you want RG8X. The X is important as it denotes the small diameter version.

Author:  JT42 [ Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 meters: recommendations & education update

woodsghost wrote:
...
So I'm learning radios are like pets. You get a good deal on the dog, then you have to buy dog dishes, scratching post, food, toys, grooming supplies, and then you realize the scratching post is for cats but gee, you have all the gear, why not get another dog?


I just wanted to quote this because it's the most awesome thing I've read on the internet in months, maybe all year.

And it's so true.

Author:  woodsghost [ Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 meters: recommendations & education update

So battery question:

So I need a gel cell. I've figured out what what that is and some sources for them. I'm finding not all sources are very clear about what one is buying.

The Yeasu needs 15A at 80w and 9A at 30w. As I understand the theory, a 7ah battery should work for an hour at 7A draw. Obviously there are issues with continuous draw, and I'll maybe have to email some sellers. Can I run 9A for less than an hour off a 7ah battery?

Can I run 15A draw on a 7ah battery for 20-25 minutes?

What if I set up 2x 7ah batteries either in parallel or in series?

At this point some cool things have been worked out with my buddy 70 miles away and I don't know that I will need to reach out that far with my personal radio for emcomms. So that takes some urgency out of things, but now I'm thinking I want to set the Yeasu up for light base station use at 10w, but start to go vehicle mobile and push that 80w out there. With that I think I'll run the radio off the car's battery, if possible. That way I can fart around locally but have some power and projection if the poop flies.

I also want to have some ability to take the Yeasu into the woods and maybe call from some of the local tall hills (we don't have mountains. We barely have tall hills). So I still want this to be battery operated and man-packable with my other BOB gear.

For batteries I'm looking at this kit and thinking about getting another 7ah battery.

http://www.qsradio.com/phone/shop-now.h ... y=13274013

It looks like all I need in one sitting from a reputable dealer with an eye towards the needs of ham radio. If you all think I need to look in another direction let me know.

If anyone has thoughts on how to accomplish my goals (local fun comms with vehicle & foot mobile emcoms) let me know! I'm all ears :)

Author:  KJ4VOV [ Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 meters: recommendations & education update

If I don't get back to you on this in a day or two please remind me. I'm on my phone now and it's a PITA to type on. I'll try to remember to answer this when I get home but they say when you reach my age your memory is the second thing to go and I can't remember what the first was.

Author:  woodsghost [ Sun Dec 03, 2017 1:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 meters: recommendations & education update

KJ4VOV wrote:
If I don't get back to you on this in a day or two please remind me. I'm on my phone now and it's a PITA to type on. I'll try to remember to answer this when I get home but they say when you reach my age your memory is the second thing to go and I can't remember what the first was.



Haha I'm typing on my phone too. Thanks!

Author:  KJ4VOV [ Sun Dec 03, 2017 8:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 meters: recommendations & education update

woodsghost wrote:
So battery question:

So I need a gel cell. I've figured out what what that is and some sources for them. I'm finding not all sources are very clear about what one is buying.

The Yeasu needs 15A at 80w and 9A at 30w. As I understand the theory, a 7ah battery should work for an hour at 7A draw. Obviously there are issues with continuous draw, and I'll maybe have to email some sellers. Can I run 9A for less than an hour off a 7ah battery?

Can I run 15A draw on a 7ah battery for 20-25 minutes?

What if I set up 2x 7ah batteries either in parallel or in series?

At this point some cool things have been worked out with my buddy 70 miles away and I don't know that I will need to reach out that far with my personal radio for emcomms. So that takes some urgency out of things, but now I'm thinking I want to set the Yeasu up for light base station use at 10w, but start to go vehicle mobile and push that 80w out there. With that I think I'll run the radio off the car's battery, if possible. That way I can fart around locally but have some power and projection if the poop flies.

I also want to have some ability to take the Yeasu into the woods and maybe call from some of the local tall hills (we don't have mountains. We barely have tall hills). So I still want this to be battery operated and man-packable with my other BOB gear.

For batteries I'm looking at this kit and thinking about getting another 7ah battery.

http://www.qsradio.com/phone/shop-now.h ... y=13274013

It looks like all I need in one sitting from a reputable dealer with an eye towards the needs of ham radio. If you all think I need to look in another direction let me know.

If anyone has thoughts on how to accomplish my goals (local fun comms with vehicle & foot mobile emcoms) let me know! I'm all ears :)


Okay, let me address your questions:

  • Yes, you can run 9A off a 7Ah (that capital A is important) for less than an hour
  • Ditto 15A for 20-25 minutes
  • Parallel, not series. Parallel doubles current capacity, series doubles voltage. Two 7Ah in parallel will give you 14Ah, but weigh about the same as a 15Ah due to there being two cases.
  • Running off 12VDC (actually closer to 13.8 but we won't quibble) as a mobile is what that radio was built for, so no problem using it on the vehicle battery.
  • Interesting kit but expensive. Those batteries are generally about $25 (try your local Batteries Plus store) and that hookup is using about $3 worth of wire, spade connectors, heat shrink and power poles. You can make a kit like it (or better) for less money.
  • You're going to soon get really tired of moving the radio around, Plan now on buying a second rig soon so you can keep one in the car without having to unbolt it all the time.

Author:  woodsghost [ Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 meters: recommendations & education update

Thank you KJ4VOV!

And thank you to everyone posting here. I really am learning a ton from you all. I'm running into some good stuff and some garbage on the internet. You all are helping me sift through it and better understand something that seriously new to me.

Author:  woodsghost [ Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 meters: recommendations & education update

I think I'm getting my power source options down. I ordered a 15Ah 12v gel cell and charger last night. I forgot to order coax but this lets me ask:

Is it worth it to invest in good coax? ABR Industries is sweet talking me with their advertisements touting their low loss and durability. Looking at their 218XA (RG8X equivalent?) it seems the loss at 150mhz is still pretty high (43.5% efficiency, so only for short runs). But I've been reading to be wary of cheap coax with low durability and high loss due to cheap construction and materials.

I'll have to figure out vehicle mobile options at some point, but are there recommendations out there?

Thanks for the advice!

Author:  KJ4VOV [ Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 meters: recommendations & education update

woodsghost wrote:
I think I'm getting my power source options down. I ordered a 15Ah 12v gel cell and charger last night. I forgot to order coax but this lets me ask:

Is it worth it to invest in good coax? ABR Industries is sweet talking me with their advertisements touting their low loss and durability. Looking at their 218XA (RG8X equivalent?) it seems the loss at 150mhz is still pretty high (43.5% efficiency, so only for short runs). But I've been reading to be wary of cheap coax with low durability and high loss due to cheap construction and materials.

I'll have to figure out vehicle mobile options at some point, but are there recommendations out there?

Thanks for the advice!

It absolutely makes a huge difference, cheap coax vs. the good stuff. I'll give you an example. A buddy of mine (I have his permission to post his call but he's not a member, not sure that's good enough for the mods) bought a new HF antenna (Buckmaster 160m) and he and I busted our asses for two days getting it setup, only to find that the SWR was much worse than it should have been on all the bands, but especially 80m. Since he runs a nice old Henry amp at full legal limit, getting the SWR down was a priority. It turned out the antenna was only usable on 80m with a tuner (something the manufacturer didn't make clear) but since it was locally made he contacted them and they agreed to swap him for their version good on 80m and give a proportionate refund. Out we go, taking it down again then putting the new one up. SWR on all the bands was still higher than he wanted so we start looking at what might be affecting the antenna. After eliminating the metal gutters on his house and other metal around his yard (he lives on a farm) we narrow the search to the coax. He thinks the coax might be resonate at 80m so we add a section. Still high SWR. Get out his analyser and test the coax and it's bad, nowhere near spec. Cut off the connectors and test it again (in case of a connector issue) and it's still bad. Take down the antenna again (3 days later because of rain) and replace the coax with name brand, SWR drops to 1:1

tl;dr: Buy the very best coax your budget will stand for. It'll pay off in less issues down the road and a better signal.

As far as mobile rigs... get your feet a little wetter, move the rig into the vehicle and operate from there for a few months. By then you'll have a better feel for the things you like and don't like in a rig, and will be better able to pick one you'll be happy with.

Author:  woodsghost [ Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 meters: recommendations & education update

Great example!

I've been thinking I'll use a ladder line J-pole in the apartment and in the woods, and that would require some measure of coax. But I'm also thinking about a mag mount I can use in the apartment and the vehicle. Which would also require some coax, but maybe not enough to matter?

Those are my antenna thoughts at the moment.

I'm hearing you say that mag mount and mobile set-up may get me the ... pun intended... most milage out of my beginner set-up?

Author:  KJ4VOV [ Tue Dec 05, 2017 11:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 meters: recommendations & education update

woodsghost wrote:
Great example!

I've been thinking I'll use a ladder line J-pole in the apartment and in the woods, and that would require some measure of coax. But I'm also thinking about a mag mount I can use in the apartment and the vehicle. Which would also require some coax, but maybe not enough to matter?

Those are my antenna thoughts at the moment.

I'm hearing you say that mag mount and mobile set-up may get me the ... pun intended... most milage out of my beginner set-up?

How much time do you spend in the vehicle each day? If it's more than an hour total then it's probably your best location for the rig. It'll give you a chance to use the local repeaters and start making contacts. Start out using the radio while parked and work up from there once you're familiar with all the controls so you're not fumbling for them while driving. It's like when you first started carrying a firearm. Took you time to get used to it, familiar with it enough you don't even have to think much about it anymore and you stopped fiddling with it making adjustments, didn't it? Same with a new radio.

Author:  woodsghost [ Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 meters: recommendations & education update

So I got my radio, a Yeasu FT-2980R. I am enjoying it. That thing is a brick and not at all suitable for backpack operating. I'm pretty sure the radio, battery, cables and antenna are about 15 lbs all totaled. While that is fine for taking the unit into the woods, it does not sit well on a BOB which is already 50lbs.

I'm using a ladder line J-pole/Slim Jim antenna. Yesterday saw some very conducive weather, so I was able to chat simplex with a friend 60 miles away. With losses I calculate I was putting out near 65w. My buddy, with losses, was probably putting out near 40w. He said I was loud and clear. He was a bit scratchy, so I think the combination of his having a better antenna and my putting out more watts helped him.

I'm thinking now I need to look at building beam antennas and trying horizontal polarization. Just to see if we can make simplex contact over 60 miles when weather is less conducive. We have found multiple repeaters we can use for contact over 60 miles with 5w, and that is pretty cool.

My one frustration right now is that it is cheaper to buy an antenna than to build one. Once you are invested in the tools and analyzers, have experience, and have some spare parts lying around then it may be cheaper to build. Depending on your labor costs/opportunity costs. The real reason to build anymore is gaining experience. And that is valuable. But seriously, I think it is now cheaper to buy.

But the DIY route seems more in keeping with tradition and is FAR more educational. I have had fun learning.

Author:  woodsghost [ Thu Jan 04, 2018 8:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 meters: recommendations & education update

Right now I think in an emergency my Baofeng will be left on UHF and only used for very local comms. The 2980 will be the base station for longer distance and even some regional comms on VHF.

Eventually I want my 2980 to be vehicle mobile so I can have comms when on the move. Any suggestions on mobile set-up is welcome, though I'm eyeballing the NMO-150. If I have a radio in the car I'll have to get another for the house....that will probably be the day I get into HF.

So I see a continuum of communications with the lightest being for foot operation, heavier for vehicle operation, and heavy/complicated/large for base station operation.

Any thoughts are welcome. I'm just working through all this.

I'm also starting to read up on solar power and charging DC batteries. I figure for SHTF comms, solar is the way to go to recharge those batteries.

Author:  KJ4VOV [ Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 meters: recommendations & education update

I'm half asleep and trying to come up with a simile between when you first started camping/hunting and these first few forays into the world of ham and my brain just won't function well enough to do it. Suffice to say, there are similarities when it comes down to costs and the learning curves.

On the vehicle antenna... what mounting system are you considering (and on what vehicle)? How cool are you with making holes in it for mounts and coax?

As for the radio/batteries/BOB combo, yeah, it sounded a bit untenable to me but I'm not you and our physical capabilities are quite different so I decided to keep quiet and let you learn and decide for yourself. That is, after all, a large part of this hobby, learning and adapting. I can't think of a single ham that I know (who has been a ham for more than a year) who has less than a half dozen each of radios and antennas. Heck, I probably have 25+ HTs alone. :rofl:

I think for good lightweight portable comms an HT, roll up J-pole, small amp and a homebrew power pack consisting of 18650 Li-ion cells is the way to go. They're energy dense, easy to recharge from a vehicle or via solar and spares don't take up a lot of weight or room. An amp like the Mirage BD-35 is pretty small (about 2/3 the size of your FT-2980, but a little more cube shaped) and not very heavy. Expensive if bought new but can usually be found in good used condition at hamfests for around $100 (I stole mine at a hamfest for $50, practically brand new in the box, original purchase receipt in with the manual, still in the original plastic bag - it's now part of my setup in my Jeep until I can get my FTM-350 in there somewhere) or one of their 2m only amps might work better for you.

Author:  woodsghost [ Sat Jan 06, 2018 12:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 meters: recommendations & education update

My camping curve involved me diving head first and freezing my butt off. Actually, yesterday was a lot like that too. I was outside trying simplex and I think the cold killed the amps on my battery. I'll have to try again.

Weather said we should have great 2m distance but did not get the distance I hoped to have. But with the equipment, that is not a surprise.

So, mobile antenna base: what and am I planning on getting? A black one. With magnets.

I don't know. I realized I should have mentioned folks online seemed impressed with Larson mobile antennas and bases. I was going to eventually get some of their stuff.

What car? Will I make holes? I'm not making holes yet, but I hope to get brave later. Car would either be a Buick LeSabre (with canvas roof) or Expedition. Not a flat roof, but I'm pretty sure it is metal. And leaky. Not sure it will be with us much longer. So I'm not committing until maybe summer when we make a decision.

Thanks for the tips on a good BOB setup. That sounds pretty light, small, handy, and flexible.

What do you all see as some of the more essential tools for ham radio? For me, I'm sticking to VHF and a little UHF for now. On one forum someone said all they needed was a good multimeter and SWR analyzer. Things might take more time, but they could do anything with those.

My buddies are getting into HF and it seems an antenna analyzer might do them some good. They are wanting to build some antennas.

I'm wanting to build some antennas but stay close to published designs. I don't need to blaze new trails just yet.

Any thoughts are welcome. I'm still learning a ton :)


EDIT:

I found out on a local net that in the 70's and 80's Kenwood made a 7400 model radio. For one it looks cool. Second, I'm thinking it might make a great radio to learn to repair/replacement. It sounds like parts are not much of an issue as most components are pretty standard electrical components and people praise it's robustness. It sounds like a good SHTF mobile radio able to get the job done and is repairable. And they are cheap. So I'm tempted to try and pick one up in the spring.

Author:  KJ4VOV [ Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: 2 meters: recommendations & education update

Yeah, that Kenwood is a pretty good rig. I like the Icom IC-706MKIIG as a good SHTF "DC to daylight" type rig. Okay, it doesn't quite cover that many bands, it still does 90% of the currently allocated amateur bands in all but the non-CW digital modes, and those modes can be done with an interface to a PC.

Yes, Larsen makes some high quality, robust antennas, but so do Diamond, Comet, and Hustler. Even MFJ makes some decent antennas, and I've had decent results with other brands too. It's really going to come down to which best fits the need. Either a mag mount or trunk lip mount will probably work well for you.

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