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FSJ Thing 12-02-2003 10:04 AM

I, like a few other members like Klank, am getting into HAM radios. After looking at the questions for technician, I'm going to go for general and refresh my morse code. However, I went to several radio shops here in Denver and none of them "know much about HAM radios" so they all keep recommending me to go to another shop, usually all the way across town from their own. So I'm curious, what kind of radio should I be looking for? Here's what I wanna do with it. I wanna have it mounted in my truck, but when it's in my garage, I want to be able to hook it to a different antenna mounted on the roof of my house and sit in the cab and relax while seeing if anyone is awake in Austrailia. What kinds of radios do you HAM guys like and what price ranges should I be looking at for a used one? I'd like on that has multiple modes. Any HAM input is appriciated! TIA

[ December 02, 2003, 04:05 PM: Message edited by: Wago Thing ]

bigun 12-03-2003 09:26 AM

you are lucky in Denver area yo can hit the 145.145 2meter repeater and talk up and down the front range on a Walky Talky with 2 meter you can get away with handi talki the other you would probaly want for long distance would be a 10 meter as far sa I know I have never seen a ten meter handi. I am suppried you are having problems finding a radio shop there when I lived in denver area there where several ham shops. If you have a scanner tune it to the 145.145 reapeter they used to have a swap net on where alot of the times the guys will even give out their phone numbers so you have a way to contact them with out having to have a radio and they are always loking for new people you may even be able to find an elmer. I have had good luck with kenwood, Radioshack, and Yasu. You could also check at radioshack for a repeater book it has allthe registered repeaters broken down by state and city it is great when you are traveling and believe me once you get started you will want thisin every vehicle you own. My father was a truck driver who ran from Alb to Seattle and back every week I went with him took 2 meter and clamp on attena and was able to taklk to people any time of the day or night the only place that was diferant was Saltlake where they did acknowalge that I was there but did not include me in conversation LOL Hope this helps you might want to get ahold of rande he has kept up more than I have Oh by the way that repeater I told youof links all the way through NM and branchs off to Tx Arz. and CAl

FSJ Thing 12-03-2003 10:00 AM

Thanks bigun! I went to three different radio and electronic shops and they all deal in repairing those motorola handheld doohickies. the first one I went to was on Sheridan, and they sent me to another shop on Iliff, and they sent me to a shop on Wadsworth! I looked in the phone book (before going all the way across town each time) and all three of those shops where listed under "Radio-Citizens Band" but the phone book doesn't have a HAM listing section, so that was all I had to go on. Near as I can tell, there just isn't enough intrest for it here in Denver to support a shop. Radioshack here doesn't stock anything, and the dude at the shop told me that they might have something in their catalog and could check online, but in the catalog, all they have relating to HAM radios where antennas. I'm sure that somewhere here in Denver there is a shop with HAM radio equipment, but I can't find any advertisements of any kind. I'll keep looking for a 2m/10m dual band setup though. I've seen a few on ebay for around $500, but I don't want to spend quite that much just yet. Thanks again!

bigun 12-03-2003 10:50 AM

matt let see if we can get Rande over here I know he is more up to date than I am I haven't made a call since my dad died in 96 that was whenhe broke in the middle of a conversation and told me he had to sign off I have kept the license up but that is it I have been getting interested again so I'll see what I can find for you because unless every body died up there ham was big but the last time I was up there was in 93or 94

Rande 12-03-2003 11:56 AM

I'm here! I'm here! ;)

Ok, let's see, how much bandwidth do we have?

Matt, there are several really good, feature packed, compact, multi-band, multi-mode, HF rigs on the market. For all the features, $600-$800 is not a bad price for a brand new rig. These same rigs can be purchased for much less used on several Ham radio classified sites. I'll supply some links below. In good used condition, expect to pay $300 - $600 depending on model, features and condition.

Ok, some talk about these radios. Most run 100 watts of power out. That's usually plenty. They all will talk in AM, SSB, FM and some digital modes. They have many memories that not only remember what frequency you were on but what mode you were using and can automatically retune an antenna matching unit. Most also will go higher in frequency than the regular HF bands. Some include 6 meters, 2 meters, and 440mhz.

If you are used to CBs, get ready for a shock when you see the sophistication of these radios. Some to look at are the: Yaesu FT-100, Icom IC-706 mkIIG, the Kenwood TS-50, the Alinco DR-70.

If you can't find a Ham radio store near you, get on the net. AES (amatuer electronic supply), Burghardt (SP?), Ham Radio Outlet, are the largest.

For mobile HF radio work, the antenna is a major compromise. DO NOT scrimp on the antenna. Be prepared to spend real money for a real antenna system. A mobil antenna tuner is very important. It allows the radio to transmit safely on frequencies above and below what the antenna is initially tuned to. You see, for a transmitter, the antenna length is related to frequency its transmitting on. When you change frequency, the antenna should be retuned for the new frequency. These ham radios have a wide range of frequencies to transmit on. Retuning the antenna everytime you move a few hundred kilohertz in frequency is not practical. The antenna tuner will not retune the antenna, it will retune the antenna system so the radio has a good match to transmit into. Makes whatever antenna you use much more versitile.

These new radios can control an automatic mobile tuner. See why I say be ready to spend some money?

Now, after having said all that scary stuff, you can get by for a while with a less sophisticated antenna system. Just realize its limitations.

These radio don't use knobs like older radios did. To change parameters, you have to get into a menu and change settings that way. A real bother while driving and trying to adjust squelch, filters etc. Most folks find some basic settings that they can live with in most situations and leave it at that, changing things only when really neccesary.

Here are some great places to find info. Some are sites just like the IFSJA, with different areas devoted to different subjects. Newbies are welcome by most, basic questions are usually answered well by folks interested in helping.

Those ought to keep you busy for a while. eHam has some really good forums to read through. Lots of great info there just by reading through the posts in the various forums. You may see some of my dumb questions there. ;)

bigun 12-03-2003 12:58 PM

see I told you he was up on it more than I am thanks rande noe I have to start reading to LOL

Rande 12-03-2003 04:11 PM

Charlie, now you need to work on that 5 wpm code and upgrade to General at least!

bigun 12-03-2003 04:17 PM

I am old class tech. I think they callit tech plus now and I don't think I could do code now to save my life

Rande 12-04-2003 01:08 AM

Oh, ok. Since you are a tech+, then you already have the code requirement behind you.

FSJ Thing 12-04-2003 02:35 AM

LOL! Thanks alot, both of you! I'll be surfing through those sites all day today at work. I really appriciate it. I knew that HAM wasn't going to be like a CB, but to be honest, I didn't think it would be as complicated as your starting to make it look. Regardless, I think it's only piqued my intrest even more. This is gonna be fun! Thanks again Rande and bigun! Oh, yeah, and I found a shop here in Denver, but it might not exist anymore. I went to one more electronics shop after work yesterday, and they found an old business card for a HAM shop out in Aurora, so I'll try calling them a little later this morning and see if they still exist.

bigun 12-04-2003 03:21 AM

it just sounds harder it is like other things once you start you get used todoing things with out thinking most of your 2 meter rigs will automatically set offsets send dtmf signals and if you think cell phones are great wait till you are out in the middle of nowhere and are able if you belong to the club bring up the phone patch. I had always been interested in Ham as akid but it wasn't till a fishing trip in Co. that I decided I needed some way to comunicate where there were no phones. at that time cell phones were still very bulky and only corporate people had them. I had taken a friend of mines 10 daughter fishing on a saturday we had gone up where we normaly liked to go a lake called Yankee Doodle up above Rollens Pass at 11,000 ft well that day the wind came up and blew us off the mountain so we went to another lake I found on the map. Why'll driving to the other lake my watch strap broke and not thinking I trhrough it in the glove box. To make an already long story short we were real late getting home by the time I got there her mother was in panic, her step father was trying to calm her down Peggy had already called a friend of mine who was loading up his ramcharger with every thing he could think of for a mountain rescue and as a former navy medic attached to a Marine force recon unit in VN.he could think of alot. When I got aholdof him the only thing he was waiting on was his son to get to his house so they could go, that is when I got serious about ham Jennifer the 10 year old in thisstory also got her license She is/was KB0HXB her mother died a few years ago and the last I had heard she had become a man hater and moved to The Peoples Republic of Boulder. I recently renewed my license but in searching FCC I don't think she renewed hers.

4x4n In A Cherokee In Colorado 12-04-2003 12:24 PM

Rande your alright! What do you think of the Ranger 2950? For 10-11 meter. I have a Ranger 6900f25 myself and love it! Its super clean....

2ndtimearround 12-04-2003 12:31 PM

Ham radio -- where to start. I have been licensed since I was a teen (over 25 years) I have:

1. Worked HF Mobile and talked to the world, imagine, chatting with a guy in Ireland while communicating to work
2. Worked amateur satellites -- fun but lots of technical work
3. Stayed up for 24 hours straight in a ham radio contest
4. Used very low power and worked the world on a slinky antenna with CW
5. Worked emergencies (Great Ice Storm of '98) on 2 metres; dispatched to take medical personal to work during the great Nor'Easter of 93 (combined 4 wheeling and ham radio).

....the list goes on. Just like 4 wheeling ham radio is what you make of it. The secret, start small, read, do, and read some more. If you can find a "Elmer", or good club, great, and above all have fun!

A good place to start

73 de VA3LGD


73 = Best wishes
de = from
Elmer = Senior, experienced ham that takes you under his/her wing
VA3LGD = my Canadian Call sign, LGD is my initials. :D

[ December 04, 2003, 06:33 PM: Message edited by: 2ndtimearround ]

Rande 12-04-2003 01:12 PM

The RCI 2950 is a great radio. I've had several. The 2950DX is even better. The output transisters for the Uniden/President 2510 and 2600 radios can be hard to find these days. Late in the production, they changed the transisiters and those are still easy to find but the earlier ones are getting hard to find and getting expensive.

If someone wanted a 10 meter ham radio these days, I would recommend the RCI radios.

bigun 12-04-2003 01:15 PM

was with a buddy working south america on president grant with digi peter mobile on 50 watts. was with same guy in his ham shack in 89? when they had the earthquake he was talking to a guy out there when it started the guy thought his daughter was jerking on the back of his chair till he looked up and saw his boat anchor(old tube type rig) bouncing on the shelf. LOL

bigun 12-04-2003 01:16 PM

I have a radioshack 10 meter bought down in florida in 92-93 used on my way back to Alb. don't think I've turned on since.

2Stock 12-04-2003 01:31 PM

Hey guys. Glad to see this thread. I have been shopping transcievers for a couple of months since a friend ("Elmer") has been encouraging me to get my license for years. It will be a long process I know but I thought I would get a radio first and just monitor while I am learning. I have learned a lot just by surfing the Ebay ham radio section

There are quite a few mobile 2 meter rigs. Myself, I'm looking for something like a Kenwood 820S and then, as needed, pick up a mobile later.

Rande 12-04-2003 01:33 PM

Ah yes, the infamous HTX-100. Built by Uniden, very similar to the Uniden/President 2510, but didn't have AM in it. Another Radio Shack mistake. Its a good radio, just should have had AM in it. The mics were rather poor for sound quality.

bigun 12-04-2003 01:40 PM

well it is sitting out in my truck right now I am trying to figure out where to mount it in my dodge unfortunatly the dodge don't have the space my 68 3/4 ford had.

Rande 12-04-2003 02:01 PM

Charlie, a good replacement mic will help those radios. Don't get me wrong, they really are good radios. Its was just the poor mic and the absence of the AM mode that decided things for me.

2stock, that Kenwood is a big beast! A great radio though. Look for a flickering digital display in those things. It was a common developement in them. The TS-830 is a very similar radio but has the extra bands the FCC authorized in the early 80s. You may look for one of those instead.

The problem with the old tube rigs is the cost of replacement tubes, and the constant tuning of the output tubes. You select a frequency to transmit on, tune the radio up and you can start talking. If you move very far away from that frequency, you have to retune. If you change bands, you retune again. Being a lazy butt, I just got tired of doing that all the time especially considering the modern transister radios need no tuning.

Its all up to you though. A used TS-820 or 830 will cost $300-$400. A used transister rig will cost only $50-$100 more.

I used to have a set of Drake twins, a Swan 500, a Kenwood TS-820, A Yaesu FT-101EX, and I now have a Swan 400. All tube radios! I've had enough of the tuning! ;)

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