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Thread: New Radio Advice

  1. #1

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    Question New Radio Advice

    Hello everyone. I passed my Technician test a month ago and studying for my General, which I hope to have this summer. There are three rigs I'm interested in and would like advice from some experienced operators. Im interested in the HF/VHF/UHF rigs. Just to make it a bit more interesting, I live on an 80 foot boat, so antennae will certainly be an issue. The three radios I'm looking at are the Kenwood TS-2000, which I've read is a good radio but the receiver is a bit lackluster. The second radio is the Yaesu FT-991 which I've read has an issue with the finals blowing out. Finally, the last rig is an ICOM IC-9100, which from what I've read really doesn't have any major issues. Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated!

  2. #2

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    if you are living over salt water you are going to have a blast.

    welcome to the hobby!

  3. #3
    GTGallop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KK6NOH View Post
    if you are living over salt water you are going to have a blast.

    welcome to the hobby!
    No salt water in Arkansas. And depending on what lake he's on, he may be in a canyon. A lot of Arkansas lakes are deep and clear canyon lakes surrounded by mountains. That is going to limit VHF/UHF. Lake Maumelle looks pretty flat, but just 3 to 5 miles either side you have 700 foot high ridges. Is it big enough for an 80 foot boat? That is a lot of water line for an inland lake.
    N5MKH - The only thing that separates man from animal is our affinity for toilet paper. Once we as a society lose that affinity we begin to descend back into the animal kingdom, and after three or more days you will find the food chain beginning to invert on itself. Up is down and down is us and man is no longer an alpha predator.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTGallop View Post
    No salt water in Arkansas. And depending on what lake he's on, he may be in a canyon. A lot of Arkansas lakes are deep and clear canyon lakes surrounded by mountains. That is going to limit VHF/UHF. Lake Maumelle looks pretty flat, but just 3 to 5 miles either side you have 700 foot high ridges. Is it big enough for an 80 foot boat? That is a lot of water line for an inland lake.
    Mountains?? Where?? Arkansas has high Hills but not mountains. GT drive up to Colorado where they have REAL mountains over 2 miles in height and higher. The 700' hills will not affect this ham operator on the HF Bands and I would imagine that the hams that install 2 m & 70 cm use those high ridge lines for their repeater sites in Arkansas.

    If I were to choose the three HF, VHF & UHF Transceivers, the ICOM IC-9100 would be my first choice as for the RF Output on all of the Bands, my second choice would be the Yaesu FT-991 because it has the newest Digital Voice mode built in, not an Option like ICOM and dead last would be the Kenwood TS-2000 as that transceiver has not been updated since it was introduced into the Amateur Radio Market 15 years ago ... no Digital mode and when I did consider this transceiver, a fellow engineer told me that the Dynamic Range on HF was found to be inadequate for normal operation. Of course, you'll need to evaluate each one for Options and Prices.

    I have no idea how wide a 80' House Boat is but that may affect what you will use for HF antennas and no matter where you mount a HF antenna on that boat, you may be required to lower the mast pipe to clear some bridges if you need to go under them. Antennas will be a problem so I think a good multi-band HF vertical may solve a lot of problems and a multi-band vertical for 6 m, 2 m & 70 cm may be the type you will need. Unfortunately the inland lake will not enhance your signals much like the ocean with the Salt water.

    Dan
    WA9WVX

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    GTGallop's Avatar
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    Ouchita and Greers Ferry have 1,100' ridges on at least one side of the lake if not both and DeGray, Hot Springs, & Maumelle all had 600' to 700' ridge-lines around them. My experience has taught me that unless there is a repeater on one of those ridges, your line of sight UHF and VHF isn't going to do much past that. If you've got some good info on how to defeat that, lay it on me.

    I've also informed the Ouchita Mountain's they they are no longer mountains and asked them to kindly take a seat on the bench next to Pluto. They were crushed, but I think if I buy them ice cream later, they'll be OK with it. ;-)
    N5MKH - The only thing that separates man from animal is our affinity for toilet paper. Once we as a society lose that affinity we begin to descend back into the animal kingdom, and after three or more days you will find the food chain beginning to invert on itself. Up is down and down is us and man is no longer an alpha predator.

  6. #6

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    Thanks for the info everyone! I know what you mean about the mountains here in Arkansas. I lived in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado at 8000ft for several years, so I too consider the mountains here as hills. Hahaha. So to answer some of the questions, I am located only a couple of miles from Lake Maumelle. I am located on the Arkansas River a few miles upstream from downtown Little Rock. There are some hills about 600-700 feet a mile or two on either side of the river, but there are repeaters in the area. The boat is 80 feet long and 16 feet wide, with a height of about 30 feet when the marine VHF antennas are up. It has a full, non-painted aluminum hull, so I think running a grounding strap should be fairly easy. Thanks for the recommendations on antennas! I was thinking the same thing, but it's always good to hear from experienced operators. I have been leaning towards the ICOM IC-9100, followed by the Yaesu then finally the Kenwood. Again, thanks all, and I'm always open to information and suggestions!

    Ron
    KI7AXA

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    Hello Ron,

    Having a little bit more information, I will throw out another idea for a HF vertical as where you might want to mount the antenna. Since the boat length is 80', find a location about halfway across the length, roughly 40' as this will provide a less directional RF signal while transmitting and receiving other stations. If you mount the vertical on either end, it will cause your RF signal to become directional off of the opposite end, much like a beam antenna works. Those dog gone houseboat manufactures never build their boats with the Amateur Radio Operators in mind ... heavy duty aluminum tube mounted in the center of the boat. Now don't go drilling holes in your roof for an aluminum tube or just to bring in coaxial cables. Leaks from Rain would be the last thing you would want! LOL

    Dan
    WA9WVX

  8. #8

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    Thanks for the advice Dan. I already gave some thought to trying to mount the antenna as close to center as possible. It may be possible but I'm still trying to figure it out. There shouldn't be much, if any drilling required to run the coax. I have access through the radar arch and then down into the living area. Holes, water and boats don't mix too well. The water will win every time...hahaha

    Ron
    KI7AXA

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