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Thread: New Old Ham G6VRU

  1. #1

    Default New Old Ham G6VRU

    I got my ‘class B’ licence in the early eighties was very active on 2 metres and was into RTTY but my radio has now been in storage for 30 years!
    Having just retired, (electronics service engineer), I thought I would resurrect my old hobby and have unpack my Icom IC290D only to discover that my previous pride and joy is now pretty obsolete!
    On the positive side it appears that my old class B licence has been been upgraded to a full licence so this could be an opportunity to start exploring some of the other amateur bands.

    Having googled for several hours I have decided that after careful deliberation I haven't a clue where to start.
    My budget is limited and the aerial, (btw my tutor when i studied for my class B licence used to shout 'Insects have antennae radios have aerials' - is this still the case!), needs to be reasonably discrete.
    I need to learn what bands I should try and explore, should I buy used or Chinese etc etc.
    As and extra challenge I live in the Highlands of Scotland, pretty well surrounded my mountains.

    Looking forward to any advice or (polite) suggestions
    Cheers
    Geoff (G6VRU)

  2. #2
    Super Moderator 5B4AJB's Avatar
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    Six metres should be fun for you (if you have space for antennas).

    Most H.F. multimodes have six on them now - you may even find one with four & two metres (and more).

    All the 2m repeaters now use CTCSS (subaudiable tone) for access now.

    There are loads of digimodes now, if your IC290D is still functional and your antenna is not full of water, you have 99% of what you need already for this.

    As for used or Chinese, I'd take a few chances with used, try and find a working radio that has been knocked about. Cosmetic damage is not relevant really (in my opinion).
    The Chinese radios are built to a price and usually suffer from receiver overloading/noise problems, which will infuriate you trying to copy a weak signal.
    The cheap Chinese handhelds are OK for the glovebox of the car, but don't expect ICOM performance for daily use...

  3. #3

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    Glad you're back Geoff! As you well remember, antenna is 99% of the equation so having to be discrete might be the part requiring the highest level of noodling prior to implementation. There are lots of alternatives that work (some better than others) but I feel lame not having any URL's to give you to do some investigation of your own. Plus, being unfamiliar with your part of the planet leaves me at a bit of a disadvantage.

    It seems from the comment about being surrounded by mountains that for the lower bands >7mhz, NVIS will be the method of choice. I would be interested to hear what you come up with, as I also am in a bit of a bowl here; to my direct east is a hill that rises almost 150 meters up on 300 meters distance which plays hell with my 40 meter vertical for low angle signals. I have a great line into Oceana usually but I would like to be able to work your areas too.

    Welcome back, I hope you find the enjoyment you're looking for. 73, Eric WZ7U CN86jc

  4. #4

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    Welcome back to the fold. I came back a few years ago after a 25 year break.

    The little Baofengs come in for some stick, but they do work just fine for working local repeaters. Nice cheap way back onto local 2m and 70cm until you find out what you want to do. I have an equally old Trio TR9130 multimode for 2m, used with a magmounted 1/2 wave on the car or a small foldaway beam for SSB - it mounts to a plastic pole usually tied to a suitable post! Hope to get back on to HF soon but this summer's going fast for any work on putting up a G5RV.

    My tutor said something very similar "Insects have antennae, hams have antennas!"
    Current radios: VHF/UHF: 2 x Baofeng 2/70 Handhelds. VHF: Kenwood TR9130 2m multimode. HF: Kenwood TS930S-AT
    Home antennas planned: G5RV / G7FEK / end fed wire. 1/2 wave vertical for 10m. 6 element beam for 2m. Vertical collinear for 2/70
    Website for the 'day job': www.andrew-gilbert.com

  5. #5

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    2m all mode is still 2m - doesn't really matter how old the radio is - if all you want to do is talk...

    The real action is down in the HF bands and 6m SSB or JT8.

    I wouldn't waste my money on anything Chinese, the old saying - you get what you paid for applies here.

    Me personally - the old rig I would buy is another Kenwood TS 590 SG or a TS 990 SG - which is what I am saving up for now...

    The old adage - the antenna does all the work applies here.. Some antennas cost as much as a cheap HF rig... Some cost as much as an expensive HF rig!

    Yes in your neck of the wood they call them aerials - but only if it is vertically polarized
    Vertical is OK if all you want to work is local and FM on VHF, but if you are looking for a cheap solution HF, your probably going to want to invest your money in some type of horizontal dipole antenna.. Or maybe an Off Center Fed - multi band antenna, that offers you more than one band and doesn't require a antenna tuner and all the hassles that goes along with using tuners...

    You are also going to need a good 35a linear power supply - since a good 100w SSB HF rig needs about 22 amps of power, more than likely what you had before for your 2m equipment isn't good enough to run an HF...

    Mo money mo money mo money.. Are you sure you want to go this route?

  6. #6

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    In our 'neck of the woods', all sorts of antennas are called aerials, 6m, it doesn't matter how they're polarised. In fact, anyone in the UK who isn't into radio other than listening to broadcast AM/FM/DAB will probably call an antenna an aerial. There's a large TV/Radio repeater mast about a mile and a half from me, put up around 50 years ago. Probably 99% of the people I know call it the 'TV aerial'!
    Current radios: VHF/UHF: 2 x Baofeng 2/70 Handhelds. VHF: Kenwood TR9130 2m multimode. HF: Kenwood TS930S-AT
    Home antennas planned: G5RV / G7FEK / end fed wire. 1/2 wave vertical for 10m. 6 element beam for 2m. Vertical collinear for 2/70
    Website for the 'day job': www.andrew-gilbert.com

  7. #7
    Super Moderator pmh's Avatar
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    Hello Geoff,

    And welcome back.

    There is nothing wrong with the cheap Chinese radios, they fill a spot, and are easily programmable via a free to download program called Chirp. I have two, which get used regularly.

    A very well made, and capable, handheld radio is the Yaesu FT-60E, which can be picked up second hand for around £70. Mine was mint and, again, is used quite often. A big advantage over the Chinese radios is that this has a proper S Meter.

    You are correct, they are aerials, and not antenna, originating from the Latin.

    A digital mode, which is proving very popular with disabled amateurs, and ones with very limited space for aerials, is DMR. The radios are cheap, but quite complicated to program until you get a good grasp of the mode.

    We run the GB7MR DMR Repeater here in Manchester.

    You might be best making yourself a 2m dipole and having a listen around on 2m for a while, before deciding where to go next. There is regular traffic here, with regular nets, commute natters, etc. Popularity, however, does change from area to area.

    There are quite a number of SDR radios online, which you can use like having a receiver in front of you, in order to tune around the bands. A populat one is at Hack Green:-

    hackgreensdr.org:8901

    Kind regards,



    Phil

  8. #8

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    I would like to thank everyone for their kind advice.
    A lot of things have changed in the amateur radio world but not, I'm pleased to say, the friendliness and the willingness to assist those who ask even the most basic of questions.
    I think I will look to build a basic 2m/70cm base station and chat around just to get the feel of things and look into expanding into other bands as I feel and get more confident in what will be involved.
    I'm pretty sure I will not be able to reach any of the repeaters from my home in the Scottish Highlands, (it really is quite remote and I'm surrounded by hills and mountains), or how active 2m / 70cm is around here.
    Still, I wont know until I try.
    Again, thanks for your help and support. Geoff G6VRU

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