New Ham

Atlantis

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Just passed my Tech and General. Might be awhile till I get a proper rig setup. A little leery of connecting my NES to a callsign considering opsec.
In the meantime, from what I'm reading I should be focusing more on putting money into a quality antenna and feedline first and foremost. Any suggestions?
I'd like to get into some long distance HF, but also sounds like the 2m is where most local traffic will be?
 
1. Congratulations! Welcome to the hobby.

The answer to which antenna is the best is "it depends". What bands do you want to use, what do you have for space, any limitations, can you mount on the house, do you have trees, do you have nothing but trees, are you rich/poor, etc. 40m and 20m are pretty much the standard bands for HF. They'll get you across the country, into Europe, etc, depending on conditions. A dipole is pretty much as simple as you can get, and it'll work just fine. It'll be good for one band (or maybe two). There are options that will get you more bands, but you'll need a tuner. Everyone has their favorites and they all have their pros and cons.

2m is where local traffic will likely be. There may not be much of it, but if you want to talk to people in your area that's what you want. Get yourself a 2m mobile, and there are any number of antennas that'll work for you. I was just testing a radio I picked up on 2m and I stuck a car magnet mount antenna to a metal waste basket lid. It's not ideal, but it works, sort of.

Coax is gonna depend, too. How far do you have to run it? What bands? This is what I use for pretty much all of my portable operations, and the jacket is rated for direct burial so you could use this at home and be just fine. It's a good mix of easy to carry, acceptable losses, and so on. At the house I forget what I have but it's not something I'd want to carry or could carry in a backpack. As frequency goes up, most cable gets lossier. What would be good for 2m might be overkill for 40m.

If I was brand new and looking to buy radios, I'd look at the Yaesu FT-891 for HF/6m and FT-2980 for 2m. There are lots of dual band radios out there, but 70cm is not as popular as 2m. Icom and Kenwood are the other two major brands. I have almost exclusively Yaesu so I can't comment on the other brands. They're perfectly good, I just don't have any.

If you're looking for an HT (hand held), please stay away from the Baofengs. There are other options for not a lot more money.

If you're a member of a club (or would like to be) there may be people in the club with radios to sell or loan.

You'll have to give us a little more info to get better answers. And yeah, posting your call sign tells the internet who @Atlantis is and where @Atlantis lives.

Honestly the best advice I can give you is to get on the air however you can and figure it out from there. I fretted over coax and antennas and whatever for a long time and I ended up with nice coax (that someone gave me) and a pretty ghetto antenna that I cheaped out on, and it worked just fine. Not terribly efficient, but it worked. I've used antennas that "will never work" and talked to Europe no problem.
 
Just passed my Tech and General. Might be awhile till I get a proper rig setup. A little leery of connecting my NES to a callsign considering opsec.
In the meantime, from what I'm reading I should be focusing more on putting money into a quality antenna and feedline first and foremost. Any suggestions?
I'd like to get into some long distance HF, but also sounds like the 2m is where most local traffic will be?
Congrats!
 
So, I am still waiting on my callsign to show up in ULS, but I paid them today so I assume it will hit in the meantime. The class gave us Baofeng UV-5R's as a gift when we passed the test, so I have that and have been monitoring. Got a hair across my but today at work and bought a Btech uv-25x4 for VHF/220m work, and an Ed Fong J Hook triband antenna to go with it. Then I decided to see what's floating around on Ebay and landed a lowball bid on a used Icom 7300 HF rig. Grabbed some LMR240 on amazon "KMR240" but whose counting, and now I get to learn how to put up a dipole. Thinking an inverted V, but the best place to do it would put one of the main lobes squarely into the house. I think that's okay but I don't love it. The idea being an external chimney as my "mast". Lots to read about.
 
Well you jumped right in. The 7300 is a solid choice.

I assume by using the chimney you mean the center of the dipole would be hanging from the chimney somehow and the wires would basically follow the roofline. Not ideal, but HF doesn't really see your house anyway. Try to get it 1/4 wavelength above the ground but don't sweat it if you don't. You can hoist it up into a tree, too.

An inverted vee will give you a more omnidirectional pattern than a flat top. The angle of the vee, proximity of the ends of the wires to ground (are they tied off 2' off the ground vs 20') all impact your SWR and radiation. Just get it good enough and use the 7300's internal tuner to touch it up. This won't be your last antenna.

An antenna analyzer can be pricey, but it's a very handy tool for building and setting up antennas. Make sure if you buy one that it covers the frequencies you care about. RigExpert is a good place to start looking.

Congrats!
 
Well you jumped right in. The 7300 is a solid choice.

I assume by using the chimney you mean the center of the dipole would be hanging from the chimney somehow and the wires would basically follow the roofline. Not ideal, but HF doesn't really see your house anyway. Try to get it 1/4 wavelength above the ground but don't sweat it if you don't. You can hoist it up into a tree, too.

An inverted vee will give you a more omnidirectional pattern than a flat top. The angle of the vee, proximity of the ends of the wires to ground (are they tied off 2' off the ground vs 20') all impact your SWR and radiation. Just get it good enough and use the 7300's internal tuner to touch it up. This won't be your last antenna.

An antenna analyzer can be pricey, but it's a very handy tool for building and setting up antennas. Make sure if you buy one that it covers the frequencies you care about. RigExpert is a good place to start looking.

Congrats!

You could also get a NanoVNA, a bit harder to use than rig expert but work pretty well when calibrated properly.

It helped me alot when building my antennas.

There’s a fair amount of copies on Amazon. This page helped me figure out the right one to purchase.


-Roscoe
 
R&L just had one on sale yesterday. THey go on sale periodically. Legit ones, not bootlegs. They're an authorized dealer.
 
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