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The $50 Ham


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  #1  
Old 03-08-2019, 05:19:38 PM
Thaumaturge Thaumaturge is offline
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Default The $50 Ham

An interesting article about getting into ham radio for cheap.
https://hackaday.com/2019/03/08/the-...icket-punched/

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  #2  
Old 03-08-2019, 05:46:40 PM
Birken Vogt Birken Vogt is offline
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Default Re: The $50 Ham

In the beginning of the article it mentions DX engineering stuff. I work in the commercial 2 way radio business and once in a while we buy low band stuff from DXE. I am shocked by how cheap it is compared to full commercial products. Of course the full commercial products are much more rugged, usually.

The big fancy radios are high priced of course but it is all bells and whistles.

My personal opinion is to get a good 100W HF radio, Kenwood my favorite, low end of the bell and whistle spectrum. Get a good dipole antenna and hang it up as high as you can get it, and tune it properly. This will get you 90% of the HF operating fun as the big boys ever have.

After that it is all diminishing returns.
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Old 03-09-2019, 12:19:28 PM
Andrew Mackey Andrew Mackey is online now
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Default Re: The $50 Ham

My dad built his own from a Halicrafters kit. Had lots of fun with that old radio when i was a kid. Eventually the caps went bad and dad put it out for trash. Wish I had it now
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Old 03-09-2019, 12:51:50 PM
Wayne 440 Wayne 440 is online now
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Default Re: The $50 Ham

A few years ago, I assembled what I called my "low budget, no budget" HF station.
All of the equipment used was either free or nearly so - and while it wasn't state of the art by any means, I did enjoy it.

The line up was -

Yaesu FT-902DM HF radio
Dentron 160-10L amplifier
Heil Goldline microphone
Heathkit SA-2060 antenna tuner
A couple of "home brew" dipole antennas.

I think the biggest expense in it was parts to adapt
the microphone cable.

If you have a ham license, and want to get on HF,
money may not always be a significant issue. There are
hundreds of hams with stuff sitting on a shelf who would
rather hear it on the air than look at it. It would be difficult
for me to list the equipment that has been given or "sold"
to me for generously low prices.

Thanks to N4VMY (SK), and many others.
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Old 03-09-2019, 01:25:18 PM
Birken Vogt Birken Vogt is offline
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Default Re: The $50 Ham

Here is another theory of mine. It started years ago when we acquired an ancient HP network analyzer and a return loss bridge. We used it to tune antennas spot on frequency for commercial use. They really seemed to perform.

So now I do not use an antenna tuner. I have a 5 band resonant "cage" style dipole. 160-10 meters. It cost like $250 fully assembled. I spent a lot of time and effort getting it tuned where I use it. It performs very well.

I am a big believer in resonant antennas. Nothing to support it other than personal experience. But they are easy to make and they really seem to work.
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Old 03-15-2019, 02:45:51 AM
dkamp dkamp is offline
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Default Re: The $50 Ham

Wayne- you couldn't have put it better, especially with regards to Bill N4VMY... what a guy...

With respect to antennas... yep, naturally resonant antennas are always best... anything a guy does to try and 'tune' the antenna, is simply trying to correct a mismatch. Doesn't mean that a non-resonant won't work... it just means that you have an opportunity for loss where there would otherwise be none.

But I was on 160 one night... oh... 25 years ago? 1907... chatting with lessee... Russ in Schaumburg, and John W9AT in LaGrange... and Steve in Jersey, and Mike down near Joplin, Mo... and Bob in Melrose, Wi (sorry, I can't remember callsigns, and my logbook is 1800 miles from me right now)...

So this feller joins in to chat, we welcome him in, and he's running an inverted L, with a quartet of 572B's driven by a Kenwood something... around 600w or so. It was a nice, clear, dry night, I was hearing him around 10 over S9... and that was pretty much the same he was getting everyone but mebbie Mike (he was in a 'challenged' spot)...

Anyway, he gave out his reports... mine was 40 over S9... then asked what I was running. Well, it's a random-length dipole, consisting of about 220 feet of whatever braided wire I happened to have... I soldered them all together, folded it in half, cut it in the middle, fitted insulators and 300-ohm ladder line down to a 4:1 balun, and about 6ft of coax to my homebrew tuner.

He proceeded to do a mathematical analysis of my setup, and concluded that it 'simply wouldn't work'.

Of course, if I put enough power to it, he would've been able to get that kind of signal strength. I informed him that my Icom 745 was pushing oh... mebbie 80w or so.

Yeah...

The reason why it worked, was because I made it in my shack, on a tuesday night in December, when it was 14 degrees and blowing snow, and I hoisted it up a rope to sidearm on my Rohn 45 while standing in pajamas. Everyone knows that if you really, really want an antenna to perform well, you HAVE to do it in the most shoddy fashion, under the worst weather conditions. IF you take the time to do it right, and you wait for the weather to be optimal, you simply will NOT get 'real' performance.
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Old 03-15-2019, 10:10:35 AM
gnucklehead gnucklehead is offline
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Default Re: The $50 Ham

All you need is $20 for one of those cute little Baofeng jobbies, and away you go

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Old 03-15-2019, 06:39:14 PM
Wayne 440 Wayne 440 is online now
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Default Re: The $50 Ham

Quote:
Originally Posted by dkamp View Post
...it worked, was because I made it in my shack, on a tuesday night in December, when it was 14 degrees and blowing snow, and I hoisted it up a rope to sidearm on my Rohn 45 while standing in pajamas...
My first HF antenna here was a horizontal V fed with 300 ohm twin lead, put up just after daylight on a snowy, windy, COLD Saturday. I made the mistake of telling WA4*** that I would get an antenna up "whenever you feel like helping me". While I thawed out with a cup of coffee, WA4*** worked Switzerland via my Kenwood 520 at some tremendous CW speed which I will never attain. I used the antenna with good results for some time.
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