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Old 07-16-2008, 11:35 AM   #1 (permalink)
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ScottKuma's Avatar
 
Location: Maineville, OH
Amateur (Ham) Radio advice needed...

After being a "permanent" Technician class Ham Operator for the past 16 years, I devoted myself at this year's Dayton to achieving the Amateur Extra class ranking before year's end. On July 5, I achieved that goal! I promised myself that when I got Extra class, I would buy myself my first "real" rig (in other words, one that can do something other than 2 meters @ 5W). Now I intend to make good on my promise! I've done some research, but before taking the plunge and laying out the ca$h, I thought I would throw this out to the cumulative knowledge amassed here at TFP to see if there's any advice, criticism or guidance you might provide:

The Goal

Since I live in an antenna-restricted, covenant-controlled neighborhood, I am unable to put much of an antenna on my home (1). Having said that, I DO want to be able to work the HF bands, but want to gear my rig toward a more portable installation. I am picturing a system designed to be easily set up & torn down - something that could contribute to a collective Field Day station, taken on a family camping trip, set up in the backyard for some patio DX, or be transported & set up during an emergency. However, I'm also seeking a lot of flexibility in the bands / modes that I can work. I'm a geek, so digital modes are a near-necessity for me (a laptop or other computing devices aren't a problem).

The Budget

I am going to be spreading the purchase out over about six months' time, but wish to keep my total expenditure under $1700. My initial focus will be on the Radio & Antenna, with accessories coming later.

The Radio

I've narrowed the radio down to the following possibilities, ranked in order of my preference:
  1. Yaesu FT-897D
  2. Yaesu FT-450
  3. Kenwood TS-480SAT

I really like that the FT-897D is basically an all-mode, all-band transceiver, and includes 2m & 440 MHz. (100W out on HF-6M, 50W on 2M, 20W on 440MHz), It is form factored for portability, but it's portable focus means that I would lose easy access to features, since it is necessarily menu-driven. That's not necessarily a killing point for me. It has options for insertable batteries and power supply, either of which would greatly simplify mobile/portable setup. However, including those options makes this quite expensive

The FT-450 has a lot of visual appeal to me - it just LOOKS like a radio! It's also the cheapest option, and includes an internal antenna tuner. However, I lose anything above 2M, and it's not made for portability, per se.

To be honest, I threw in the TS-480SAT to include an option that isn't a Yaesu product. The Kenwood offering is the most expensive that I explored, but does offer me features like internet connectability (which is NICE, since I am a geek!)

The Antenna

Here I haven't put quite as much thought. To be honest, I probably need more help/advice here than anywhere else! Since I'm looking for simple, portable operation, I was looking at:
  1. The BuddiPole antenna system (or something similar)
  2. Yaesu's ATAS series screwdriver antennas.
  3. Something more homebrew

The Request

To the wise, radio-active readers of TFP: can you think of anything I've missed? If you have experience with any of the radios/antennas I've listed above, I'd love to hear anything you wish to throw my way! Is there a radio I've completely missed? Maybe an antenna to buy/build that you think would be good for my needs?

I appreciate any help you all have to throw my way!

73 de N8VSI/AE !

------

Footnote:

(1): Yes, I know I have options for antennas that I could install at my home...and I probably will end up with some sort of antenna, be it a dipole strung along the apex or eave of my roof or a small-ish antenna that I can keep within 10' of my roofline, while still getting a couple of bands. HOWEVER! That's not my question here, and I don't wish to start the base antenna holy war. Please read on!
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Last edited by ScottKuma; 07-16-2008 at 11:57 AM.. Reason: grammar, grammar, grammar!
ScottKuma is offline  
Old 08-25-2008, 03:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
Very Insignificant Pawn
 
Location: Amsterdam, NL
I wish I still had a license. I had an advanced in the 70s and 80s.
I was a tech in the early 60s.
I would look at the ARRL antenna book and talk to other hams.
As you see, there is not much ham interest in this forum.
Various whips could be used on one mount on your car.
In some locations (up high and clear) that might be useful and easy.

Good luck.
flat5 is offline  
 

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