Author Topic: Chem's 1 in 15 Ham Plan  (Read 29056 times)

Offline machinisttx

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Re: Chem's 1 in 15 Ham Plan
« Reply #30 on: February 13, 2016, 08:12:02 AM »
Good luck to you.  :) I did not find the General test to be that difficult, but I have a pretty good memory for things I'm interested in. I don't recall when I got my license, but I did not acquire a HF rig for several years after and still have never gotten around to setting it up. I rarely turn on my 2m/70cm rigs.

Offline Chemsoldier

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Re: Chem's 1 in 15 Ham Plan
« Reply #31 on: February 13, 2016, 09:37:49 AM »
Well, I passed my General and am waiting to see how epically I failed the Extra exam.

Now I gotta find an HF rig. Hamfests here I come!

Offline Ms. Albatross

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Re: Chem's 1 in 15 Ham Plan
« Reply #32 on: February 13, 2016, 01:52:49 PM »

Offline Bradbn4

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Re: Chem's 1 in 15 Ham Plan
« Reply #33 on: February 13, 2016, 03:37:51 PM »
Well, I passed my General and am waiting to see how epically I failed the Extra exam.

Now I gotta find an HF rig. Hamfests here I come!

Two down, one to go - sort of like eating peanuts - It should be interesting to find out what rig you find.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Chem's 1 in 15 Ham Plan
« Reply #34 on: February 14, 2016, 12:40:44 AM »
Well, I passed my General and am waiting to see how epically I failed the Extra exam.

Now I gotta find an HF rig. Hamfests here I come!

Get one of the big 3 brands , 100 watts 1-30mhz that < 20 years old and you'll be decent shape.

Don't be tempted by QRP or portable bug out rigs to start off.  Learn using a full featured desktop rig if you can.

FT450 IC718, etc.  Would all be great first rigs

Offline jerseyboy

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Re: Chem's 1 in 15 Ham Plan
« Reply #35 on: February 14, 2016, 09:48:42 AM »
Get one of the big 3 brands , 100 watts 1-30mhz that < 20 years old and you'll be decent shape.

Don't be tempted by QRP or portable bug out rigs to start off.  Learn using a full featured desktop rig if you can.

FT450 IC718, etc.  Would all be great first rigs

Most of the desktop kenwoods come with auto tuners

Congratulations on the general

Jerseyboy

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: Chem's 1 in 15 Ham Plan
« Reply #36 on: February 14, 2016, 03:39:30 PM »
Well, I passed my General and am waiting to see how epically I failed the Extra exam.
Congrats Chem!  Believe me, General is plenty of band, and frankly it's where most of the action is.  Don't even worry about studying for the Extra, oh I'd say for at least a year, if ever.  Brave of you to go for the gusto though.

Good luck shopping at the next hamfest.  Let us know when you're on the air – or have any questions on the way there.

Offline Chemsoldier

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Re: Chem's 1 in 15 Ham Plan
« Reply #37 on: February 14, 2016, 05:11:48 PM »
Congrats Chem!  Believe me, General is plenty of band, and frankly it's where most of the action is.  Don't even worry about studying for the Extra, oh I'd say for at least a year, if ever.  Brave of you to go for the gusto though.

Good luck shopping at the next hamfest.  Let us know when you're on the air – or have any questions on the way there.
Thanks brother.

So, a buddy got his Extra at the same session and I got a 50% on Extra with no study.  His Gordon West study guide goes obsolete in June when the Extra question pool turns over. So I borrowed it and am going to get to work.  I also just printed out the VE application packet.

I talked to another local ham about getting on his HF rig once in a while to get some time on the HF bands.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Chem's 1 in 15 Ham Plan
« Reply #38 on: February 14, 2016, 05:23:17 PM »
Thanks brother.

So, a buddy got his Extra at the same session and I got a 50% on Extra with no study.  His Gordon West study guide goes obsolete in June when the Extra question pool turns over. So I borrowed it and am going to get to work.  I also just printed out the VE application packet.

I talked to another local ham about getting on his HF rig once in a while to get some time on the HF bands.

Congrats again.  The club that tested me had me take the extra after they scored my general, but I have no idea how I scored.
I have taken some practice exams and am also around the 50% range.  Don't get discouraged if you can't get around to passing that before the summer pool transition.  I don't think there's much practical advantage, but it is a great personal challenge.

If you are anything like me, or a handful of other new(re) general operators, you'll have questions/issues with RFI, grounding, maybe power and other mundane stuff.  In my house, stray RF when I TX would turn on all manner of kids toys, and random appliances.

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: Chem's 1 in 15 Ham Plan
« Reply #39 on: February 14, 2016, 07:25:12 PM »
So, a buddy got his Extra at the same session and I got a 50% on Extra with no study.  His Gordon West study guide goes obsolete in June when the Extra question pool turns over. So I borrowed it and am going to get to work.  I also just printed out the VE application packet.
50% without studying, free study guide, and an inclination to go for it – sounds like a plan!  You'll make it, and learn a lot along the way.


Quote
I talked to another local ham about getting on his HF rig once in a while to get some time on the HF bands.
That's a great idea.  Good to have somebody nearby, stepping you through those first few HF QSOs, on a rig that you know is all in good working order.

Offline Chemsoldier

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Re: Chem's 1 in 15 Ham Plan
« Reply #40 on: March 22, 2016, 01:09:25 PM »
So its been eventful of late.

As I put on another thread:

"I have the new H/T (an FT-60R) in my sedan now with the speaker/hand microphone and magna mount. 

This weekend will install the new FT-2900 in my truck as well as a permanently mounted 1/4 wave antenna.  So I will now have a near permanent set up in both vehicles, the house, and a commo go bag."



But that's not all!

A buddy and I used a Stanley rolling toolbox as a shell to build a battery backup to the ham stand. 
Materials:
1 Stanley rolling toolbox
1 Deep Cycle Battery
1 CAT Charger / Charge Controller
1 800 Watt Inverter
Wires and stuff, some fasteners

Battery secured in the bottom of the box, charger and inverter fastened to the lid of the box.  Wires running from the terminals to the SAMLEX power supply for the ham stand (it is one made for battery back up, its an AC power supply that has the battery in on the back, when the AC power dies it automatically starts drawing from the battery). 

So, the battery is kept charged by the charger/charge controller.  When the power dies, the battery starts running the radio on the stand (just a 2 Meter for now).  Whoever is home unplugs the power strip for the stand that runs the laptop power supply, H/T chargers and AA/AAA charger; from the wall and plugs it into the 800 watt inverter and flips on the inverter.

Future steps:
1.  There is room in the box for a second deep cycle battery.
2.  Add other light drawing items like LED lights and a small fan for the summer
3.  Solar panels at some point.

I know, I know...this thread is worthless without pics.  I need to take some.

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Chem's 1 in 15 Ham Plan
« Reply #41 on: March 22, 2016, 01:23:57 PM »
Possibly what I will miss most about not having a truck are the near endless possibilities for antenna installations. At one point I had 3 mounted in the bed.
While I prefer driving the newer sedan, I do have to take much more care with running cables and mounting components.  On the other hand, I have a vehicle that comfortably seats 4 adults, and a large locking trunk. 


Offline machinisttx

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Re: Chem's 1 in 15 Ham Plan
« Reply #42 on: March 22, 2016, 09:50:01 PM »
Possibly what I will miss most about not having a truck are the near endless possibilities for antenna installations. At one point I had 3 mounted in the bed.
While I prefer driving the newer sedan, I do have to take much more care with running cables and mounting components.  On the other hand, I have a vehicle that comfortably seats 4 adults, and a large locking trunk.

What I miss most about driving a truck is being able to toss anything and everything into the bed to haul it. Having to hook up a trailer or fight stuff into the back of my jeep, strap it to the roof rack...or put it on a hitch mounted carrier...are less than ideal for me.

Offline Carl

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Re: Chem's 1 in 15 Ham Plan
« Reply #43 on: March 23, 2016, 04:20:55 AM »
It sure takes a lot of work to get away from it all......... :popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn:

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Chem's 1 in 15 Ham Plan
« Reply #44 on: March 23, 2016, 07:41:57 AM »
It sure takes a lot of work to get away from it all......... :popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn: :popcorn:

I once went for a walk into the forest with only a bottle of water, pocket knife and my dog.  Was gone a few hours and survived.

Offline Carl

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Re: Chem's 1 in 15 Ham Plan
« Reply #45 on: March 23, 2016, 09:24:06 PM »
I once went for a walk into the forest with only a bottle of water, pocket knife and my dog.  Was gone a few hours and survived.

Minimalist,manimalist in training..

My dog carried more for EDC

Offline Chemsoldier

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Re: Chem's 1 in 15 Ham Plan
« Reply #46 on: June 30, 2016, 01:50:35 PM »
Finally got my Extra, with a whole 24 hours to spare before the Extra Class test pool changed! It feels weird not feeling compelled to study in spare moments.


Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Chem's 1 in 15 Ham Plan
« Reply #47 on: June 30, 2016, 02:38:26 PM »
Finally got my Extra, with a whole 24 hours to spare before the Extra Class test pool changed! It feels weird not feeling compelled to study in spare moments.

fantastic.  are you celebrating with any new gear purchase, or perhaps a shortened vanity callsign?

Offline Carl

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Re: Chem's 1 in 15 Ham Plan
« Reply #48 on: June 30, 2016, 03:10:52 PM »
Finally got my Extra, with a whole 24 hours to spare before the Extra Class test pool changed! It feels weird not feeling compelled to study in spare moments.

Great goin' CHEM

Offline Chemsoldier

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Re: Chem's 1 in 15 Ham Plan
« Reply #49 on: June 30, 2016, 04:12:32 PM »
fantastic.  are you celebrating with any new gear purchase, or perhaps a shortened vanity callsign?
I bought the gear to do a mobile install in my sedan. The home FT-2900 is going in the car and next month (in July) I will buy the home base station! Debating on an HF rig and separate VHF/UHF or just one of the "it does everything " radios.

Thoughts?

Offline Smurf Hunter

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Re: Chem's 1 in 15 Ham Plan
« Reply #50 on: June 30, 2016, 04:37:30 PM »
I bought the gear to do a mobile install in my sedan. The home FT-2900 is going in the car and next month (in July) I will buy the home base station! Debating on an HF rig and separate VHF/UHF or just one of the "it does everything " radios.

Thoughts?

Really the main upside to getting an all-in-one, all mode rig is you can do SSB on 2 meters.
It's often cheaper to get a basic HF 160-10m and a separate dual band vhf+uhf mobile.

I have an old ham swap meet rig that works ok.  It's missing some modern features and has some quirks, but I paid only $275 and could easily get $300 for it with some effort.

If I had $700 to spend on a new HF rig, I'd probably get an FT-450D or an IC-718.  If the prices are the same or close, the yaesu has an edge, as it has a built-in auto tuner and does 6 meters.  I wish I could still get an IC-7200, as they seem right up my ally for field use, but they are discontinued, and have now increased in price as if they are some cult icon.

While I don't like a lot of the software menus in many rigs, if I went higher end to something like an FT-991 or even an IC-7300, I would quickly get over it.  I really like the band scopes on these higher end models.  If you use PSK31, you know what I'm talking about, but these are built-in to the rig, and cover a broader spectrum.  The added filters could allow you to hear what another rig cannot.


Offline Carl

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Re: Chem's 1 in 15 Ham Plan
« Reply #51 on: June 30, 2016, 05:07:26 PM »
Also the radio is just a very small part of the cost of using 2 meter and 440 UHF SINGLE SIDEBAND as you will need a rotator and HORIZONTAL beam antennas and usually a power amplifier to operate in a lonely band that few use or go to the cost of doing right...my MINIMAL SSB antenna ,rotator and used 30 foot tower cost about $1000 ...without the low loss coax,$900 dollar amplifier and additional cost of the radio...and I don't like the failure rate of the NEW ,all band ,all mode radios as a single output circuit just does not handle the stress of FM well.

I like 2 meter SSB ,but the return of investment is minimal when compared to using HF. I don't discourage people using 2 SSB,but unless the commit to some costly specialized antenna ,rotor,and amplifier...often they will give up.SSB is more 'private' and capable of long range ...but there is no easy button to achieving effectiveness.

Rant over. :)

Offline Bradbn4

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Re: Chem's 1 in 15 Ham Plan
« Reply #52 on: July 04, 2016, 08:43:56 AM »
Finally got my Extra, with a whole 24 hours to spare before the Extra Class test pool changed! It feels weird not feeling compelled to study in spare moments.

When I passed the test I did think; now what will I do in my spare time.  I missed a clean sweep by one question for all three tests, but was sure happy when it was completed.

No new shinny, bling, bling toys for me right now...too busy getting my old SUV back into like new condition.  New set of tires was not cheap...

But this hardware does look sweet...I guess it is time to setup a good 'mad fund' for non-normal budget items.

http://www.gigaparts.com/Product-Lines/HF-6M-Radios/Icom-IC-7300.html

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: Chem's 1 in 15 Ham Plan
« Reply #53 on: July 06, 2016, 05:10:25 PM »
Finally got my Extra, with a whole 24 hours to spare before the Extra Class test pool changed! It feels weird not feeling compelled to study in spare moments.
Congrats Chem!