Author Topic: Choosing the right HT  (Read 29083 times)

W2IBC

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #60 on: February 22, 2010, 09:29:47 PM »
IMO best HT Icom IC-T7H 2/440 5W had one liked it alot.

Offline kc9eci

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #61 on: February 22, 2010, 09:32:25 PM »
Yep, and then there is Midcars or some such on 40M, and there is always someone on 80M.  I have no doubt, you start calling Mayday on any amateur freq and you will get a reply in short order.  It however pays to have some basic understanding of how propagation works and what band to use.  i.e., I'm much rather call for help on 80M at midnight local time than 15M or 20M, even though I have worked New New Zealand at 1AM local time with 5 watts and a G5RV from a gravel quarry.  Like any tool that someone plans to use, some training and practice with it before it's needed will pay off in the end and might mean the difference between life and death.

Offline scoutmaster

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #62 on: February 24, 2010, 08:29:00 AM »
Oh brother....have I been despairing! I sure hope I'm not the only one out there that gets their ticket and then has the kind of issues I am having.

I tested distance on them today to see if I could reach home. I am guessing the distance was close to five miles, but I was in an elevated area looking down towards the community we live in. Our home20 was behind a hill and down the road a bit from my point of view, yet she could still hear me okay.

 I then decided to drive down the road a bit, and was at a lower elevation and it was a no go.

 The biggest problem that I think I am having is my inability to hit the repeater. The two guys at the office can't understand why I can't do so. The big a=s mountain with the repeater on it is right there! It is putting out 150W.

I am going to attend the local radio club meeting tonight to see if I can find out what the hay I am doing wrong!


Don't give up, It will come.

That is one of the main problems, ALL and I mean ALL of the new hams have.  None of us know what to get or what to expect from it, at first or even 30 years later.  Thats why we all have a shelf full of rigs that we use to use. It is also why I think it is funny when I hear guys say they will buy rigs and put away, only to  bring them out with out a license, after a SHTF and use them.

My guess is they will do well to get them turned on little loan talk to some one on it. with out a little practice and debugging.

I think you are fighting two different problems, First I would get a much better antenna to use from home.( I think that with a high mounted location ( top of the house or TV antenna, chimney))would cure your dead spots problems.) It will not matter what radio you end up with the good antennas will work on all of them, As I said use good coax, I like belden 9913 or something at least as good. Feed-line can make or break a system. It will double or even triple your simplex distance, and distance to other systems. Even using HTs on the antenna.

As far as an antenna there are hundreds, Just get something with High gain. I like Hustler G7-144 ( it is a 7 DB gain antenna) I use them on several of my repeater systems, some I have had up as long as 20 years.  I have tried the screw together fiberglass ones and I keep getting water in them.

But we have some pretty bad weather up here half of the year so it takes a beating.


As far as not hitting the repeater, or hearing it, I think you just have something set wrong, or the system is just not on the air. Have you checked the CTCSS, in-code de-code, You could be muting the receive  on the rig, if you have it turned on.

 If the repeater is not sending out a PL tone it would not open up the receive on the HT and it would sound like no one is on the air.  It can be something as simple as that.  Usually the mountain top systems can be hit with HTs from Many many miles away. If you can see where the system is( top of the mountain) you will be hitting it.

Keep working on it, and hams love to help so don't worry about needing a little help we have all been there. And once you go to a few club meetings you will have more help than you need,  (believe me) Just be careful and hook up with a seasoned guy.
 
( I know I will take heat for this one)

But some of the newer guys that have read all the books, think they have all the answers, But they don't. Even after almost 40 years I know I have only scratched the surface. I frequently look for one of the old timers, when getting into another aspect of the hobby.

 It is just to vast for any one to have a good grasp on the whole thing. I have had some of the guys on other forums tell me I can't talk 100 miles on VHF, I did not have the heart to tell them I do it all the time. But theory says it is line of sight, and here in michigan it is not 100 miles. But the books say line of sight, Thats why they call it theory.

Don't despair we all have been there when that wears off you will love it, and the XYL will find it has many good uses as well.
Good luck
SM
« Last Edit: February 24, 2010, 08:35:41 AM by scoutmaster »

Offline kc9eci

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #63 on: February 24, 2010, 02:25:41 PM »

But some of the newer guys that have read all the books, think they have all the answers, But they don't. Even after almost 40 years I know I have only scratched the surface. I frequently look for one of the old timers, when getting into another aspect of the hobby.

I figure the day I stop finding things to learn, they better start throwing dirt on my corpse because I've died.

Offline scoutmaster

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #64 on: February 24, 2010, 05:36:35 PM »
I agree completely, I have just run into a few that did not look at it that way, Did not want occeltic to run into one of them. the new stuff alone is more than you can keep up with.

Offline dmart

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #65 on: February 24, 2010, 05:37:00 PM »
I used to have the toughest time getting the tone function to work on my transceiver so I could bring up repeaters that required tone.  Then there were all the problems that I had to work out with APRS. It's a great hobbie though.  I really enjoyed my first 6-meter contact last night, a 30 minute QSO(conversation)with one of the local hams here.
Dmart

Offline kc9eci

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #66 on: February 24, 2010, 05:50:36 PM »
Just wait until you catch a 6M opening.  That is my favorite band.  I picked up a 6M rig a few years ago, had it set up for about a week when there was, by all accounts, the biggest aurora opening in years.  I had a blast.

Offline scoutmaster

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #67 on: February 24, 2010, 07:25:56 PM »
Sounds like a good Idea, I have 6 as well, we use it for local, but When it opens we will be ready. One of the things I like about the multi band rigs,
« Last Edit: February 24, 2010, 07:28:11 PM by scoutmaster »

Offline AZCeltic formerly occeltic

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #68 on: February 24, 2010, 10:39:24 PM »
Thanks for hanging in with me as I work to get over the newbie hurdles of having a first radio! You guys are awesome! ;D
I did attend the local radio club's meeting on Monday night, and found it very helpful. With the information that I gained that night, I was able to get on the air via a 440 repeater in the Win System. I am finding it amazing how many folks from all over the western region of the U.S. and even further via DXing are talking on this repeater system. I will be joining the local club which will increase my repeater access.
I know SM that you wisely advise not to depend on repeaters for communicating, but for now, I am going to be using the HT's. As I mature and gain knowledge from the great people on this board, I will move forward with additional gear such as a mobile/base for those times that we are away from civilization and need more power to reach out for contact. I really value all that you and others on this board have to share, and I appreciate your willingness to do so. :)

Occeltic
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Offline scoutmaster

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #69 on: February 25, 2010, 05:57:09 AM »
Sounds like it was helpful, and we know it would be. Hams are a great bunch of guys. Glad it worked out.
Please don't get me wrong I do not advocate not using repeaters, I love them. I have built several and use them all the time every day. Just have other plans or equipment that can kick in when the system goes down. So many don't and solely depend on the repeaters.

My point on that was when they go down have a back up plan to still communicate, So that you can talk to who you need to and continue your plans with those you need to communicate with. Just make sure you have equipment to do what you need with out systems in place.

 In the mean time have a ball, repeaters hugely enhance the VHF bands and many times allow huge distances with very small rigs. Just don't ever put all your eggs in one basket

Offline dmart

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #70 on: February 25, 2010, 05:46:23 PM »
Just wait until you catch a 6M opening.  That is my favorite band.  I picked up a 6M rig a few years ago, had it set up for about a week when there was, by all accounts, the biggest aurora opening in years.  I had a blast.
Another good thing about 6-meter, is it allows the Technician folks to get a taste of DX operating when the band is open.  I do look forward to 6 meters when the band opens up.  That happes around May, and June doesn't it?
Darren

Offline dmart

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #71 on: February 25, 2010, 05:49:44 PM »
Thanks for hanging in with me as I work to get over the newbie hurdles of having a first radio! You guys are awesome! ;D
I did attend the local radio club's meeting on Monday night, and found it very helpful. With the information that I gained that night, I was able to get on the air via a 440 repeater in the Win System. I am finding it amazing how many folks from all over the western region of the U.S. and even further via DXing are talking on this repeater system. I will be joining the local club which will increase my repeater access.
I know SM that you wisely advise not to depend on repeaters for communicating, but for now, I am going to be using the HT's. As I mature and gain knowledge from the great people on this board, I will move forward with additional gear such as a mobile/base for those times that we are away from civilization and need more power to reach out for contact. I really value all that you and others on this board have to share, and I appreciate your willingness to do so. :)

Occeltic
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I think thats allsome that you're able to get into the win system.  You'll enjoy that.  There is an IRLP repeater close to my home, and I sometimes connect to the win system through it.
Dmart

Offline kc9eci

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #72 on: February 25, 2010, 05:52:29 PM »
Another good thing about 6-meter, is it allows the Technician folks to get a taste of DX operating when the band is open.  I do look forward to 6 meters when the band opens up.  That happes around May, and June doesn't it?
Darren

It tends to be more common during the Spring/Summer, but really it's unpredictable.  One of the biggest openings I've participated in happened right after Christmas one year.

I live close to my work, so it isn't uncommon for me to come home for lunch.  I got a taste of what it's like to be the DX one day.  Just for grins I put a call out on 6M and the pileup was huge.  I eventually made it back to work, just a bit late.  

Offline AZCeltic formerly occeltic

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #73 on: February 25, 2010, 06:06:21 PM »
I tell you what: I am just getting super jazzed about all this! :)
We were listening to the Win system last night, and there was a guy connecting from Western Australia via the internet to a station in the Bronx, New York. From there he used Echolink to get into the Win System Repeaters. I continue to be amazed at all the possibilites, and look forward to many adventures in the years ahead. :) I know that I have much to learn, and am joining the local club so that I can be a part of field day to get more hands on experience with HF.
Thanks again for your help. I am sure that I will call on you again soon.  :)

Until then...."73's" and all that good stuff! ;D

Occeltic

Offline kc9eci

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #74 on: February 25, 2010, 06:27:17 PM »
No disrespect intended, and more power to the guys that get in to Echolink and IRLP (I'm putting one together now), but the magic just isn't there.  I can use a computer and VOIP to talk to someone on the other side of the globe any time I choose.  Magic is when you go string a G5RV up in a tree, plug it in to a radio, call CQ and a voice from the aether comes back to you and you suddenly discover yourself talking to someone on some tiny little island out in the Pacific.  The VOIP modes have a place and a purpose, just no real magic.

Offline AZCeltic formerly occeltic

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #75 on: February 25, 2010, 07:56:25 PM »
No disrespect taken "kc". I know that using Echolink/IRLP is a far cry from setting up a homebrewed antenna that does the same thing. But, for those of us who are at the beginning phase of Amateur Radio, and only remember the guy that your dad introduced you to that had thick glasses, a pocket protector filled with all kinds of gadgets, and a garage bench filled with all kind up humming equipment, this new way of using modern communication methods, mixed with standard type radio, is a real eye opener.
I truly want to be able to do both. When the time comes, I will be gaining much needed information from folks like you and others on this board.

Thanks for your input! :)

Occeltic
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Offline AZCeltic formerly occeltic

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #76 on: February 25, 2010, 08:01:37 PM »
Now I know that these same guys (thick glasses, pocket protectors filled with gadgets, and a garage bench top filled with all kinds of humming equipment) aren't much different than I am now. I have the glasses (not thick..lens makers have improved their product), my t-shirts don't have a place for a pocket protector, and I am trying to make an area in my garage that I can begin my collection. (Right next to my home beer brewing equipment) ;D

Offline kc9eci

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #77 on: February 25, 2010, 08:11:32 PM »
Everyone starts somewhere.  I don't want to be the guy that sits on high and looks down on the new stuff and poo poo's it.  I like to try the new stuff to see what it's all about.

Too many hams get too focused on just one aspect of the hobby.  A little attention deficit disorder spread throughout the ranks would do a world of good.

Offline AZCeltic formerly occeltic

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #78 on: February 25, 2010, 08:13:33 PM »
Amen brother! ;D

Offline dmart

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #79 on: February 25, 2010, 08:16:01 PM »
It tends to be more common during the Spring/Summer, but really it's unpredictable.  One of the biggest openings I've participated in happened right after Christmas one year.

I live close to my work, so it isn't uncommon for me to come home for lunch.  I got a taste of what it's like to be the DX one day.  Just for grins I put a call out on 6M and the pileup was huge.  I eventually made it back to work, just a bit late.  
Same here, I come home for lunch quite often, and flip on the HF rig to see whats happening.  I've made some of my most memorable contacts at home during lunch break.
Dmart

Offline dmart

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #80 on: February 25, 2010, 08:21:27 PM »
No disrespect intended, and more power to the guys that get in to Echolink and IRLP (I'm putting one together now), but the magic just isn't there.  I can use a computer and VOIP to talk to someone on the other side of the globe any time I choose.  Magic is when you go string a G5RV up in a tree, plug it in to a radio, call CQ and a voice from the aether comes back to you and you suddenly discover yourself talking to someone on some tiny little island out in the Pacific.  The VOIP modes have a place and a purpose, just no real magic.
What I do to at least pretend there is some magic, is connect the computer through a sound card interface to my pheonix UHF rig.  Then I use another radio, like my HT to connect to Echolink without actually even being near the computer.  It makes it seem a little more like ham radio, especially if I'm in the garage, or out in the backyard.
Dmart

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #81 on: February 25, 2010, 08:26:35 PM »
I tell you what: I am just getting super jazzed about all this! :)
We were listening to the Win system last night, and there was a guy connecting from Western Australia via the internet to a station in the Bronx, New York. From there he used Echolink to get into the Win System Repeaters. I continue to be amazed at all the possibilites, and look forward to many adventures in the years ahead. :) I know that I have much to learn, and am joining the local club so that I can be a part of field day to get more hands on experience with HF.
Thanks again for your help. I am sure that I will call on you again soon.  :)

Until then...."73's" and all that good stuff! ;D

Occeltic
I have Echolink on my laptop.  I didn't know I could connect to the win system through Echolink.  I'm going to look into that.  That way I wouldn't be tieing up the local 440 repeater to connect to the win system.
Dmart 


Offline kc9eci

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #82 on: February 25, 2010, 08:49:52 PM »
BTW, if any of you decide/are in to Mose code and enjoy using a straight key, give some thought to joining up with the Straight Key Century Club.  They are about 6000 members strong now and sponsor a whole bunch of on air activities each month.  They have an Elmer program, a key lending library and are just a whole bunch of fun.  Check them out at http://www.skccgroup.com/ and if you decide to join...I'll pay for your membership.

Offline AZCeltic formerly occeltic

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #83 on: February 25, 2010, 08:58:33 PM »
Hey Dmart,

I don't know for sure about the EchoLink connection to the Win System, the guy from Australia was talking about Echolink/IRLP and other things, so all I know is that he said he was using a station in the Bronx to get out onto the air. Because I am in SoCal, I was guessing that he had to be using some kind of linked system to reach the Win System. So let me know what you find out about it. What all do you need to have Echolink on your laptop? A microphone/headset?

Offline dmart

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #84 on: February 25, 2010, 09:16:02 PM »
Hey Dmart,

I don't know for sure about the EchoLink connection to the Win System, the guy from Australia was talking about Echolink/IRLP and other things, so all I know is that he said he was using a station in the Bronx to get out onto the air. Because I am in SoCal, I was guessing that he had to be using some kind of linked system to reach the Win System. So let me know what you find out about it. What all do you need to have Echolink on your laptop? A microphone/headset?
Download the program for free, and at minimum a PC microphone.  The pc speakers will work for listening if you don't have a full headset.  I have a headset that I use for skype, that works equally as well for echolink, when I don't have the laptop connected to a radio.
Dmart

Offline AZCeltic formerly occeltic

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #85 on: March 02, 2010, 08:04:41 PM »
I am sure that I will eventually get set up with Echo Link, but until then, I will continue to get used to my HT. What I am dealing with now is trying to understand why I hear so much about software that is out there that helps you manage your memories. What is this all about, and why doesn't the manual say anything about it?

Offline Stormchaser

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Re: Choosing the right HT
« Reply #86 on: March 10, 2010, 04:39:15 PM »
Have had lots of HT's over the years, but the next one is probably going to be the kenwood thf6a, with all mode receive capabilities from 100kz to 600mhz. It will transmit on the 2m, 440 & 220 bands @ 5watts. Ham bands for communication and general coverage receiver - a good BO radio IMHO.