I Need Help Getting Set Up

TerriN

New member
Hi,

Im looking to get set up to be a Ham Radio user. I'm looking to pay for expert advice to point me in the right direction for my purchases.
My number is 559-904-1406. Text me please if you're interested.

Thank You,

Terri Nelson
 

KY4TRK

James KY4TRK Activity Director
Staff member
Hi,

Im looking to get set up to be a Ham Radio user. I'm looking to pay for expert advice to point me in the right direction for my purchases.
My number is 559-904-1406. Text me please if you're interested.

Thank You,

Terri Nelson
Good afternoon, just wanted to replay to your post and not leave you hanging. KY4TRK
 

Kosmo

Active member
Hi Terri. I'm far from an expert, so I won't provide any expert advice but I can say many of the guys in here will be quite hepful. If you have the ability to listen to some of the nets, you might try starting there. If you are really adventurous, you can take a look at Hoshnasi's Ham Radio Crash Crash course . Its an online community where all the new hams seem to be spending time nowadays. Josh has plenty of volunteers to hep with the discord chats, the radio nets, the you tube channel etc. Every wee HRCC have plenty of stuff all aimed at getting people online and outfit with the correct gear.
 

TerriN

New member
Hi Terri. I'm far from an expert, so I won't provide any expert advice but I can say many of the guys in here will be quite hepful. If you have the ability to listen to some of the nets, you might try starting there. If you are really adventurous, you can take a look at Hoshnasi's Ham Radio Crash Crash course . Its an online community where all the new hams seem to be spending time nowadays. Josh has plenty of volunteers to hep with the discord chats, the radio nets, the you tube channel etc. Every wee HRCC have plenty of stuff all aimed at getting people online and outfit with the correct gear.
Hi, I will do that for sure. Just wanted to buy my equipment first, today, and then start learning. If I showed you what I wanted to buy could you confirm it will be what I need?
 

Kosmo

Active member
Hi Terri, I'll provide my two cents. That said, just starting, you can get started with a handheld like a Baofeng, UV5R or the FT8M. You can find them on Amazon from $35 to $65 depending on the version and accessory pack you choose with them. You can then download "Chirp" which is a programming application to manage your channels and such. Just make sure to buy the correct "programming" cable for whatever radio you chose. Else, you will be stuck programming using the micro sized keys. Chirp, in many, dare I say most ways is superior to many of the vendor applications that ship with more expensive radios. Chirp, is your friend. Now, before the haters hate on me for recommending a Baofeng, I would like to say this. I honestly don't think you will be happy with anything you buy out of the gate because your learning curve is going to skyrocket over the next few months or however long it takes you to study for the Technician exam. You will begin exploring parts of radios based on your preferences as a person and some radios do things better or differently than others. For example, QRP is kind of having its day right now. QRP is a style of radio that focuses on portability and low wattage and strives to achieve maximum effective contact range with said equipment. On the other hand, you may be a power HAM and have your shack ready for world wide HF. Suffice it to say, you have two different equipment requirements for these paths and what anyone tells you now is not necessarily what you want to do later. So, the easiest way is to start off with a dual band or tri band handheld. I can hit our club repeater from my house in Visalia with my 5w Yaesu FT3DR handheld and most times I am told I sound great. In my case. I started with the Baofengs then, once I realized I was serious about radio, I purchased the FT3DR handheld. Wouldn't trade it for anything right now, the FT991A as a "Base" station and the FTM400XDR for my Jeep. However, I decided I wanted the XDR serving as a transmitter/receiver for my WiresX station so its not in the Jeep yet. You may see a trend with my choices. Yaesu. Yes, I made the choice to stick to one vendor so as to learn the "way" of things one time. Rather than to be forced to learn 3 different use styles from 3 entirely different vendors. As far as "antenna" go. I am planning on am attic antenna soon but for now I have an assortment of vertical dual band. The best of which is the Atas 25 I use on a tripod. I do have a Comet GP-9 but I've not permanently installed it yet so not sure how well it will eventually perform. Beyond this, I have some smaller mag mount mobile antenna I use on a slab of metal in my loft that seem to work just fine for hitting club repeater as well. Keep in mind, HF and VHF are line of site so your home and surroundings will greatly affect the efficacy of any antenna you buy so I would recommend buying from a place that accepts returns pretty easily. Hope this helps and will reply to your equipment list when you post it.
 

Kosmo

Active member
Hi Terri, I'll provide my two cents. That said, just starting, you can get started with a handheld like a Baofeng, UV5R or the FT8M. You can find them on Amazon from $35 to $65 depending on the version and accessory pack you choose with them. You can then download "Chirp" which is a programming application to manage your channels and such. Just make sure to buy the correct "programming" cable for whatever radio you chose. Else, you will be stuck programming using the micro sized keys. Chirp, in many, dare I say most ways is superior to many of the vendor applications that ship with more expensive radios. Chirp, is your friend. Now, before the haters hate on me for recommending a Baofeng, I would like to say this. I honestly don't think you will be happy with anything you buy out of the gate because your learning curve is going to skyrocket over the next few months or however long it takes you to study for the Technician exam. You will begin exploring parts of radios based on your preferences as a person and some radios do things better or differently than others. For example, QRP is kind of having its day right now. QRP is a style of radio that focuses on portability and low wattage and strives to achieve maximum effective contact range with said equipment. On the other hand, you may be a power HAM and have your shack ready for world wide HF. Suffice it to say, you have two different equipment requirements for these paths and what anyone tells you now is not necessarily what you want to do later. So, the easiest way is to start off with a dual band or tri band handheld. I can hit our club repeater from my house in Visalia with my 5w Yaesu FT3DR handheld and most times I am told I sound great. In my case. I started with the Baofengs then, once I realized I was serious about radio, I purchased the FT3DR handheld. Wouldn't trade it for anything right now, the FT991A as a "Base" station and the FTM400XDR for my Jeep. However, I decided I wanted the XDR serving as a transmitter/receiver for my WiresX station so its not in the Jeep yet. You may see a trend with my choices. Yaesu. Yes, I made the choice to stick to one vendor so as to learn the "way" of things one time. Rather than to be forced to learn 3 different use styles from 3 entirely different vendors. As far as "antenna" go. I am planning on am attic antenna soon but for now I have an assortment of vertical dual band. The best of which is the Atas 25 I use on a tripod. I do have a Comet GP-9 but I've not permanently installed it yet so not sure how well it will eventually perform. Beyond this, I have some smaller mag mount mobile antenna I use on a slab of metal in my loft that seem to work just fine for hitting club repeater as well. Keep in mind, HF and VHF are line of site so your home and surroundings will greatly affect the efficacy of any antenna you buy so I would recommend buying from a place that accepts returns pretty easily. Hope this helps and will reply to your equipment list when you post it.
Sorry. UHF/VHF line of site. Thankfully reread my wandering wall of text.
 

Kosmo

Active member
Couple of additional thoughts. Don't overlook the need for "testing" equipment. Especially, antenna anlyzers / swr meters. In my humble opinion the difference between knowing you have a bad antenna installation and a good one isn't known until you are able to quantify the performance with metrics vs just hearing clarity. At the very least, get yourself a digital meter so you don't have to "fret" about calibration prior to measuring SWR. I bought an SX-600 early on and it mainly sits around looking cool versus the digital "Surecom" I bought last year. Liked the Surecom so much I bought the v2 this year. The Surecom is the proverbial "easy button" for hams that haven't achieved a PhD in antenna engineering. Press the button an know everything you need to know and if you mess with the settings too much just long press the button and restore it back to factory default like it came off the assembly line yesterday.

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Keep in mind the frequency range this operates and you can't go wrong. Of course, in my humble opinion.

I also invested in a "nano vna" for thorough analysis. The entire "New" generation of HAMS is completely consumed by the omnipotent "Nano" I think I originally bought it because I felt I had to have one. It too was a paperweight until I finally watched Josh at HRCC do a tutorial on it and I followed through and learned it. Oh wow, it was like turning on a light. All those little squiggly lines started making sense all at once. Now, I love it and swear by it for really digging into your antenna setup. The cool thing about the Surecom is you can leave it installed. It won't hurt anything to always have it available at the press of a button. Just take it off periodically to charge it. I think I've charged my first one a total of 3 times in the year I had it so it doesn't need much charging. The cool thing about the nano is its the tool everyone is using right now so there is a ton of internet tutotial material on it and pretty much ever chat you run into, you will find someone who is versed and can help. I dare you to try it and not feel a sense of accomplishment whn that learning curve light comes on and your antenna performance suddenly comes into view. Its great and won't break the bank either. Some of the more expensive ones can be connected via bluetooth to a tablet. The one I chose can connect directly to a windows computer once you download the software. I usually just forgo the computer and put on my reading glasses. Don't forget the sma to uhf connectors too.

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Also you will want a power supply to power you 12V DC equipment. There are as many opinions as there are power supplies to try. I use two but originally purchased others which I either returned or sold on ebay. Of the two I have had success with, one was more more expensive than the other but both are working awesome and not introducing RF that I have to deal with. I originally bought them due to their Amazon ratings but kept these two because they far outperformed the others I purchased, including "Diamond". You will want to "Size" your amperage to handle the particular gear you want but otherwise, my advise here is TekPower as they are performing exceptionally for me and didn't break the bank.

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TerriN

New member
I have purchases the Baofeng UV-82HP with a whip antenna and the icom FM transceiver IC-2300H

I want to purchase the antennas and the power thumb nail. Am I on the right trail?

Being extremely new and not knowledgable at all, I hope to purchase the equipment and then take the time to work my way through it.

Thanks for your feed back and help
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Kosmo

Active member
While I have no experience with that ICOM radio, it's plenty popular and will get you started for sure. If yo uare planning on using it as a base station in home then the power supply you chose looks good but as far as antenna go, I would recommend yo ustart off with a mobile antenna. Something like a Comet mag mount. On my first mobile to base station I used a Comet-M24 mag mount and it did very well on 144 and good to well on 440 with zero trimming or tuning. Just slapped in on a big piece of metal I tend to think makes my mag mounts work better when indoors. That particular Baofeng is new to me. I haven't seen it before so I can't speak to that but its dual band and available so should get you going. I would imagine it is very similar to the UV5R model in terms of programming in Chirp. This is the newer version of the 8 watt Baofeng I have and I do know it is completely compatible with Chirp. In your case, the radio you show is likely compatible as Baofeng supports the Chirp project with funding so I'd venture to guess it will work out great.

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If you haven't already done so. Please create yourself an account at Hamstudy.org and astart going through the Technician training. When you consistently score 80% or better in all question groups and on all practice exams you are ready for the test.

In terms of large vertical antenna or home "base station" antenna I'll defer to some of the more tenured guys as I'm using the Atas 25 and a couple of Mag Mounts. One being the COMET-NCG M-24M which I use mobile and indoors. Honestly though every antenna will work slightly different depending on your environment so you might end up trying a few different ones until you get it just right. Pretty much any dual band 2m/70cm will be a usable antenna for years so don't be affraid to explore a little.

I'll check in again later this evening, my lunch hour is ending.
 
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