GAS is Rearing its Ugly Head
GAS - Gear Aquisition Syndrome
I have some excellent radios. I have a KX3 that does everything including ironing my pants (well almost) and a Ten-Tec Eagle that has the smoothest CW anyone could ever want. I also have old crumugeonly radios that require the patience of Job to operate. I've been well pleased with my collection of RF generating and receiving gear for quite a while. However, my Eagle is showing its age. I had to recently replace its T/R relay and the encoders need some cleaning, but it still sounds beautiful.
The problem is these newfangled rigs with their dang, pretty front panels providing information overload with aluring displays of 3D waterfalls and teleporter controls (maybe I mis-read that last one in the specs). Many of my QSOs now are with operators that have shiny new rigs. It's just not fair that I'm staring at a segmented LCD display... or in the case of my GRC/9, the front panel equivalent of a Slide Ruler.
|The GRC/9 has the operating interface of a Slide Ruler|
but wow it's fun to operate... slowly and noisily
|The KX3 interfaces wonderfully to my Computer |
but it looks dated
Surely ham life must be better when I can gaze at the equivalent of a smart phone on the front panel when using the oldest operating mode known to man?
The Genesis of "Want More"...
In preparation for the upcoming camping season in our RV, I wired a spare 12v 25A circuit in the camper's inverter to bring 12v rig power to the dining table, and co-opted the 75ohm cable running to the cable TV output outside the camper for watching TV (why would anyone watch TV outside the camper). That cable TV output now takes my antenna connection out of the camper without drilling any holes. I bought a stellar thing called a "flagpole buddy" to hold my 30 foot telescoping mast on the ladder and wallah, I have a portable Ham shack. I was using my Ten-Tec Eagle on the dining table, and my wife was not-enthused with having half of the dining table consumed by my bleeping radio. I assured her I'd set it on the seat when not in operation, but I still received "the look".
|The magnetic in the Palm Radio Paddle attaches to the side of the Eagle |
when operating portable
|Flagpole buddy holds the mast extending up to 35 feet|
My KX3 would take up less space than the Eagle but it's a pricey little thing to leave in the camper, and I primarily use it now as my primary station in my home shack now because it's wired up to the computer using HDSDR to provide a panadapter display.
I convinced myself that the KX3 should stay in the Shack. Sometimes I do raise my power beyond QRP if the other station is struggling to copy me and as I'd be operting from a compromised antenna I wanted a rig capable of QRO, when necessary.
So being the wise and kind husband that I am; I started looking for a small, portable, inexpensive radio capable of QRO. All this was to please my wife of course.
I used to own a Yaesu FT-857 that I kept in my truck, but it was terrible at CW (IMO) and that rig seems to be pretty rare now... After considerable searching I settled on a Yaesu FT-891. They had good reports and I could separate the face and it would take up very little room on the table. Plus it had a band-scope of sorts (ah shiny). But alas, I couldn't find used ones that didn't look like they'd lived under the seat of an off-road vehicle racing in the Baja, and the new ones are out of stock everywhere. All that web searching kept popping up the rigs with the pretty front panels. Google decided it needed to serve me advertisements of pretty radios everytime I opened any web site.
Richard Carpenter, AA4OO, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from North Carolina, USA. Contact him at [email protected].
How About An Icom IC-905?
Being an enthusiast for bands above 50 MHz, I suppose I should weigh in on the new IC-905 from Icom. The street price for the basic unit is ~$3500, with various options and accessories at additional cost.
Let’s be clear about one thing, this radio is one impressive piece of technology. There is no other radio on the market that comes close to covering these VHF/UHF/SHF bands: 144, 430, 1200, 2400, and 5600 MHz (and optional 10 GHz). I won’t mention all of the features and specs covered here. I really appreciate that Icom is investing in equipment for VHF and higher, as evidenced by the IC-9700 and this radio.
For me, there are two main uses I would consider for the IC-905: Summits On The Air (SOTA) and base station use:
I focus on VHF/UHF for SOTA with 144 MHz always carrying the load in terms of making radio contacts. Lately, I have put more effort into 432 MHz and 1.2 GHz. I’ve also been trying to get out of the FM rut and work more SSB and CW on those bands. I really should get going on a portable digital station for FT8 and other modes. I have a good collection of gear to choose from, ranging from basic 5-watt FM handhelds to an IC-705 and an IC-9700. OK, the IC-9700 is a bit large to drag up most summits but I have taken it on some easy hikes and drive-up summits. Joyce/K0JJW and I also have a pair of Alinco triband handheld radios (DJ-G7T) that have 1.2 GHz FM. These radios are popular with SOTA enthusiasts due to their affordability and compact size.
What does the IC-905 offer for SOTA? Well, obviously it is a reasonable way to get on 5 or 6 bands with all modes. However, I already have the IC-705 that covers 144 and 432 MHz (and 50 MHz). Having CW/SSB on 1.2 GHz is very attractive to me but 2.4 GHz and 5.6 GHz are rarely used for SOTA. Sure, maybe the introduction of the IC-905 will change that. Maybe, but probably not. Someone commented in an online forum that you better buy two IC-905s and loan one out so you have someone to work. For my interests, I would much rather have a VHF/UHF-only variant of the IC-705 that covers the 50, 144, 440, and 1200 MHz bands. But I have come to accept the fact that radio manufacturers don’t develop radios just for me.
The other option is to use the IC-905 to get on the higher bands from my home station. I am in the process of building a VHF+ station at our cabin in the mountains, which is in a good VHF/UHF location. Honestly, my focus is on getting a tower up with good size Yagi antennas for 50 MHz and 144 MHz. Although I have operated a lot on these bands, it has usually been from portable and rover stations, during one of the VHF contests, or as a SOTA activation. I am looking forward to having an effective permanent station on the two most popular VHF bands. I am debating how much effort to put into the 430 MHz and 1200 MHz bands at the new station, and 2400 and 5600 MHz are not currently in my plans. Besides, the IC-9700 has me covered for 144, 430, and 1200 MHz. So right now, I don’t see the IC-905 being part of the home station, but that could certainly change with time.
What about the price? $3500 is a serious piece of change but probably not unreasonable for what this radio can do. Some people have said it is worth it and some think it is way too expensive. Price is always an issue, but for me it probably doesn’t matter that much. For the most part, I am saying the radio doesn’t fit a need I have. OK, if the price were a lot lower (like $1500), it would affect my point of view. But at that price, Icom would be leaving money on the table with the folks that really want to get on 2.4, 5.6 and 10 GHz.
So my conclusion is that I probably won’t be buying an IC-905 at this time, but things can always change.
What are your thoughts?
73 Bob K0NR
The post How About An Icom IC-905? appeared first on The KØNR Radio Site.
Bob Witte, KØNR, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Colorado, USA. Contact him at [email protected].
LHS Episode #500: 500th Episode Spectacular
Hello and welcome to the 500th episode of Linux in the Ham Shack. In this episode, the hosts cut loose and let it all hang out. Topics range from science to games to technology and hedonism. It's just a free-for-all, fun episode with a little of this, a little of that and--oh yeah--the drawing for our 500th Episode giveaway. Thank you all for 500 episodes and we're looking forward to 500 more.
73 de The LHS Crew
Russ Woodman, K5TUX, co-hosts the Linux in the Ham Shack podcast which is available for download in both MP3 and OGG audio format. Contact him at [email protected].
New Book: Learning, Living, and Loving Morse Code…
There is a new book from a fellow Morse code amateur radio operator, Chris Rutkowski (NW6V), about “Learning, Living, and Loving Morse Code (in a Digital World).” NICE!
Title: “The CW Way of Life“
Already, I think it rivals any other book on the topic, including “The Art and Skill of…,” or, “The Zen of…”
It is not, however, meant to replace, but to augment, what is available. But, it is a complete guide, including a “work book” section (nearly half of the book?) on how to improve your skill. Really good stuff, but I’m only in one day.
73 de NW7US dit dit
Visit, subscribe: NW7US Radio Communications and Propagation YouTube Channel
AmateurLogic 179: Tales From The Transmitter
AmateurLogic.TV Episode 179 is now available for download.
George takes to the swamp for a 50 Kilowatt ‘Tales From The Transmitter Site’. Tommy explores BlueDV OTG. Mike builds a dual band Yagi for working the satellites.
George Thomas, W5JDX, is co-host of AmateurLogic.TV, an original amateur radio video program hosted by George Thomas (W5JDX), Tommy Martin (N5ZNO), Peter Berrett (VK3PB), and Emile Diodene (KE5QKR). Contact him at [email protected].
Amateur Radio Weekly – Issue 278
An A.I. radio host
RadioGPT can talk. It can research. It can take your calls. And it could be coming to your market.
Amateur Radio License Map
Use this map to find Amateur Radio license holders in the United States.
Amateur Radio License Map
Ham Radio 101: Soldering tips
Learning how to solder using proper techniques is a fundamental skill every Ham should master.
Lamenting the loss of the old Novice bands
I think new ops trying to learn CW are at a significant disadvantage.
Citizens Band QSL card
I’m one of those Amateur Radio operators that started the hobby at end of the 70s on CB.
DIY drive-on antenna mast
Unlike most Drive-on mast mounts, I didn’t want to use metal because it tends to be difficult to store in the Jeep.
Mikes Tech Blog
Oscilloscope graphics just for fun
The result is a smooth but delightfully retro effect which is best viewed on a old cathode ray oscilloscope.
Dzl’s Evil Genius Lair
Setting up AREDN Tunnels for Ham Radio
Setting up an AREDN tunnel server so that other AREDN nodes that have internet connections can connect.
Ham Radio 2.0
Amazing one Watt SSB QRP
Making a contact on 20 meters from Poland to the USA with just 1 Watt.
3Y0J DXpedition behind the scenes
The first presentation on what life was like for the 3Y0J DXpedition.
Northern Illinois DX Association
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Amateur Radio Weekly is curated by Cale Mooth K4HCK. Sign up free to receive ham radio's most relevant news, projects, technology and events by e-mail each week at http://www.hamweekly.com.
Improving the Hustler 4BTV antenna
My Hustler 4BTV antenna has been working great for me and I have no complaints about it at all. With being close to the ocean we often get windy days. The wind gusts can reach 80km per hour and during that time I would take the 4 BTV down and store it in the shed. A company called DX Engineering sells some custom-made add-on kits for the Hustler vertical antennas. DX Engineering offers a reinforced lower section for the antenna. I have noticed even during 60 km winds the antenna sure does sway a lot. I bit the bullet and ordered the heavy-duty lower section. It was shipped the next day and the order status was sent from start to finish. To replace the lower section is very straight forward and the only step that needs to be done is a measurement from the 10m trap section down to where the lower section starts. If you match this distance up then there should be no need to return the antenna.
The measure distance was 2 inches and I marked it with a sharpie pen. I then loosened the screw clamp and removed the lower section. I then cleaned the 10m trap tubing and reapplied some anti-seize, I then move the new lower section up to the mark and secured the screw clamp. Once the antenna was placed back on the lower base section it was time to check out the SWR. It was a pleasure to see the antenna's SWR characteristics had not changed.
We have had some windy days since then and the new lower section sure has made a difference with stability of the antenna. I am very pleased with the purchase. Unless we have winds over 80Km will I take the antenna down.
|All back together and ready to go. |
Mike Weir, VE9KK, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Brunswick, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].