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Thread: Ham radio's

  1. #1

    Default Ham radio's

    Since we don't have a HAM forum hopefully some HAMs may see this.
    I recently just passed my Tech license and am planning on taking the General license soon. I have been looking at various ideas for a portable ham radio. I have looked at the maps and it appears repeaters are really common if you are along the road system. I was wondering if anybody has experience with 2M/70cm HT's and beam antenna's trying to hit a repeater from 50-60 miles away with success. For example from Petersville hills to Mt Susitna or Baldy or maybe out at Eureka out to the road system.
    I do realize I would get better range with HF after I get my General but I do have a 2m to go in my truck and would still like 2M HT to match. Also the HF portable rigs like the Yaseu 817/857 are alot of money.
    Thanks for any thoughts you guys may have. akraven

  2. #2
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    Default Hi I'm in California

    Been a ham for a while KD6JLO,
    Haven't used my gear in a while but , I remember moble radios that worked as repeaters for your hand held. That way hav ing the power of the moble rig in some what close proximity , a few miles, tied to an available repeater, the ht worked through it all just fine.
    There's got to be a amature radio supply there in alaska that has current equipment.
    kd6jlo

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    Default

    First, there is not a major or minor radio supplier in Alaska. Everything has to be ordered & shipped in. Sometimes you find a new rig at the hamfest / swap & shop that someone has brought up, but typically it's used gear.

    Your question is a good one, I have personally used my 5W Kenwood TH-D7a and stock antenna on the Tangle Lakes system to hit Donnelly Dome (when it was working) from the river with little problems, even at the falls. This repeater is currently undergoing repair by the Arctic Amateur Radio Club (AARC - KL7KC) and is scheduled to be put back into service this summer. I have also used my Relm 599 (mentioned below) with the stock antenna to reach the same system.

    I also took my HT with me on a Gulkana river trip, but never tested it out. Having a HT that can hit a mobile repeater (even cross band) will help you get back out if you are in a bad location and the mobile rig is in a better one. This is not always an option, or very efficient, but it'll work.

    One of the cross banding mobile rigs that I've had a lot of experience with is the Kenwood TM-V7A. Others will have their preferences as well.

    Having a commercial rig, such as a Relm RPV-599 (2m only) is helpful if you do get into an emergency situation as it can be programmed for AST dispatch. Per FCC guidelines, in life & death, you are permitted to utilize any and all frequencies to obtain aid; that's where having a commercial rig comes in handy since it is illegal to modify a type accepted amateur radio to broadcast on commercial frequencies. It is legal to modify a commercial rig for amateur frequencies (most are already capable, just need to be programmed).

    Another local ham has gone down the 40 mile several times and been able to get into the Eagle repeater and some Canadian ones with his stock 5W HT and antenna. So it is possible.

    As for antennas, I have a small yagi that packs up into a PVC tube, and it works great. I'll have to dig out the schematics for it again; I carry it in the back of the truck in case I need it for any situation I come to. Otherwise, I just use the stock antenna. There are a few nice diamond antennas that can help you with gain as well, but a yagi may be your best bet; but size and weight are always an issue.

    As far as HF goes, right now, the bands are goofy, you may be able to raise someone in another state, but not locally. The HF nets have not been that favorable recently. Trying to pack in a HF rig that's not designed for portable use will make your trip unbearable.

    Get in touch with some of the local hams, either through the Anchorage Club (http://www.kl7aa.net/) or the Fairbanks Club (http://www.kl7kc.com) for additional assistance. Both websites have had gear listings in the past to supplement the swap & shops.

    HTH & 73

    Good luck on your studies

    Bill, KC8MVW
    Last edited by blybrook; 02-04-2010 at 10:08. Reason: Added Club information

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    Member sea_goin_dude's Avatar
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    Default

    Here is a article that I wrote for my e-newsletter for hams several years ago. It might provide some useful information on using ham radio HT's. I hope it helps some of you.

    GETTING BETTER USE WITH YOUR HANDY TALKIE (HT) AT HOME OR WHILE MOBILE

    The following article was written for my E-newsletter several years ago. It may help some of you
    get a little more mileage/speed from that HT.

    I have been well pleased with the 202 and have used one for packet for several years. I used one in my car/truck for a couple of years, until I decided to replace it with a regular mobile radio. They work well mobile, (as do other htís ) if you will connect them to the truck/car electrical system with an adapter cable and use an external magnetic mount antenna. I have found that the htís will do almost anything the mobiles will, especially if you are in an urban area with several repeaters available.
    .
    They (HT's) may be used to control or program repeaters if you program the DTMF sequences needed by the repeater controller. These features are available on most mobile radios now days, as they are adding more features as standard all the time.

    Many of the newer Handy Talkies are programmable using your computer, so, by all means if this feature is available, get the programming software for your radio and don't forget the cable to connect to the computer.

    USING THE HT FOR A BASE RADIO: HTís may be used as a base radio as well, if you supply the needed voltage and again, use a better, possibly outside antenna.
    I have and use several magnetic mount antennas around the house. Most of the HTís
    have an extension speaker/mike available for them. These will let you operate with more freedom. If you will clip the HT on one of the cheap metal bookends, this will keep them stable. Also the bookend may be bent back at an angle where you can see the display more readily.

    So if you or someone only has an HT, you can make it more versatile, by following some of these tips. And by all means, use whatever brand you want. I personally donít like the very small pocket radios due to the fact that they are hard to see and some are more difficult to program. Some of them are limited as to power (maybe only 200 to 350 mw) and you need as much from an HT as you can get to work the repeaters with a quality signal. This also depends on the better
    power supplies and antennas that I mentioned above.

    Remember also that, before purchasing your first radio, many of the mobiles (most
    with 50 watts available) may be purchased for less than most of the HTís. So check
    around with others and see what they recommend and decide what to buy.

    I do suggest that, for a mobile antenna. Donít spend your money on one of the quarter
    wave versions if you can get one of the 5/8 wave versions for a little more. I use both
    so again itís your choice for your money. The ľ wave versions are good for a portable
    antenna or one to use at home or at a remote, temporary set up. I use one in the house
    during bad weather.

    Place them on a tool box, refrigerator, or filing cabinet and they
    should work well for you. If you are using an HT the 5/8 will be better, but if you have the
    higher power available with a mobile the ľ wave will probably work for you. The lower
    power of an HT combined with a lower gain antenna and low capacity power supply (standard ht battery) will make it somewhat marginal. So do consider all these factors.

    One other tip: HTís or handy talkies, will operate down to around 5 or 6 volts, while my mobiles have stopped transmitting at around 11 volts. SO, if you might be operating from
    a battery supply, this may be another factor to consider.

    Copyright © 2004, Jerry Hemby / W1NRA

  5. #5

    Default

    Thank you for that Jerry. Some really good info there.

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    Member Akheloce's Avatar
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    I wish I could be of more service in the answer in AK, but I can only report on what I've observed. 15 years ago, I had a 5w handheld ICOM which had a BNC connector. It was plugged into a 5/8 wave ground plane, and was able to make a St. Petersburg repeater from 70 miles away.

    In Alaska, I have never bothered with 2m, since cell/sat phones are so easy to come buy and relatively cheap. I think with a land based (1500w PEP) 2m radio, with proper antenna placement, you could do well.

    KF4JET

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    Member sea_goin_dude's Avatar
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    HAM RADIO OUTLET, I have done a lot of business with these folks and have had no problems at all. HRO

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    Member ironartist's Avatar
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    HELP!
    well I just got my radio today and I feel the instruction book is in some forign language. It's not I just don't know where to start here is a link to the radio and a couple diff antennias I was sent links to what do you guys suggest and what type of power supply works best for them? HELP
    Here's the links:
    Radio: http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/hamhf/5008.html
    Mobile:http://www.tarheelantennas.com/little_tarheel_ii
    Solid: http://www.packetradio.com/catalog/i...oducts_id=2423
    Visions Steel/841-WELD(9353)
    "Rebellion is in my blood, I was born an American"
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    I donít know what is the best power supply for your radio would be any 13.8v +- 10% 20+ amps regulated power supply will work.
    Until you get your feet wet you could use a car battery to power your radio

    I donít know what your question is about the antenna.

    Have you talked the people you bougth the radio from?

  10. #10
    Member ironartist's Avatar
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    the question on antennias is some time ago talked with bushrat and he told me I could reach him with this radio and so many feet of wire strung for an ant. and the above link I am sure is what he spoke of but I was thinking with the mobile one in hand I could climb any tree to the length of the cable but would I get the same type of reception and be able to reach others throughout the state or further if needed?
    Visions Steel/841-WELD(9353)
    "Rebellion is in my blood, I was born an American"
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    WellÖ. I could make a suggestion the problem is I would only confuse you more than you are now. My best advice is for you to do what bustrat tells you.

    In the passed when I was in the ham business new hams were desperate for information and would ask any ham for help. Some of the most helpful hams did not know that they were saying and caused a lot of problems. Bushrat does know ham radio and he would be a good person for advice, too bad he so far away.

  12. #12
    Member sea_goin_dude's Avatar
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    If your repeaters are at a high elevation and most of them are, you should be able to work them out to 30 miles or so. I have a 13B2 cushcraft up about 20 feet and I have worked into south carolina from my house in east cent alabama..
    If you have a good outside antenna you should be able to work many repeaters with a 50 watt radio. Best suggestion is to check with local hams and see what they use and the results they get.
    Good luck and 73, W1NRA

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    Seems like this thread came back from the archives or something; original post was two years ago. I don't kow if Akraven ever got his question answered or found out for himself, but here is my experience.

    I have a Yaesu VX-7R 5 watt HT, and I use an Arrow brand BP146 back pack portable 2M yagi antenna on a Buddipole mast system. I've hit the Mt. Susitna ARES repeater (147.27 output with positive offset) from our cabin in Trapper Creek-approximately 53 miles away by the map. I've also hit that repeater from Hope, don't know the distance on that. My personal record is a 65 mil contact using simplex FM voice from Flat Top parking lot area all the way to Nikiski on 6 meters using a simple wire dipole antenna. You can do a lot with 5 watts, but you can do even more if you have a transceiver that is capable of using SSB-mine isn't. =(

    A LOT of what your capabilities will be will depend more on the surrounding terrain and antenna than on the radio itself. I live on low ground, near the bluff, and can't do squat without the repeater, but when I go up to Flat Top, it's like having a 2700' antenna. Switching from the rubber duck to any of my external antennas changes everything dramatically, even from the relatively poor location of my home.

    If, like me, your plan is to carry the radio for emergency use from a remote location, the best thing you can do is know exactly where all oft he repeaters are, carry a beam antenna (those Arrow antennas are AWESOME), and be able to point the antenna directly at the repeater, hopefully from high ground.

    And yeah, it would be nice to have a local ham radio forum.

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    Okay, so the radio is an Alinco base station 100W HF rig, no VHF coverage, so that completely eliminates you from using the 2M/70cm repeaters discussed in the other posts here. What you have is a radio designed for communicating over long distances. With good antenna selection and installation, you should be able to contact Asiatic Russia, Japan, Hawaii, and the Lower 48 with ease.

    The other two links were to radio antennas. The second link appeared to be some sort of mobile whip set up for operating form your vehicle. The third link looks like some sort of pre-made dipole set up. Dipole antennas are cheap and easy t build and very efficient; the only thing that will outperform a dipole is a yagi.

    As to the complexity of the radio and manual, welcome to ham radio. Aside from Elecraft and Ten-Tec radios, all of the best radios are made in Japan, and it seems like there is a lot lost in language translation-literally. Add to that the fact that modern ham radios have a LOT of features and you end up with complex programming sequences with equally complex instructions. So, you're not alone.

    Quote Originally Posted by ironartist View Post
    HELP!
    well I just got my radio today and I feel the instruction book is in some forign language. It's not I just don't know where to start here is a link to the radio and a couple diff antennias I was sent links to what do you guys suggest and what type of power supply works best for them? HELP
    Here's the links:
    Radio: http://www.universal-radio.com/catalog/hamhf/5008.html
    Mobile:http://www.tarheelantennas.com/little_tarheel_ii
    Solid: http://www.packetradio.com/catalog/i...oducts_id=2423

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    Member ironartist's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=FL2AK-Old Town;1079010]Okay, so the radio is an Alinco base station 100W HF rig, no VHF coverage,QUOTE]
    Thank you for any advice you can send to me, although I am being overwhelmed with numbers. You say this doesn't cover vhf off repeaters will I need to find a vhf for close range comms thruought the valley or to anchorage? I should have my coax ordered soon I just want to verify with someone that knows that it's o.k. where I am planning on setting up my antenna. I did get the 135' Wisdom II so as far as reaching others as long as it's set up right I should be up and running
    Visions Steel/841-WELD(9353)
    "Rebellion is in my blood, I was born an American"
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    Hey, sorry for the delay; I was out of state last week. To answer your question, yes, you will need to purchase another radio if you want to use VHF repeaters to talk to people in the valley and in Anchorage using repeaters. You will need to purchase a VHF radio for that. (Your radio is HF only.) As for the antenna; you bought a dipole antenna for 6 meters and below. That means that you will either need another antenna for VHF repeater use, or you will need to cut (shorten) the wire on the antenna you purchased. (antenna length is determined by the frequency you want to transmit and receive on.) You've got some pretty good equipment for HF communication, but you just don't have any VHF compatibility there.

    PS: the local ham radio club monthly meeting is this friday, at 7pm, on the APU campus in the Carrs Gotstein building.
    Last edited by Brian M; 08-01-2012 at 20:44.

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    Trying to get help from the local ham club is a good idea. Instead of going to Anchorage there should be a club in Wasilla.

    Have you talked with Mark about what you need to do for an HF antenna?

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    Member ironartist's Avatar
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    there is a meeting place out here at the main safty station here in the valley and it's usually on a day that I have a must do job so again I will try for next months meeting. And as far as getting with mark this is why I need to get my radio set up so I can raise him on it. and fl2ak I guess for the local stuff and working with guys out in the field I am going to need a small hand held anyway one of the guys at mat su tact is an operator and has shown me a couple nice small portable handhelds as soon as spring comes and I get cashed up a bit I will be making another order. Thank you both for your advice I do much appreciate it points comeing your ways,
    73,,,,JR
    Visions Steel/841-WELD(9353)
    "Rebellion is in my blood, I was born an American"
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    Guess I didn't realize you were out in the valley. Sounds like you're in touch with them though; they meet on Saturday's at fire station. Mac: if you look at the links in one of his earlier posts, you'll see tat he's bought a 6m-60m dipole wire antenna. He might need some help setting up-and a LOT of realestate lol.

  20. #20
    Member ironartist's Avatar
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    I got an idea to set it up off the back gabel of my house and run each leg off to trees out yonder then got to figure out the pulley technique to do future upkeep or repairs
    Visions Steel/841-WELD(9353)
    "Rebellion is in my blood, I was born an American"
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