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First Station Recommendations (3 replies and 3 comments)

M7TFD
1 month ago
M7TFD 1 month ago

I know, this is not the easiest question to answer, however we have done a little research (but my son and I are still very much at the beginning of our journey here).

I've read https://www.essexham.co.uk/introduction-to-hf-selecting-a-transceiver and also the getting started guide, so have a reasonable idea of what we want / need.

Our objective is to reach people in as many countries as possible. I also have a HAM friend in Scotland, near Dumfries (we're near Brentwood), so would be ace to be able to speak to him.

We would be prepared to spend a little more to get a station that will support our progression through to full licence. We're currently on the Fast Track course and hope to pass our Foundation exam on 18th July. We would also prefer a branded station over a cheap import (buy cheap: buy twice!).

We definitely need a station that supports 40m and 20m HF bands, but would ideally support VHF and UHF too (we have handhelds which do allow us to listen in to the Monday Night Net on the Danbury repeater).

We would prefer a home base rather than portable. The latter interests us less.

We suspect we'll use a stealth loop antenna, though may use a dipole if I can figure out how to make one that will support at least 40m and 20m. I'm still reading up on this. I do like the CobWeb / CobWebb design, so am looking in to this.

The station must support Digital and CW. Ideally it would include an ATU, power supply and SWR meter.

I welcome your thoughts on a suitable station. There is so much choice out there - it's quite bewildering for beginners!

M7TFD
1 month ago
M7TFD 1 month ago

I spoke to some folks at Haydon Communications (https://haydon.info) and they recommended the FT-991A (which I like as it covers HF, VHF and UHF with digital and CW) either a switch-mode or transformer PSU (accepting that the switch-mode might generate a bit of noise on HF) and a Diamond W80-10 which would cover all the HF bands that I want to without taking up too much space. I can get a VHF/UHF aerial at a later date.

What do you think?

M5IJH
1 month ago

Please do some research and Don't buy a Ft991 or Ft991A, as a Serious VHF Operator these Radio's have horrific phase noise on TX on VHF/UHF, get yourself a good location and you can make yourself very unpopular

G1BED
1 week ago
G1BED 1 week ago

A 'shack-in-a-box' is fine but there are a lot on the market and it would probably be an idea to look around on the secondhand market first. Get one which does what you want it to do without spending a load of dosh and see how it goes from your qth, then upgrade when you've got a better idea of your actual needs and site limitations. You could probably get a decent secondhand HF/50 rig and a VHF/UHF rig as well for the price of a cheap all in one box.

M1BIK
1 week ago

I'd have to agree with 'BED and his observations - if for no other reason, there's a huge goldmine of older kit that's far less of a compromise (and let's not pull punches, the do it all shack in a box multis are a huge compromise if you like your receiver sections to be super selective and free of digital induced artifacts). You could easily get a top notch previous gen HF and combined with some transverters, pretty much have it all and exploiting a receiver which puts (with VHF transverters for 6/4/2/70cms and SHF) many rigs in the low and high VHF arenas to shame and more so potentially when you explore higher.

I use a 4m transverter with the FT818 and receiver wise it trashes stuff like the cheapy 4M commercials like the Anytone and Retevis mobiles quality wise. I also like the fact it's a two box all modes setup at all the old school VHF allocations (remember 4M was an early ham VHF allocation at one time) and it's QRP status isn't a problem on 4m, as I can recall much of the highly used commercial PMR sets on lo-band VHF were 10W misers vs the hi power stuff used hi-band VHF.

M5IJH
7 days ago

As a VHF operator a HF set with transverters is exactly what I have , but you don't need to run to the sort of level my transverters are as they have Custom low Phase noise LO's and are 10mhz Ref locked

M7TFD
3 days ago
M7TFD 3 days ago

Thanks everyone for your replies.

I asked the same question on a recent Monday Night Net and the resounding recommendation was for a Xiegu G90. While we were chatting, John (G4LTH) put his old G90 up for sale on this site for a very reasonable price which I then purchased - highlighting again what a great community this is! Admittedly the G90 doesn't cover VHF/UHF, however my son and I have now made our first contacts on HF (reaching as far as Poole, Ireland, Netherlands and Germany), so we're finally well on our way!

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