HAM radio


Shows the foresight of ol’ Sammy.

In a not-unrelated vein, the best rack to have in Scrabble is some iteration of “RETAINS”. There are several anagrams, and it builds on an 8th letter to crack the 50-pointer. While the individual letters only score 1, the 50 point Bonus and being able to construct a 7 or 8 letter word across a multiplier square usually returns an 80-point plus score.

Oddly enough, RETAINS are all close to the tree in Morse.
 
The bloke who taught me morse would be horrified with that. Visual aids were the devil's work.

It never even occurred to me that it was an aid to learning the code. I thought it was simply an explanation of how Morse designed the code around the frequency distribution of letter in English. You’re absolutely right, the only way to learn Morse in an aural environment is erm, aurally.

I suppose Aldis lamp signallers would be an exception.
 

endure

GCM
It never even occurred to me that it was an aid to learning the code. I thought it was simply an explanation of how Morse designed the code around the frequency distribution of letter in English. You’re absolutely right, the only way to learn Morse in an aural environment is erm, aurally.

I suppose Aldis lamp signallers would be an exception.
If you google there are all sorts of 'clever' ways to learn the code in double quick time non of which actually work. The only way is to grind on until it's second nature.

I've tried reading Aldis morse and I'm hopeless at it.

"Good morning gentlemen. Hands up all those who've started learning morse before they came to college?"

"Oh dear..."
 
If you google there are all sorts of 'clever' ways to learn the code in double quick time non of which actually work. The only way is to grind on until it's second nature.

I've tried reading Aldis morse and I'm hopeless at it.

"Good morning gentlemen. Hands up all those who've started learning morse before they came to college?"

"Oh dear..."
What do you think of the Koch method?
 

endure

GCM
What do you think of the Koch method?
That's pretty much the way they taught us at college. Learning two or three full speed characters at a time an hour a day five days a week on Big Jim's Vibroplex ;-)

We weren't allowed to try sending until we could receive well at about 8wpm.
 
Anyone used or has an ICOM IC-2730A 70cm/2m rig? I’ve been looking at a VHF/UHF rig, and these seem quite well specced, 50W output, also will RX on VHF airband. I have line of sight to a handful of mountain-top repeaters, so quite fancy having a play.

I can get a bit of a steal on the 2730A at DX Engineering at present, ~$200 less than elsewhere. But wondered if anyone had any comment on either that rig, or a recommendation for others?
 
Anyone used or has an ICOM IC-2730A 70cm/2m rig? I’ve been looking at a VHF/UHF rig, and these seem quite well specced, 50W output, also will RX on VHF airband. I have line of sight to a handful of mountain-top repeaters, so quite fancy having a play.

I can get a bit of a steal on the 2730A at DX Engineering at present, ~$200 less than elsewhere. But wondered if anyone had any comment on either that rig, or a recommendation for others?
No idea but here's a question. Why restrict yourself to just FM? There may not be much SSB or CW activity on a daily basis but might you be better served long term by a multimode rig in terms of capability? If there isn't a local SSB net you could start one. Not sure why you need 50W when you have scope for decent antennas, unless you are running really long cable.
 
No idea but here's a question. Why restrict yourself to just FM? There may not be much SSB or CW activity on a daily basis but might you be better served long term by a multimode rig in terms of capability? If there isn't a local SSB net you could start one. Not sure why you need 50W when you have scope for decent antennas, unless you are running really long cable.

It’s a fair point, but there’s a few factors:

1. Cost. SSB-capable 70cm/2 tcvrs are well north of $600. The IC-2730A can be had for $289, so well over double, and if I wanted to cheap-out, I could get a Chinese POS for probably half the cost of the ICOM.
2. My topology is basically on the side of a narrow valley. I can physically see the two mountain-top repeater masts at night with their red lights. One’s about 10 miles away, the other 20. But can’t see shit out of the side of the valley. So I’m restricted to using those repeaters - there are a couple at each location. They‘re all triggered with a CTSS tone, so I‘ll pretty much have to use FM modulation.
3. Not really interested in CW at VHF/UHF, it’d be like listening to a practice tape. No challenge in taking a fading signal, for example. But then again my CW skills in general are as rusty as a Mk3 Cortina that’s been in the scrapyard since 1980 :)
4. Not sure I see the benefit of SSB at VHF/UHF vs FM. Surely the audio quality would be much better on a standard FM net than an SSB one? If I’m reliant on using a repeater, then range is not my concern, so long as I can hit the repeater, it is what it is.
5. I can see the benefit of other modes for perhaps EME bounce, or satellite, but I am nowhere near there yet in terms of how far along I am in the hobby.

I just thought the set was a good deal and would get me in the VHF/UHF game for minimal outlay, with a reasonably well-specced set - but I do take your point re other modes.

Edited to add a couple of photos. This is looking east-ish, English Mountain. The repeaters up there should get me into North Carolina.
CAD09C4E-EE3E-4C83-9F74-D6525DBF0A03.jpeg


Looking West(ish):

ED3A8F37-8CC9-4A63-8CC7-09A8620B8234.jpeg


Zooming in, this is Bluff Mountain in the far distance. It overlooks the Tennessee Valley and Knoxville, so I should get fantastic coverage out of those repeaters.

C7A5B5DD-CB19-43AA-8CA7-0BAEF6D36701.jpeg
 
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It’s a fair point, but there’s a few factors:

1. Cost. SSB-capable 70cm/2 tcvrs are well north of $600. The IC-2730A can be had for $289, so well over double, and if I wanted to cheap-out, I could get a Chinese POS for probably half the cost of the ICOM.
2. My topology is basically on the side of a narrow valley. I can physically see the two mountain-top repeater masts at night with their red lights. One’s about 10 miles away, the other 20. But can’t see shit out of the side of the valley. So I’m restricted to using those repeaters - there are a couple at each location. They‘re all triggered with a CTSS tone, so I‘ll pretty much have to use FM modulation.
3. Not really interested in CW at VHF/UHF, it’d be like listening to a practice tape. No challenge in taking a fading signal, for example. But then again my CW skills in general are as rusty as a Mk3 Cortina that’s been in the scrapyard since 1980 :)
4. Not sure I see the benefit of SSB at VHF/UHF vs FM. Surely the audio quality would be much better on a standard FM net than an SSB one? If I’m reliant on using a repeater, then range is not my concern, so long as I can hit the repeater, it is what it is.
5. I can see the benefit of other modes for perhaps EME bounce, or satellite, but I am nowhere near there yet in terms of how far along I am in the hobby.

I just thought the set was a good deal and would get me in the VHF/UHF game for minimal outlay, with a reasonably well-specced set - but I do take your point re other modes.

Edited to add a couple of photos. This is looking east-ish, English Mountain. The repeaters up there should get me into North Carolina.View attachment 635299

Looking West(ish):

View attachment 635302

Zooming in, this is Bluff Mountain in the far distance. It overlooks the Tennessee Valley and Knoxville, so I should get fantastic coverage out of those repeaters.

View attachment 635301
That all makes sense. Nice photos.
Yes Chinese stuff is cheaper initially but you will spend more in the end. The ICOM seems a better bet.
Eham reviews vary but are sometimes worth a skim through to be aware of any good and bad points, which may or may not matter to you. Some find the menu navigation tricky but others love it.

Eham reviews: eHam.net Reviews For: Icom IC-2730a

You can download the manual here and decide for yourself about the controls and menu system:
IC-2730A Downloads - Icom America
 
Anyone used or has an ICOM IC-2730A 70cm/2m rig? I’ve been looking at a VHF/UHF rig, and these seem quite well specced, 50W output, also will RX on VHF airband. I have line of sight to a handful of mountain-top repeaters, so quite fancy having a play.

I can get a bit of a steal on the 2730A at DX Engineering at present, ~$200 less than elsewhere. But wondered if anyone had any comment on either that rig, or a recommendation for others?
I have little experience but the only VHF/UHF analogue contacts I get are at the Club Net every second Wednesday. As a new boy I was more than a little discouraged spending hours calling on air and via my nearest and club owned repeater, about 25 miles away. Got myself a digital and Lots of activity. I don't know if the same is happening in the states but analogue looks to be rarely used here. Highlands and Islands. As I say I have little experience, apart from Internet SDR listening, away from this area. I wonder if this is being repeated throughout the UK?


Edited to add. I had a look at this radio and like it.
 
I have little experience but the only VHF/UHF analogue contacts I get are at the Club Net every second Wednesday. As a new boy I was more than a little discouraged spending hours calling on air and via my nearest and club owned repeater, about 25 miles away. Got myself a digital and Lots of activity. I don't know if the same is happening in the states but analogue looks to be rarely used here. Highlands and Islands. As I say I have little experience, apart from Internet SDR listening, away from this area. I wonder if this is being repeated throughout the UK?


Edited to add. I had a look at this radio and like it.

Thanks, I think I’m coming to the same conclusion. Another $50 and the ID4100A is in scope. Very similar capabilities to the 2730 analogue-wise, but also includes D-Star. I haven’t fully looked into it, but it seems it can use the Internet to trunk a call to a different repeater, anywhere in the world. Seems to be a bit of a VHS/Betamax thing going on with DMR, but not so much in the US, where it’s D-Star mostly, it seems. There is a D-Star repeater on Bluff Mountain, so that’s probably the way I will go. AS @Electromagnetic mentioned earlier, no point in restricting myself if I can widen horizons for a few tens of $ (as opposed to hundreds).
 
Thanks, I think I’m coming to the same conclusion. Another $50 and the ID4100A is in scope. Very similar capabilities to the 2730 analogue-wise, but also includes D-Star. I haven’t fully looked into it, but it seems it can use the Internet to trunk a call to a different repeater, anywhere in the world. Seems to be a bit of a VHS/Betamax thing going on with DMR, but not so much in the US, where it’s D-Star mostly, it seems. There is a D-Star repeater on Bluff Mountain, so that’s probably the way I will go. AS @Electromagnetic mentioned earlier, no point in restricting myself if I can widen horizons for a few tens of $ (as opposed to hundreds).
I have a DMR/Analogue handheld. On our local callsign, 23588 Highland and Islands, we can call anywhere in the world and have frequent callers from all over the place. Your right there are areas of the world where one of the several other Digital radio services are used but the main one, the one with the most repeaters in the UK is DMR with D-star in there but not half as many up my way. Fusion is picking up but mainly in England, mainly the midlands. It may become dominant as there is little coding required. DMR coding is straightforward but a little time consuming. D-star for you sounds the right answer. I was watching some YouTube articles about the various digital radio systems and there is some concern with the Balkanisation of Digital radio. Almost as much a split as there is about antennas.
 
I have a DMR/Analogue handheld. On our local callsign, 23588 Highland and Islands, we can call anywhere in the world and have frequent callers from all over the place. Your right there are areas of the world where one of the several other Digital radio services are used but the main one, the one with the most repeaters in the UK is DMR with D-star in there but not half as many up my way. Fusion is picking up but mainly in England, mainly the midlands. It may become dominant as there is little coding required. DMR coding is straightforward but a little time consuming. D-star for you sounds the right answer. I was watching some YouTube articles about the various digital radio systems and there is some concern with the Balkanisation of Digital radio. Almost as much a split as there is about antennas.

Well I took the plunge and an ID-4100A has shipped out to me today.

Been reading up a bit more on the repeaters locally. The 2m repeater on Bluff Mountain (already 3000ft elevation, about 2000ft more than me) is 265ft up a commercial radio station's tower, with a 100W transmitter. It's less than 20 miles from me, so I should be in good shape there for coverage of ~100miles.

Also read that there's a UHF DMR repeater up there as well as the D-Star VHF.

Being a skinflint at heart, and having dropped a few more shekels on the rig than I had initially thought, I'm going to try a simple halfwave dipole cut from copper wire for an antenna. Can't get more straightforward than that, and the radio path is not remotely difficult if I can see the red lights on the tower with my eyes at night.

 
Well I took the plunge and an ID-4100A has shipped out to me today.

Been reading up a bit more on the repeaters locally. The 2m repeater on Bluff Mountain (already 3000ft elevation, about 2000ft more than me) is 265ft up a commercial radio station's tower, with a 100W transmitter. It's less than 20 miles from me, so I should be in good shape there for coverage of ~100miles.

Also read that there's a UHF DMR repeater up there as well as the D-Star VHF.

Being a skinflint at heart, and having dropped a few more shekels on the rig than I had initially thought, I'm going to try a simple halfwave dipole cut from copper wire for an antenna. Can't get more straightforward than that, and the radio path is not remotely difficult if I can see the red lights on the tower with my eyes at night.

Nice, I get over 25miles with a half wave dipole at 5W in the70cm band. You will have no problems. Good luck and have fun.
 
Well I took the plunge and an ID-4100A has shipped out to me today.
That looks like a nice rig with very useful capability. Link for reference so we know what radio we are talking about: ID-4100A VHF/UHF Dual Band D-STAR Transceiver - Features - Icom America
Been reading up a bit more on the repeaters locally. The 2m repeater on Bluff Mountain (already 3000ft elevation, about 2000ft more than me) is 265ft up a commercial radio station's tower, with a 100W transmitter. It's less than 20 miles from me, so I should be in good shape there for coverage of ~100miles.

Also read that there's a UHF DMR repeater up there as well as the D-Star VHF.
Gen on Bluff Mountain repeater: 146.940 - 444.300 - 927.0625
Being a skinflint at heart, and having dropped a few more shekels on the rig than I had initially thought, I'm going to try a simple halfwave dipole cut from copper wire for an antenna. Can't get more straightforward than that, and the radio path is not remotely difficult if I can see the red lights on the tower with my eyes at night.

A half wave dipole is good. The radiation angle is quite good. If you can lash up a corner reflector from chicken wire and some sticks you can get more gain and improve the signal to noise ratio by rejecting signals from the other 270 degrees and concentrate your RF output to mostly within 90 degrees. The ARRL have designs for DIY Yagi-Uda beam antennas. Wood and wire can work.
 
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That looks like a nice rig with very useful capability. Link for reference so we know what radio we are talking about: ID-4100A VHF/UHF Dual Band D-STAR Transceiver - Features - Icom America

Gen on Bluff Mountain repeater: 146.940 - 444.300 - 927.0625

A half wave dipole is good. The radiation angle is quite good. If you can lash up a corner reflector from chicken wire and some sticks you can get more gain and improve the signal to noise ratio by rejecting signals from the other 270 degrees and concentrate your RF output to mostly within 90 degrees. The ARRL have designs for DIY Yagi-Uda beam antennas. Wood and wire can work.

Well... if you drew a line from Bluff Mountain to English Mountain, my house would be about 15 degrees off that line, close to the center of it. So that's what was driving my thought of just a plain old vertical dipole with an omni pattern. I've got a clear shot to both repeaters.

Here's a pic from Google Earth with the direct path profile - my elevation is about 1050 ft. For once, I think I'm laughing :)

Untitled.jpg
 
Well... if you drew a line from Bluff Mountain to English Mountain, my house would be about 15 degrees off that line, close to the center of it. So that's what was driving my thought of just a plain old vertical dipole with an omni pattern. I've got a clear shot to both repeaters.

Here's a pic from Google Earth with the direct path profile - my elevation is about 1050 ft. For once, I think I'm laughing :)

View attachment 636018
Good stuff. As you have such a good height, another option is a two band j-pole. It has an excellent low angle of radiation which works well from elevated locations where a ground plane would radiate at broadly 45 degrees. An advantage over the dipole is the low feedpoint near the base i.e. the radiating element can be elevated on the end of a pole. The trick is matching it but it's very cheap to make.
 
Good stuff. As you have such a good height, another option is a two band j-pole. It has an excellent low angle of radiation which works well from elevated locations where a ground plane would radiate at broadly 45 degrees. An advantage over the dipole is the low feedpoint near the base i.e. the radiating element can be elevated on the end of a pole. The trick is matching it but it's very cheap to make.

Cheers; I’ll look into that. My fear is that using a dipole cut for 2m will have too high an SWR to use at 70cm, but might be Ok, given the minimal path loss and relatively high output of the set and repeaters. If not, then a more fancy antenna/less obtrusive one.
 

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