Monday, June 15, 2015

A new "old" radio

I'm not one for spending LOTS of money in a hobby...where I need a second mortgage to run... So me being cheeeep... I got the used route... at least for now... So what does one look for that can serve as a base station AND portable operation as a SOTA op, backpacking anywhere type scheme, vacations to the beach, mountains, is small, battery operated and covers all bands! QRP output...120M to 70cms... cover all modes AM, FM, CW, data, satellite comms, weather...even EME etc etc etc.... Hey throw in the broadcast bands AM/FM and even LF. And if it can wash dishes and do the laundry so much the better. A tall order.... not for rolling your own or bread-boarding Manhatten-style. Well... not me anyway...

I'll do kits and small projects along the way, I'm not afraid of the old soldering iron. QRP is still my goal. But I want to get up to operation quickly. There's so much to experience. And so little time.

I attended a club lecture on EME, portable and low power too... Lots of roll your own stuff of course. What intrigued me was the fact that you really didn't need a super large array or a Jigawatt of power...  Well it helps but these days with the fantastic digital modes and things like WSPR the possibilities are endless.

I was sold. A little research and perusing the net for possibilities I found lots.. But it was what the speaker pulled out of his bag that convinced me... A Yaesu FT-817. Sure its older... discontinued even. It has a new and better follower but its popular, reasonable and has all I wanted and more. Versatile it is. A large following, lots of accessories and support.

And as luck would have it there were a few on Ebay. I was just getting used to spending $25 maybe $50 on a product online.. Ive never bought anything  do pricey... I would never had bought it new....but the radio gods were with me.... I managed to find one, well taken care of. I put in a bid at the last minute and won! It came across the US quickly and in my hands last Friday... It even has some interesting history.
Yaesu FT 817nd

 I haven't put an antenna to it yet. No transit yet.. I have a manual tuner kit on order and some long wire waiting....  I need the CAT cable to interface to a computer for programming and operation..... I have a Ni-MH battery already but want to get or make a 3 amp power supply.I didn't get the default 3 piece antenna that would get me coverage for 6M, 2M, and 70cms.... I may get one just to have for quick portable use. I have a J Pole for 2M and a 2M/70cms yagi in the works. Once I get the tuner finshed (Ill do manual to start) and some wire, I'll be ready to go.

Emtech ZM-2

This will cover 80-10M. And any kind of wire or metal you connect it to... My kind of tuner.

I'll make something for 6M.

With what I found on the net for support, between Yahoo and Facebook there's plenty of support.  I'm happy with this acquisition to my shack. It will keep me busy for quite a while...The QRP rigs will have to wait....

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