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Old 11-08-2012, 11:07 PM
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Default 6m or 10m

im taking my ham test in december, doing the tech and general in one shot, and pretty confident ill pass, but i was wondering what would be maybe better to start with 10m or 6m, im doing a mobile set up, have nmo mount installed, and was thinking about the alinco radio either dr o3t or o6t, in this these bands do you need alot of power to talk, or will 10 to 50 watts be good? thanks for the info
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Old 11-08-2012, 11:49 PM
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Personally, I'd suggest 2 meters. You are likely to find more people on the 2 meter band, and with repeaters you'll have coverage over wide areas. Even in Butte County, you likely have 100% coverage by existing 2 meter repeaters. Just look at US Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management, they all use VHF systems with mountain top repeaters.

As for 10 meters, the technician class privileges are only in the SSB and CW portion of the band, so that Alinco 10 meter radio won't work for you unless you upgrade to a general license.

6 meters would be a little more fun, but there are not as many people on 6 meters as there are on 2 meters. There are 6 meter repeaters, but not as many as 2.

You could always look at the Yaesu FT8900. It's a 4 band radio that will do 2 meters, 70 cm as well as 6 meters and 10 meters. It only does FM, but unless you were looking to work a lot of DX on 6 or 10, that won't really matter.

From your screen name, I'm going to guess you are an off roader. We run a couple of Polaris and Yamaha side x sides out on the trails up near Mt. Shasta. We outfitted all our rides with 2 meter radios. Never had an issue reaching each other with 50 watt mobiles, and even way up there a number of repeaters are within range. One nice thing to have is a handheld also. While there are tri band HT's that have 6 and 2 meters as well as 70cm, a 2 meter only HT will be cheaper.
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:06 AM
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i plan on a 2m/70cm radio already, but with getting a general ticket i was curious which band was more popular
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:18 AM
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I'm going to disagree with mmckenna on the 2m idea. 2 meter repeaters are the lowest common denominator in ham radio. It has it's uses, and is convenient, but if you hope to get serious in the hobby, there are better ways to get started.

As mentioned, the 10 meter FM Alinco radios are verboten for a tech. There's a ton of decent used HF rigs out there that can get you on 10m SSB. The bands are pretty busy this time of the sunspot cycle, and there's a lot of fun to be had.

6 meters is an interesting band, but it's not a good band to get started. Activity is generally centered around band openings, and they're not an every day occurrence.

edit: While I was typing this, I re-read your original post. You're going for your general on your first try, so forget everything about the 10FM not being available. That said, I rarely hear any FM activity on 10, and NEVER on 6, and I live near Los Angeles. 10 is a great band, but get a rig that will do SSB. There's a ton of activity, and even on the sunspot minimum in a few years, there are enough openings to make it interesting.

Last edited by zz0468; 11-09-2012 at 12:21 AM..
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:29 AM
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so your talking like a ranger 2950, does am/usb/lsb, what about power, is there a need for a amp, or can you have fun with little power?
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:54 AM
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What not an older model HF rig that covers all the bands (except for maybe 6m) for a reasonable price? If you're getting the general why not open the entire HF range up? Read my older radios thread for an example of what I'm talking about. But a rig like the IC-735, or similar Yaesu or Kenwood models can be base/mobile and aren't very expensive and pretty much do it all. Just a suggestion.
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Old 11-09-2012, 1:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rubicon05 View Post
so your talking like a ranger 2950, does am/usb/lsb, what about power, is there a need for a amp, or can you have fun with little power?
As a starter radio, I guess those are ok. As to the low power, that really depends on what you use as an antenna. Use a full size CB type whip on a ball mount, and 25 watts will work the world. Use a roof mounted loaded antenna and you'll want 100 watts. 50 watts to heat the loading coil, and 50 watts to work the world.

On 10, there's really no need for an amp unless you have the antenna and operating skills to match.
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Old 11-09-2012, 1:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acyddrop View Post
What not an older model HF rig that covers all the bands (except for maybe 6m) for a reasonable price? If you're getting the general why not open the entire HF range up? Read my older radios thread for an example of what I'm talking about. But a rig like the IC-735, or similar Yaesu or Kenwood models can be base/mobile and aren't very expensive and pretty much do it all. Just a suggestion.
An excellent suggestion. My first rig was a used older rig (back in 1975) and I had a blast with it.
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Old 11-09-2012, 8:05 AM
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I too missed the part about getting your general at the same time...

I'd always recommend starting off with something on 2 meters. While it may be the lowest common denominator, that can be very useful. As a new ham, it's also an easy way to get on the air. But, sounds like you've got that covered.

So, with 2 meters out of the way, I'd agree with ZZ, 10 meters would likely be more useful. 6 meters can be interesting to play with, but being a higher frequency, the band openings are a bit less common than on 10. I've had some interesting contacts on 6 meters using only about 7 watts into a copper pipe dipole on a hilltop. I worked Shelter Cove from the San Jose area one night on that set up. Low power and a crappy antenna and I was still getting a few hundred mile path.
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Old 11-09-2012, 8:18 AM
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May I suggest a used FT-857 or IC-706MKIIG. One box 160 through 2 plus 70cm. A good used one can be had for less than the cost of a good dual band 2m/70cm and single band 10m. The heads are remote-able making them easier to mount in the more crowded interiors of modern cars.
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Old 11-09-2012, 9:23 AM
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Finally someone else suggests the IC-706MKIIG. I've seen them selling for between $500 and $650, nice rigs.
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May I suggest a used FT-857 or IC-706MKIIG. One box 160 through 2 plus 70cm. A good used one can be had for less than the cost of a good dual band 2m/70cm and single band 10m. The heads are remote-able making them easier to mount in the more crowded interiors of modern cars.
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Old 11-09-2012, 9:33 AM
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lol, i stopped @ 10 meter so i wouldnt get overloaded, i was looking @ getting a larsen nmo27 for 10 meter use as i read their pretty good, i know i have alot to learn, but isnt t 10 meter about the practical limit of a mobile antenna? i ask on the amp so i can budget for one if needed.
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Old 11-09-2012, 9:57 AM
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No, you can get mobile antennas that operate all the way down to 160M. I currently own a Little Tarheel II which does 10M to 80M and I'm about to order a Scorpion SA-680S "Shorty" antenna which also does 80 to 10 (just a lot better, with far more class) both of which are mobile screwdriver antennas. I don't think you'd get "overloaded" having the entire ham spectrum to work with, honestly. What is more than likely to happen is you find out ham radio is a lot more than what you thought it was. 2 meters and 70cm has nothing on 20 and 40 meters if you want the gods honest truth. Given the cost of older use but in good to excellent condition radios to be had for around the cost of a new 2m/70cm rig (and if you have your General class or better) there's no reason NOT to own an HF rig especially ones that can do VHF (and UHF).

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lol, i stopped @ 10 meter so i wouldnt get overloaded, i was looking @ getting a larsen nmo27 for 10 meter use as i read their pretty good, i know i have alot to learn, but isnt t 10 meter about the practical limit of a mobile antenna? i ask on the amp so i can budget for one if needed.
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:02 PM
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Hmmm, I see I'm not the only one who has and likes the 706Mk2G and for good reason. It's a little pricy but WELL worth the investment (notice I didn't say price) because it's an all in one wonder box. It makes an excellent starter rig because it has every band and mode a Tech could want AND allows for future upgrade to General without buying more equipment.

I'm rather disappointed with new hams who limit themselves to 2M FM and worse yet an HT which is so limited it's only use is by design a portable. There is FAR more to 2M than FM, SSB, CW and digital modes are used more than inexperienced hams realize. Same with 70cM and in addition Amateur Television (ATV) is common in many areas, and yes, there are ATV repeaters. 6M isn't called the magic band for nothing, it can open quite unexpectedly for DX hundreds or even thousands of miles away. I have a QSL card from the southern tip of Argentina! 10 is another, makes a great local "CB" band with groups that meet regularly and when it opens... WOW. I don't think DX will run as good as the last solar cycle when I was swatting JAs (Japanese) like so many pesky flies in my quest for rare stations but still pretty good this time around. Then a General can work the world with 100W but I'm getting carried away with myself...

One last thing, the Mark being a mobile can see dual use but that's a topic for another discussion.
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Old 11-10-2012, 9:45 AM
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so i was looking at the yaesu ft-857d, and the littel tarheel 2, now with this setup, i would need a antenna switch and 2m/70cm antenna also? when doing this much band changing, is it hard to keep up with the swr?
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Old 11-10-2012, 10:36 AM
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I've usd the IC-706 and the FT-857. The 706 is a good radio, but it's not intuitive and, I think, too complex to safely operate while mobile. The 857 is good performing radio. I have two, one in each vehicle. It has 2 antenna connectors, one for HF and one for VHf and UHF.
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Old 11-10-2012, 11:06 AM
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You'll need an antenna for your 2m/70cm side of things along with the Little Tarheel II for the HF side of things. To tune your Little Tarheel II use the turbo tuner N2VZ Enterprises Automatic Screwdriver Antenna Controller they run about $200 and will tune your screwdriver more or less automatically and they make a version that works with the 857.

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Originally Posted by rubicon05 View Post
so i was looking at the yaesu ft-857d, and the littel tarheel 2, now with this setup, i would need a antenna switch and 2m/70cm antenna also? when doing this much band changing, is it hard to keep up with the swr?
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Old 11-10-2012, 12:14 PM
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Default 6 &10m bands

100 watts and a good antenna are all you need. It is not imperative to have that much power but it is a good rule of thumb. 6m FM is usually vertically polarized for your antenna as is 10m FM generally. 6m usually has a low activity level so don't expect a lot of contacts unless the bands open. I would stay away from hand held radios for these frequencies as the antennas they use are ineffective and perform poorly.
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Old 11-10-2012, 1:10 PM
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ok ive spent the last hour + drooling over the ft-857d operater manual, so im thinking this radio with the atas 120a antenna and a diamond k400 mount, so what would be a good coax to use, talking no more than 25 feet in mobile application? im thinking this is a good starting set up, now i got to pss the exams,lol
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Old 11-10-2012, 1:13 PM
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If I wanted to branch out from 2 meters I don't see the point of paying money for a radio that will operate on bands that are only long distance for parts of the sunspot cycle unless there is just no room for a decent antenna on 20 or below. To me the whole point of going to hf is to get direct long distance communications. 20 is the band that can generally get out to the whole world any time of day or night, at any part of the cycle.

Right now finances make sticking to hf/vhf my only feasible option, but I don't see the point of just buying a 6 or 10 meter radio unless it's really low cost.
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