A little guidance..

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andrewccm

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So the wife and family are out of town for the weekend and I thought to myself (being new to the radio hobby), I'd like to grab an inexpensive HF RECEIVER to play around with. I enjoy listening to my other scanners, but think shortwave could be fun to have as well. Not sure about antenna's yet, but it would be something indoor attic mounted more than likely at the most.

My question... Does anyone know where I can pick up a decent receiver up locally (Dallas/Fort Worth area) that won't break the bank. I really just want to fiddle around with HF for now. Perhaps pickup something better later on... The limited low-band capabilities of my existing scanners haven't thrilled me... Just wondering what I am missing at the lower end. I have seen a few (what seem like very lowend) models over at Frys, but need to do some research. I am off to do that now, but thought you guys might speed the process up for me a little.

If I am nuts for even trying a low budget quick experiment feel free to tell me. I am just looking for something to do while I have an extended amount of time to focus (no kids running around!).

Thanks as always!
 

pathalogical

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Check your local Radio Shack store, they should have some radios (Grundig/Eton) that won't empty your wallet. Try to avoid the wind-up radios, they are marketed as 'emergency' radios. Get something with digital readout and SSB.
 

andrewccm

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Thanks..

Any thoughts on ETON S350DL vs ETON/Grundig G5?

The G5 shows in stock at a store nearby (at least according to RS's website)
 

ka3jjz

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Andrew, I'd avoid these single conversion jobbies (The S350L is, I'm pretty sure a single conversion radio) like the plague. They have a habit of letting signals in places you don't expect them. That's going to get frustrating in a hurry.

As for the E5 - check out the comments found on EHam, as well as any comments in the latest Passport to World Band Radio (which is very widely available), which has numerous receiver reviews. In addition several of the links in this wiki article (anything underlined and/or in blue) have additional links (including the EHam link, among many others...)

http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/Category:Receiver_Reviews

As you have an attic, you should be able to put up something reasonable (but not too big - most portables will overload with large antennas...) without much expense, particularly if you know how to solder and use some basic tools. Our HF antennas article has several ideas that should get you thinking in the right direction...
look in the 'Homebrew and Technical' section of

http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/HF_Antennas


73 Mike
 

pathalogical

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andrewccm said:
Thanks..

Any thoughts on ETON S350DL vs ETON/Grundig G5?

The G5 shows in stock at a store nearby (at least according to RS's website)
FYI...the Grundig G5 and Eton E5 are the same radios, the G5 has a rubberized black finish the E5 is silver plastic...just decide which colour you'll like in your shack !
 

andrewccm

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Well I went over to my local Fry's and picked up an ETON E1. They had a few and were marked down to $229. Been playing around with it for a hour or so and am clueless. I basically am getting the stations around here and if I hook it to anything other than it's internal antenna, I get other signals but the darn WBAP and another large local AM channel seem to bleed over.

Of course, I know nothing about this stuff, so I'll do some reading and playing. If I hate it, I'll just return it.

Seems like a good radio...Now I just need to figure out the next steps. If I wanted to listen to my local sports or news channel, I would have just saved the $. LOL

Thanks for the responses. I appreciate it.
 

andrewccm

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BTW: I read that I should be getting something from 10000 or 15000... Is that accurate? I just get static. Sorry to be so ignorant... I just want to be sure I don't have a dud so I can take it back tonight and exchange if necessary.
 

k8mcn

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andrewccm said:
BTW: I read that I should be getting something from 10000 or 15000... Is that accurate? I just get static. Sorry to be so ignorant... I just want to be sure I don't have a dud so I can take it back tonight and exchange if necessary.
15.100 to 15.500 should be loaded with SW on AM-----20meter amateur band-14.025 to 14.350, with SSB Voice on the upper end and CW in the lower-30meter CW and digital 10.100 to 10.130
Good luck
 

andrewccm

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Thanks.. NOTHING but static on those bands.. I get very few things at around 11970 or so.. Sounds German..

Tried the SSB USB and everything I could think of. Just using stock antenna right now to test out. Fully extended. I tried alligator clipping a long split strewn of speaker wire to it and seem to be getting stronger singles but tunes nothing but static at various squelch levels.
 

andrewccm

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Well.. I am slowly getting it figured out. Basically, the antenna onboard is not very good for my place apparently. I took some wire and alligator clipped it to the external Ant. jack (very carefully since I didn't have a PAL connector to use - where do you get those btw? I'd use an RCA if it fit, but seemed too loose).

Funny thing, with the Internal Antenna selected and the external hooked up, much of the noise subsided and some stations such as in the Netherlands came in much cleaner. Even though I was using built in Antenna, once I would disconnect the external... The static would return. Wonder if there is a grounding problem or if I am just too dang new at all this and don't comprende'.. LOL

Off to read more. Thanks.
 

ka3jjz

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Andrew, how signals travel on HF is very different from scanners. It's based on the sun and its interaction with our ionosphere. In general, tune freqs from 10 to about 19 Mhz during the day, below that at night. 25 meters (11.6-12.0 Mhz or so) may stay open a bit later as we get into the summer months, but not much beyond the early eve.

As I have mentioned many times, you don't need a geophysics degree to understand the basics of the workings of the sun and ionosphere - but you DO need a basic understanding of what goes on. The link below has a link to the AE4RV website (you will need a flash player to read the site), where a pretty decent entry-level discussion on this very important topic can be found. There are a great many other more tech sites for this, so stick to this for the moment...

http://wiki.radioreference.com/index.php/HF_Propagation

Now as to the ext antenna, where to find the plugs, ect. - the best place to find such information is on a Yahoo group that's devoted to the E5, such as:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/EtonE5/

73 Mike
 

andrewccm

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Thanks a lot for the help.

I'll check out that group. Wonder if there is one for the E1 as well..

Thanks again.. I am getting the hang of it as I go along. Certainly getting a lot of broadcasts now. I just need to get a grip on the best way to attack the antenna and grounding.

I sincerely appreciate you taking the time out to comment.
 

af5rn

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andrewccm said:
I basically am getting the stations around here and if I hook it to anything other than it's internal antenna, I get other signals but the darn WBAP and another large local AM channel seem to bleed over.
In Corpus Christi!?!?

Holy Crap!!!!!111one
 

andrewccm

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Ah.. No.. I'll be going in June..

My family did go to Chicago though for the next 3 days. I had to stay home and work. :(
 
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