First HF radio, tuner questions

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jedispork

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Hello Everyone,

I'm studying for my general and looking into picking up a radio. The 897d is enticing because I would have everything in one box. However I've heard the 450d is much easier to use and I already have a ft-5100 for 2m and 70 cm. I've also considered going for the dx1200 because I'm worried about wasting more money if I ever want to upgrade.

I'm starting out with gr5v junior so I will be focusing on 40 and up for now. Would the 450d tune it properly for other bands? I realize it won't work great on all of them. If the 1200dx has a better tuner that would work it could save me from having another box.

thanks
 

KC8ESL

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Word of advice...

Get the outboard tuner. Get a manual unit (roller or selectable inductor, variable C, variable L). You'll be able to tune the fence post if you wanted.

The 450 should tune the g5rv Jr but it may not like the match on [insert random hf band within the scope of the antenna]. As I recall it will tune a 16 to 150 ohm load whereas an external tuner can bring anything in for you.

Don't go crazy, I have the mfj948 and love it. Granted I've rebuilt it twice but the price was right.
 

jedispork

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I have the 941e that I bought for playing around with cb dipoles a long time ago

leaning toward the 450d for the radio. about 700 dollars cheaper than the dx1200
 

zz0468

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I second the motion for an external tuner. You won't be happy with the G5RV as it is. Ditch the balun and feed the ladder line straight to the external tuner. It'll load up on all bands, and the high swr on the ladder line won't get lossy like it will in the coax. Make sure the tuner you get can handle balanced lines.

You can thank me later. =)
 

prcguy

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I know two people that recently dumped their FT-DX-1200s and got other rigs, although one was a (huge) upgrade to an Elecraft K3. The 1200 also has known problems of high transmit IMD, which gets a lot of complaints from hams operating 5KHz above or below you where the 1200 splatters on them.

One friend took his 1200 back to Yaesu and they said it meets all specs and when he brought it home it still covered about 10KHz of spectrum when he uses syllables with lots of high frequency content. I can pick a 1200 out of the crowd with my band scope, they really splatter.

If you can afford it and wait awhile, the Tentec Eagle is still on sale at about the price of an FT-DX1200, although $100 more that it was last month. This is about the best performing receiver you can buy for the price right now do to the massive discount they are offering. Problem is they are back ordered for a good 12 to 14 weeks.

The TT Eagle tuner should have no problem tuning a G5RV Jr on all bands 40m on up. However, the G5RV Jr is basically a 10m antenna that happens to be sort of useful down to 40m, just like the original G5RV is a 20m antenna that sort of works down to 80m, If you have space for something 94ft long, look up the ZS6BKW dipole, which is a modern day computer designed version of the G5RV that actually has a good match on most bands from 40 through 6m and works fine on 80m with a tuner. This will not incur the extra bonus coax loss that ZZ mentioned when you have 100ft of RG-8X attached to your G5RV.

Good luck with whatever you get, there are a lot of choices and great new rigs on the marked.
prcguy
 

KC8ESL

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If you still have that 941e, use it and if you really feel you need to upgrade tuners, go for it. Then again, you may find out it isn't needed and the radio meshes with the antenna just nicely.

I really don't have great things to say about the internal tuner for the 450 though. Just did not impress me. The radio is entirely another story.

The problem with radios today is that they're computers with some rf sections.

Edit: I was typing this while prcguy posted. ZS6BKW mystery antenna looks like it will be much better than the g5rv. I have all the parts cut but I can't bring myself to bring down the ol'trusty 80 dipole and put it up in its place.
 

jedispork

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thanks for all the very helpful replies. Some of my back yard is almost like a forest. I'm not sure if I would have enough room to put up a antenna for 80 meters without going to a inverted V. It might be a struggle even with the jr to find a clear path between trees so I can string it up.

I would love to use ladder line but my station will be on the other side of the house and the feed line will go through the basement crossing all the other wiring in the house. I might investigate that option later but for now I have some rg 213 coax.

thanks again
 

zz0468

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I would love to use ladder line but my station will be on the other side of the house and the feed line will go through the basement crossing all the other wiring in the house. I might investigate that option later but for now I have some rg 213 coax.
Then use coax to an SGC autotuner, and ladder line to the antenna. Depending on which model you use, and the dimensions of the dipole itself, you can get good performance from 160 meters up through 10 meters. And it doesn't require a massive ground system when used with a balanced line and balanced antenna.
 

acyddrop

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I highly recommend a remote autotuner and do what zz0468 suggested and run the ladder line to it and coax back to the house. I use a similar setup to that at one of my QTH's.
 

jedispork

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I received my astron 35 and 450d. The power supply has some hum while running however this seems fairly common and not sure if I should be concerned about it. Seems to be a common problem with the transformers.

As for the antenna. I was playing around with wire in my backyard and ended up frustrated. The dense foilage makes it very difficult to find clear anchor points. I will probably start out with a inverted V which is even more of a compromise with the g5rv. So I plan to use a plain 40m dipole with coax and add more elements for 20m since it would seem silly not to. I'm trying to keep things simple until I figure out what I want. Later on I might play with magnetic loops, temporary dipoles for the higher bands, or ladder line but for now 40m seems to be a reliable starter band.

I also have my 2m rig setup. The fan on it went bad and I wired a pc fan directly into the power supply. Should I fuse the fan? I'm not sure if they even make fuses so small.

thanks
 

prcguy

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Adding 20m elements to a 40m coax fed dipole will leave you with a 3 band antenna, 40, 20 and 15m but why not feed your 40m dipole with ladder line and work more bands? You can usually place a 1:1 or 4:1 choke balun at the radio feeding 450 ohm ladder line to the antenna and the internal tuner in the radio may tune everything above 40m just fine. Its hard to say if a 1:1 or 4:1 is better and it depends on the final length of ladder line and resulting impedance on the various bands.

You will probably also get 60m and in some cases the radio tuner will match on 80m but a 40m dipole on 80 is getting really inefficient.
prcguy

I received my astron 35 and 450d. The power supply has some hum while running however this seems fairly common and not sure if I should be concerned about it. Seems to be a common problem with the transformers.

As for the antenna. I was playing around with wire in my backyard and ended up frustrated. The dense foilage makes it very difficult to find clear anchor points. I will probably start out with a inverted V which is even more of a compromise with the g5rv. So I plan to use a plain 40m dipole with coax and add more elements for 20m since it would seem silly not to. I'm trying to keep things simple until I figure out what I want. Later on I might play with magnetic loops, temporary dipoles for the higher bands, or ladder line but for now 40m seems to be a reliable starter band.

I also have my 2m rig setup. The fan on it went bad and I wired a pc fan directly into the power supply. Should I fuse the fan? I'm not sure if they even make fuses so small.

thanks
 

jedispork

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Adding 20m elements to a 40m coax fed dipole will leave you with a 3 band antenna, 40, 20 and 15m but why not feed your 40m dipole with ladder line and work more bands?
Probably for the same reasons as anyone else. Not saying its impossible or won't happen but it would add to costs and be more complicated. I already have the rg 213. I would have to find a way to route the cable in the air from the tree to my house. Then it would be tricky finding a path to my radio room so I would probably need one of the auto tuners at the entrance to my house. With the rg213 I can throw it on the ground for now and not be picky about it.

I'm keeping all options open and apreciate the input but the fan dipole idea has to be at least a little better than the g5rv for a quicky way to get on the air.
 

prcguy

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Ok, for coax fed you can also make an offset center fed dipole and a 66ft version would cover 40, 20 and 10m with a good match. It can also work on 6 and 2m if the balun is rated for that. If you have 135ft available you can get nearly all bands from 80 through 10. All you need is a 4:1 balun (preferably current type) and some wire.

The commercially made 40 and 80m version from BuxComm versions are known to work very well.
prcguy

Probably for the same reasons as anyone else. Not saying its impossible or won't happen but it would add to costs and be more complicated. I already have the rg 213. I would have to find a way to route the cable in the air from the tree to my house. Then it would be tricky finding a path to my radio room so I would probably need one of the auto tuners at the entrance to my house. With the rg213 I can throw it on the ground for now and not be picky about it.

I'm keeping all options open and apreciate the input but the fan dipole idea has to be at least a little better than the g5rv for a quicky way to get on the air.
 
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