Giving up HF?

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KR0SIV

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Anyone here strictly UHF/VHF/SHF operators?

I had a Kenwood 690s that I had sold some time ago in order to purchase an FT-857d.
The real purpose for the 857 was the ability to run SSB on 2m/440 satellite.

I thought I'd get into HF but I just don't see the point in it. It appears to me that it's almost all contesters and ragchew about 'life'. Sure you have a few nets and some digital but not much else.

I had some interest in winlink but with local station I've never used an HF winlink station which, the bands haven't been forgiving enough to allow just yet (for me). It seems that in an emergency UHF/VHF is where it is anyway.

There is more bandwidth, experimentation, digital, packet, etc...
Before I became a ham computers and networking was my thing, so naturally I'm drawn to packet, digi, etc..

I'm thinking about hanging up my HF hat and sticking with UHF/VHF, anyone else thinking about this or at this point?

I would sell my FT-857d if I could get a 2m/440 rig that was 'all mode' though I don't really see them. Perhaps I should keep it, thoughts?

Anyone here strictly uhf/vhf users out of choice?
 

mmckenna

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It's an individual thing.

Some people just like to talk, and HF might be the thing for them. I've got a co-worker that had HF in his car. I rode with him once and he was rag chewing the whole way. Does't contest, just talks. He loved it and thought it was the greatest thing.
Personally, I don't like to talk much (just ask my wife). I tried HF a few times, and just got bored talking to some stranger about the weather, antenna, etc. Just didn't float my boat. I know that is my own thing, no one else's.

HF is great for some, others, not so much. I've been an ham for a long time, and I've found my activity in the hobby comes and goes. Right now it's pretty much just 2 meter FM, and usually only talking to family on simplex. Maybe in a few years I'll change.

I'd keep the 857 since it'll do whatever you really need it to. If your own style changes in a few years, you won't have to go out and buy another radio.
 

KR0SIV

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It's an individual thing.

Some people just like to talk, and HF might be the thing for them. I've got a co-worker that had HF in his car. I rode with him once and he was rag chewing the whole way. Does't contest, just talks. He loved it and thought it was the greatest thing.
Personally, I don't like to talk much (just ask my wife). I tried HF a few times, and just got bored talking to some stranger about the weather, antenna, etc. Just didn't float my boat. I know that is my own thing, no one else's.

HF is great for some, others, not so much. I've been an ham for a long time, and I've found my activity in the hobby comes and goes. Right now it's pretty much just 2 meter FM, and usually only talking to family on simplex. Maybe in a few years I'll change.

I'd keep the 857 since it'll do whatever you really need it to. If your own style changes in a few years, you won't have to go out and buy another radio.
Thanks, I like your perspective.
I rarely find someone who wants to talk personally. I usually just hear "thanks for the contact 73s" and a surge of others start calling.

I did find it interesting making a contact with W1AW/9 via a scanner antenna driving 70mph down I-90. Though the novelty of that wore off, especially since that untuned (yes I used a tuner) antenna was so inefficient I can't make many mobile contacts.

I threw up a wire for field day but again I just don't think contesting is for me.
 

mmckenna

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Thanks, I like your perspective.
I rarely find someone who wants to talk personally. I usually just hear "thanks for the contact 73s" and a surge of others start calling.

I did find it interesting making a contact with W1AW/9 via a scanner antenna driving 70mph down I-90. Though the novelty of that wore off, especially since that untuned (yes I used a tuner) antenna was so inefficient I can't make many mobile contacts.

I threw up a wire for field day but again I just don't think contesting is for me.
Yeah, I hear what you are saying. I used to talk to a guy at a retirement home on my way into work in the mornings on 146.52. It was actual conversation, so it was interesting. After that, I tried one of the repeaters, and just got guys that wanted to lecture until their time out timer tripped. I grew tired of listening to one way conversations, hearing about their antennas, computer, hang nails, etc. Just too much of the same discussion every morning. Attempts to talk about something else always got pulled back to the same thing.

HF was interesting for a while. I used to be stationed up in Kodiak and had access to an impressive HF station and antenna farm. I made a few contacts, but my schedule sort of took that away from me. Many years back I bought an Icom IC-718 and played on HF a bit, but I found it just wasn't what I was looking for. Found I more often ended up using it for listening to SW than the ham bands. Eventually took down the antenna and sold the radio.

I think the big change for me was when I started riding a vanpool to/from work. My commute in my own truck was limited to a few minutes, so getting on the radio was out of the question. When my son came along, there was no time for playing radio at home. Other than a VHF radio in the kitchen left on the simplex frequency we use, that's been it. My wife has her license as well as a VHF radio in her car, occasionally we'll talk, but it's not as much fun when you see the person every day (no offense, dear). Usually it's talking about picking up groceries, who's picking up my son, etc.

For now, VHF is enough to satisfy me, and it does what I need it to. Check in again in 10 years and things will probably change. I've held my General for a while, so the access to HF is there. Maybe some day I'll bite.
 

vagrant

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Before I became a ham computers and networking was my thing, so naturally I'm drawn to packet, digi, etc..
Did PSK31 or RTTY not interest you? 40, 30 and 20 meters are usually busy for PSK31 and other digital modes. I'm proficient at typing, so my input is faster than the data being sent, but it's not a race and conversations are there to be had. It's what we as operators make of it. Still, it may not be for you, or work with your lifestyle. Damn, I'm monitoring 10.142 kHz and some guys jumped in using phone. hahaha HF is funny sometimes and it's a big world.
 

zz0468

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Anyone here strictly UHF/VHF/SHF operators?
Well, not strictly speaking, but there have been times when that's what I've done. So, I think I'm somewhat qualified to voice an opinion.

I had a Kenwood 690s that I had sold some time ago in order to purchase an FT-857d...

...as 'all mode' though I don't really see them. Perhaps I should keep it, thoughts?
Since the radio that you have on hand is capable of doing what you want, I'd suggest hanging on to it for now. And you might change your mind. Every time I've gotten rid of my HF capability, I've missed it, and spent a wad of money getting it back.

Anyone here strictly uhf/vhf users out of choice?
There's tons of them. It really boils down to what you want to get out of ham radio. A lot of VHF/UHF weak signal operations are contest style - exchange call signs and grid squares. There's not much rag chewing going on via meteor scatter and EME. In those cases, the thrill is in the chase, or the technical achievement of building a radio that can bounce a signal off the moon or an ionization trail.

Operation in the higher bands, in the microwave spectrum, is an experimenters dream. Lots of interesting, innovative people, but again, contacts are generally contest style short exchanges. It really depends on the motivation of the people you work with. Microwave operation isn't a solo venture like HF, or even 2m SSB can be.

As for yourself, what you want out of the hobby? You want to build and experiment? VHF/UHF/SHF is perfect. Like antennas? HF lends itself to antenna experimentation, particularly if you have room. Want to rag chew? HF is the place. Are repeaters your thing? Perfect for the non-technical type who just wants local utility communications. Maybe you want to build your technical skills and design and build your own gear. HF is an excellent place to start.

Or maybe you're like me. I like it all. From 160 meter CW DX contacts, HF rag chewing, 6 meter DX'ing, repeaters, and weak signal microwave stuff. The nice thing about this hobby is, you don't have to commit to any one sort of operation, you can get sick of something, and try something new, go back to an old favorite band, and do it all over again. Anyone who gets bored in this hobby is living under a rock.
 

pyro424

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I personally find the VHF/UHF stuff incredibly boring. A lot of boring monotone conversations and guys saying, "fine business". Also find some of the "whacker" types on there that think they are very important or some kind of official doing their ARES type thing. Hearing a new comer on is interesting though. Or the odd guy that wants to hold a real conversation. For me I find far more real conversations on HF rather than VHF/UHF. I just love to go on HF and call CQ and see who responds. Always from somewhere different depending on propagation. No infrastructure to rely on. Can talk "local" across the entire region on 80 meters with no repeaters. Or switch over to 20 meters and make longer range contacts. I think a lot of it has to do with what YOU yourself does to make the conversation. If I call CQ and someone responds I try to hold a conversation about something. Whatever it may be. Could be about something technical related or could be just about how things are going. If I do that then the other station will usually do the same. I really am not interested in the your 5'9 and 73 report. Nor do I want to talk about the weather all day. So I make the most out of starting a meaningful conversation. For me these meaningful conversations are much easier to start on HF than VHF/UHF. I also enjoy sending QSL cards by snail mail. Just something about it. Very personal. It could be easy to just quickly tune through 20 meters and say ah nothing there. Just a couple boring conversations. Well then why not pick a open frequency and start calling your own CQ? See who comes back (and someone will) and start your own meaningful conversation. That is what I do and I always meet someone new, from somewhere I have never been, and learn something new. Now if I had just flipped through the band, said ah thats boring and shut it off that would have never happened.

BTW: this video describes a lot of how I feel on the matter quite well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWE7FrVY9T4
 
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Jaxco

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I love going HF but not so much that the cost of the gear is worth it to me for the time I want to spend with it, considering the priority of other expenses in my family. The VHF/UHF is very practical though. I use it often and also check in to a number of local 2 meter and 70cm nets. I could have just stayed a technician and would have barely noticed the difference.

Don't get me wrong, the LAST thing I would ever do is knock HF. I was a kid in the late 60's and ALL through the 70's and would listen to shortwave (Later known to me as HF) all over the world. The magic of radio still complements even todays modern marvels. It has been a part of my life from my earliest memories as a kid.

But yeah, I have to say - VHF/UHF is what I use 95%+
 

millrad

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I have to agree with Nighthawk424 on this one. I have been a ham for 30 years and fine a lot more enjoyment on HF. I am a dx chaser and find contacts are much easier to make on PSK or RTTY than on SSB, so I'm thankful for soundcard digi modes. I 'm also a CW operator - a holdover from when I started as a Novice (1984), and there were no phone privileges, not even on 10 meters.
IMHO, FM repeaters have the same guys talking incessantly about the same things (jobs, wives, grand kids, gout flareups etc.) day in and day out - not really my thing. Lately I notice there are lots of new techs populating the repeaters, many of whom got licensed solely because of their interest in CERT teams and ARES. Hopefully they give HF a try, and then make an informed decision on where to spend hobby time.
 

n4yek

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It all boils down to this...ham radio is a Hobby.
People will do things the way they want, some like to talk, some don't.
Some like digital modes, some don't.
Some like CW, some don't even know what that is... :)

I have worked HF, VHF, UHF in a variety of modes. I personally loved 2 meter SSB, no longer have a radio for it though.
I would sell my FT-857d if I could get a 2m/440 rig that was 'all mode' though I don't really see them. Perhaps I should keep it, thoughts?
I don't know if there is a radio out there that can do just 2m/440 all mode.
The only other radio I know of that can do VHF/UHF all mode is the ICOM 706MKIIG but that is still HF,6,2,440 MHz.
The way I see it, if it isn't a radio you like, trade or sell it to get what you want.
You can always get another one down the line if you change you mind in the future.
 
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rapidcharger

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Anyone here strictly uhf/vhf users out of choice?
Me. me. me.
But not on sideband.

But my reasons are sort of the opposite of yours. It seems like people don't want to talk. They want a quick "hi & bye" rig, weather, antenna, location and that's it. But I on the other hand, want to actually have a conversation. And those conversations often include subject matter other than ham radio and computers.

I have HF privileges. I have the means to get an HF rig. But my interest lies with vhf and uhf exclusively. Mostly on simplex too.
 

KG4NEL

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The key to having interesting conversations is finding someone who actually does something other than ham radio...

This is harder at times than others...
 

N8IAA

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Anyone here strictly UHF/VHF/SHF operators?

I had a Kenwood 690s that I had sold some time ago in order to purchase an FT-857d.
The real purpose for the 857 was the ability to run SSB on 2m/440 satellite.

I thought I'd get into HF but I just don't see the point in it. It appears to me that it's almost all contesters and ragchew about 'life'. Sure you have a few nets and some digital but not much else.

I had some interest in winlink but with local station I've never used an HF winlink station which, the bands haven't been forgiving enough to allow just yet (for me). It seems that in an emergency UHF/VHF is where it is anyway.

There is more bandwidth, experimentation, digital, packet, etc...
Before I became a ham computers and networking was my thing, so naturally I'm drawn to packet, digi, etc..

I'm thinking about hanging up my HF hat and sticking with UHF/VHF, anyone else thinking about this or at this point?

I would sell my FT-857d if I could get a 2m/440 rig that was 'all mode' though I don't really see them. Perhaps I should keep it, thoughts?

Anyone here strictly uhf/vhf users out of choice?
The HF radios that do 145/440MHz sideband are the way to go. The big three stopped making those in the 90's. I used to have an Icom 10 watt 2m SSB radio.
Do I miss it? Heck yeah!
There was a group of N Ohioans that from the westside of Cleveland and east from there that were very active on sideband. Check out 144.200, the calling channel, and see if there is activity.
I worked meteor scatter, tropo, and just groundwave. Talked all the time into NY state, Canada, PA, and other states. One band opening, I was into CA.
Get a dual band yagi with a rotator and start having fun:)
Larry
 

elk2370bruce

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While I do vhf and uhf for local rag chew, I do spend the majority of time on hf talking with friends I've made on the air from other nations, keeping my cw skills up to snuff and experimenting with PSK. While not a foaming at the mouth contester, I'll spend some time looking for new countries and special events. I also do play around with 6 meter SSB when the propagation gods permit.
 

wbswetnam

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With almost everything else, it's whatever aspect of amateur radio you're interested in. I have zero interest in contests or (IMHO) silly ARRL awards. I keep my own station log in a MS Excel file but I'm not going to spend half my day posting my contacts to all the myriad logging websites. My info is on qrz.com; if you're dying for a QSL from me, send me yours (no sase demands from me) and I'll send you one of mine. I enjoy PSK31 and I'd like to participate more in some ragchews but it sounds like most 75m and 40m ragchew nets are hams that have known each other since the last ice age and I'm guessing they may not welcome a call from someone they don't recognize. For local 2m I have my little Yaesu FT60 connected to a vertical dipole outside for Tuesday night net check-ins. Mostly I experiment and play around... when I was a kid I had my sandbox and toy cars... as an adult I have my radios to play around with.
 

Kirk

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I've been a ham for 20+ years and recently upgraded to General. The upgrade was prompted as a "deal" with my wife...if she's going to study for her Technician, I'll spend the same time studying for my General.

I've done HF with a club station for Field Day, and it was ok. I'd be interested in working some 10m FM and V/U SSB, but the only sensible way to do that is to buy an HF/6m/2m/440 rig, and if you're going to have a rig that will do HF, you should have something other than a dummy load connected. That's where it gets complicated. Putting a dual band 2m/440 antenna on the roof is easy. Putting up an 80m dipole is a whole other matter.

I'd eventually like to upgrade to Extra, but it's not to gain more frequencies to use on HF. I want to give back to the hobby by acting as a VE, and an Extra can give all tests. Otherwise, I'm newly into DMR (aka: MotoTrbo) on VHF/UHF and am enjoying it very much. To the point where listening to analog FM with its static and courtesy tones bugs me. I can't imagine how the static of SSB would sound now.

But the great thing about the hobby...something there for everyone!
 

gewecke

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Anyone here strictly UHF/VHF/SHF operators?

I had a Kenwood 690s that I had sold some time ago in order to purchase an FT-857d.
The real purpose for the 857 was the ability to run SSB on 2m/440 satellite.

I thought I'd get into HF but I just don't see the point in it. It appears to me that it's almost all contesters and ragchew about 'life'. Sure you have a few nets and some digital but not much else.

I had some interest in winlink but with local station I've never used an HF winlink station which, the bands haven't been forgiving enough to allow just yet (for me). It seems that in an emergency UHF/VHF is where it is anyway.

There is more bandwidth, experimentation, digital, packet, etc...
Before I became a ham computers and networking was my thing, so naturally I'm drawn to packet, digi, etc..

I'm thinking about hanging up my HF hat and sticking with UHF/VHF, anyone else thinking about this or at this point?

I would sell my FT-857d if I could get a 2m/440 rig that was 'all mode' though I don't really see them. Perhaps I should keep it, thoughts?

Anyone here strictly uhf/vhf users out of choice?
Fully agree. No need for the hf bands since they require larger antennas, often more rf than I want to use and the bands are usually noisy. I have a receiver for the swbc bands but that's the extent of it.

I don't care to talk to people from other countries unless it's in person anyway.

Using uhf radios at work, it just seems more natural to enjoy 220mhz and up.

73,
n9zas
 

freebird63

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I have talked on 12&10 meters in my mobile, don't have the antenna to talk other bands. I am not in to the contesting. I might talk more on VHF/UHF, but that side of my radio went out and don't have the money to fix it, its an Icom 706 MK11G, so now I can only talk HF or just listen. I still have more fun on 11 meters.
 

scannermanner1

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I agree with a lot of people here,

I got my technician license close to a year ago and recently upgraded to general approximately 1 month ago, so I have not tried HF as of yet, I'm mostly operate 2m fm and occasionally 70 cm.
I also find it hard to strike up a real conversation if I can bring someone up on the repeater at all , then we mostly talking about location, antenna, rig/radio, weather, repeater, and mostly a HI bye thing,
I am also the only family member to have anything to do with radios! as of now thinking in the future with my busy schedule I kind of doubt my HF hobby will go much farther
 

freebird63

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I myself am limited to mobile operation only, I live in an apartment. A screwdriver antenna is expensive. So maybe as soon as winter takes hold I will probably send my radio to Icom to have the VHF/UHF transmit side fixed. I got my tech ticket back in 1996 and then my general last year. I always thought I really wanted to talk on 20 meters, but after listening to them, not so much any more. So for now its just 12, 11, and 10 meters.
 
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