Listening to ham?

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Franb

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I recently bought the pro-106 and am really enjoying it. If I just wanted to listen to foreign countries like Asia and so forth, is there a good portable you all would recommend. I signed up on line at: hamtestonline to obtain a tech license and go from there. I'm sort of a quiet guy and probably weren't push the talk button but who knows. I live in Johnson county, Kansas

thanks again
 

stevelton

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If you are just interested in listening, you dont need you ham license. Im not saying you shouldnt get it, but you only need a license if you want to talk. No license needed just to listen.
As for equipment to listen with.
Since you mentioned other continents, you would need a receiver that could pick up in the 500khz-30mhz range. There are many handheld type of receivers out there that can receive this frequency range, but how portable do you need?
For the best bang for the buck, if you were to get a multi-band mobile ham radio like the Yaesu FT-857d or Icom 706, you would have something to listen for that whole range, weather SSB or AM, and also the VHF and UHF range, which include many police/fire and ham bands. However, these arent handheld, but vehicle/ base mounted radios.
If then you were to get you hand license, this radio could do it all in the way of transmitting on the different hams bands.
Steven
 

KC8TCQ

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If you just wish to listen to amateur radio, and want a portable radio, you need to buy a communications reciever (general coverage) that is capable of recieving FM/AM/LSB/USB like the Icom IC-R20
IC-R20 Communications Receiver - Features - Icom America

One thing to remember on HF, a short HT antenna isn't going to have anywhere near the type of gain to make it truely efficient to listen to amateur radio DX stations. Amteur stations are putting out MUCH less in wattage than the shortwave broadcast stations.
 

Franb

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thanks for the help, I guess I was thinking along the lines of a Grundig G4000 or the Grundig Satellite 750.

would something like this meet my needs? Thanks again
 

LtDoc

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I think you will find that the only ham band capable of international ranges will be the 10 meter band, 28 Mhz to 29.7 Mhz. The 6 meter band is also a possibility, 50 - 54 Mhz. That band is 'qwerky', sometimes active, sometimes not. The only bands higher than that one are going to be typically for 'local' stuff.
I'm not familiar with the other receivers you mentioned so can't say about them. If your primary interest is just the ham bands then I would consider one of the receivers made by the major ham manufacturers. That can get expensive very quickly, so the 'used' market is also a possibility. If money isn't a 'problem', you might look at the 'AOR' high end receivers. Sit down before looking at the prices though! :)
Something else to think about is that the lower the frequency, the bigger/longer the antenna. That can certainly be a stumbling point too.
Good luck.
- 'Doc
 

KC8TCQ

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thanks for the help, I guess I was thinking along the lines of a Grundig G4000 or the Grundig Satellite 750.

would something like this meet my needs? Thanks again
The 750 would work well for what you want. I would recommend if using it at home you consider getting a good outdoor antenna (dipole) or a good active loop antenna if you live in a place that restricts outdoor antennas.
 

KC8TCQ

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I think you will find that the only ham band capable of international ranges will be the 10 meter band, 28 Mhz to 29.7 Mhz. The 6 meter band is also a possibility, 50 - 54 Mhz. That band is 'qwerky', sometimes active, sometimes not. The only bands higher than that one are going to be typically for 'local' stuff.
I'm not familiar with the other receivers you mentioned so can't say about them. If your primary interest is just the ham bands then I would consider one of the receivers made by the major ham manufacturers. That can get expensive very quickly, so the 'used' market is also a possibility. If money isn't a 'problem', you might look at the 'AOR' high end receivers. Sit down before looking at the prices though! :)
Something else to think about is that the lower the frequency, the bigger/longer the antenna. That can certainly be a stumbling point too.
Good luck.
- 'Doc
Actually the 20m and 17m bands also excell at international (DX). with my 706 at 80 watts, a tuner, and a 150 ft end fed wire made from an old extension cord I have worked all of europe, much of south america, much of the US, the faukland islands, fiji and kwajalien on 20m and 17m.
 

Sporkupine

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I always recommend that those who are serious about monitoring go and get at least their technician ticket. Three big reasons, in no particular order:

1. Having an amateur license will, in many locales, allow one to legally have a scanner in their vehicle where it would otherwise be prohibited.

2. You'll learn something about RF safety, good operating practice, radio theory, and band allocation, which could lead to...

3. Getting interested and enthused and saying "this sounds fun, what the hell, I'll buy a cheap HT and actually talk to these guys on the repeater," thus bringing another worthy radio amateur into the ranks, which is never a bad thing.
 

stevelton

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Actually the 20m and 17m bands also excell at international (DX). with my 706 at 80 watts, a tuner, and a 150 ft end fed wire made from an old extension cord I have worked all of europe, much of south america, much of the US, the faukland islands, fiji and kwajalien on 20m and 17m.
diddo here. I have never made international dx on 6 or 10m. All my dx came from 15m. And while dialing around, I hear plenty in 20 and 17. And thats when the spots are down.
Steven
 

KC8TCQ

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I always recommend that those who are serious about monitoring go and get at least their technician ticket. Three big reasons, in no particular order:

1. Having an amateur license will, in many locales, allow one to legally have a scanner in their vehicle where it would otherwise be prohibited.

2. You'll learn something about RF safety, good operating practice, radio theory, and band allocation, which could lead to...

3. Getting interested and enthused and saying "this sounds fun, what the hell, I'll buy a cheap HT and actually talk to these guys on the repeater," thus bringing another worthy radio amateur into the ranks, which is never a bad thing.
I agree.

One thing I always tell people who ask me about getting their license is that with so many variations available in amateur radio (modes, activities) it is almost impossible to run out of things to experiment with.

For a technician there is vhf/uhf repeater, vhf/uhf simplex, 6m ssb (when the band is open it is crazy fun) 10m ssb, digital modes (packet, psk, atv), building antennas.

Then with an upgrade to general and the HF bands there is chasing dx, contesting, digital modes, county hunting, building antennas, kit building, qrp (low power).

Amateur radio is a hobby where you get out of it what you put into it. It can be a blast, and yet it doesn't have to cost you a lot of money. My HF station at home cost me a total of $425.00. $400.00 for a used Icom 706, $25 for a used tuner I bought off a friend, and some wire I had in my garage.
 

Sporkupine

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For a technician there is vhf/uhf repeater, vhf/uhf simplex, 6m ssb (when the band is open it is crazy fun) 10m ssb, digital modes (packet, psk, atv), building antennas.
Not to hijack the thread, but 6 meters is supposed to be just insane this summer. I can hardly wait. :)
 

KC8TCQ

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Not to hijack the thread, but 6 meters is supposed to be just insane this summer. I can hardly wait. :)

A fun mode on 6m is PSK, you only need 25-30 watts at the most with a good antenna, PSK is similar to CW in that it is more efficient when the band is noisy. The human ear may not hear the signals very well but the rig and the computer can pull them out.
 

N1BHH

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Radio Shack actually has some decent Grundig models. I bought my Grundig Yacht Boy 400 there about 10-11 years ago and it's going strong. I like the ability of entering a frequency directly or choosing any of the 40 presets with just a couple key strokes. You can spend anywhere from $29 to many thousands for high quality communications receivers. You could actually find some on craigslist and of course ebay has some. But I think something new is really the best way to go. Universal Radio, HRO, AES and a number of others have a good selection. Just browse the online catalogs and see what's out there.
 

W5AWX

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I hope 6 is "insane" this summer! I have ready to go a FT817nd (QRP) and a Miracle antenna to play with.
 

W2NJS

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Radios such as the Grundig G4000 are good for casual listening but they can't compare to the "real" receivers you can get from Icom, Kenwood, or Yaesu. The good receivers have variable bandwidths, passband tuning, noise blankers that actually work, kHz calibration, and PTO tuning, to name just a few basic features.
 

Franb

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Would a receiver such as kenwood etc. need a elaborate antenna or would something simple work. I know that the antenna makes the radio. Just thinking how to start out.
 

majoco

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Get the longest highest bit of ordinary wire out and away from your house and electrical wiring as far as you can! Basically it's that simple. If you want to get more refined you can add antenna matching devices, baluns etc etc but stick to the basics until you get a feel for the HF bands.

On the HF bands you can hear around the world providing you pick the times right. There are plenty of tips on propogation on the RR Wiki. As you see I am in New Zealand and I regularly hear the European hams on the "Gray Line" on the 80metre band so you are not limited to the 20 and 10m bands!

Don't stint on your first HF receiver purchase - those flashy Grundigs etc don't have the stability, selectivity or sensitivity to do the job when the conditions get hard. If you want to get your licence later, go for a transceiver now that has a general coverage receiver built-in (Icom 718?).

Above all, have a bit of fun!
 
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