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new to HF

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shores

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Hi all :)
I have been scanning for a few years, but only recently thought of getting into HF.
My scanner now does civ air but not mil air (not a whole lot around me to warrant it).
However, canadian and american air force/coast guard/navy use HF quite a bit on long trips and communicating back and forth on some exercises.

I am been reading up on USB/LSB/CW, and SSB.
Is SSB pretty important for listening to military HF?
The grundigs are popular but seem to not be that good.
Any $80-$150 good HF radios to start with that will do what I need?
I checked a few sites but their either just say x khz to 30mhz or "several main bands of HF"
I want to make sure I get the mil bands in between the amateur ones?

Thanks!
 

pathalogical

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I've been reading up on sw radios as well. I'm considering the Sangean ATS 909 because it has USB and LSB, necessary for most, if not all, military comms. The Source (formerly know as Radio Shack up here) sells the Grundig (Eton) S350DL, but does not have SSB capabilities. They do sell a few other sw, however the 909 has caught my attention so I really haven't looked at any others. This link should give you an idea of the freqs involved, http://www.monitoringtimes.com/html/mttopHF.html note the use of USB. Hope this helps.
 

shores

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that's the site I was using.
also http://www.canairradio.com with the HF links to canforces has all the specific canadian ones.

So USB/LSB uses upper and lower side bands. Are the ones with nothing beside them just CW conventional?
Do you have to use a switch to pick the different modes?

What uses SSB that would be worth the extra cash?

tnx.
 

pathalogical

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I'm familiar with the Canair link. Are you in somewhere Canada too ? Since you mentioned military HF in you first post, I would say that a SSB receiver is necessary for these types of communications and worth considering spending a couple of extra bucks. Hopefully other dx'ers can chime in with their experience and knowledge.
 

shores

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also near TO.
I thought SSB wasn't on any of those links for canada, but I guess they are used somewhat for the US?

I checked the 350, it doesn't have SSB.
I am currently looking at the KA1002 by Kaito, are these any good?
100 dollars, and it does SSB, and has external antenna jack and is all digital.
For 10 dollars more you can get the KA1003 which is a step up and does all that plus better tuning steps and longwave.
 

brandon

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Military communications on HF are in USB. If you want to hear them you must get a receiver than can do SSB.

LSB isn't used as much except for hams on 40m and below, CB'ers, and bootleg fishermen.
 

shores

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any radios at a decent price that anyone would suggest besides the one pathological had for 300?
SSB is a must.
 

ka3jjz

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I'd strongly suggest using the links to our wiki pages found in the sticky at the top of this forum. There's several links on the SWL and utility wikis that link up to places where you can look up reviews online. They will be among the best places to start. Then start gauging what you think you can afford against your wallet, then start digging into whether the radio is a good performer. That is among the best ways to prevent yourself from spending money unwisely - research. 73s Mike
 

n4voxgill

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here is a good site to see what is being heard around the world. udxf@yahoogroups this is a yahoo group for DXing on HF.
 
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shores

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tnx
i actually read through all the wikis about HF and checked some of the freq links and stuff, but I missed the receiver reviews :)
 

VernM

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To fully enjoy HF listening today, you would be best off to spend your $80 to 150 or whatever for a good used receiver by Kenwood, Icom or Yeasu that covers 2-30 MHz or morer (lower). Besides SSB, there are digital formats to follow such as PSK, Teletype, Slow Scan and WeFax that you can best follow with a stable receiver such as mentioned above and an interface to your computer's sound card.

New is not necessarily best. Working your way into HF by the used ham/SWL receiver method will teach your more and make it more enjoyable.
 
Joined
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I happen to like portables and the Sangean 909 is what I use. You want a receiver with true USB/LSB capability and the 909 has it. You get what you pay for, so if you buy a cheap portable that just says SSB, you're going to reget it. The ANT-60 wire antenna that comes with it is nice too.

Mark Holmes
Marion, IL
markinillinois@webtv.net
 

gcgrotz

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I use a Sony 7600 when I'm travelling, an Icom R75 at home. The Sony is an excellent RX in the $150 range. It has usb/lsb selectable SSB and synchronous (with selectable sideband) AM that actually works much better than the R75. It also has fine tuning control. Works really well for AM DX. Mine's been all over the world. Try Universal Radio, they may have them.

One of my favorite freqs is 5616KHz, one of the busiest trans-Atlantic Aero freqs. Find a list of the world aero freqs and try some out.

Good luck and Have Fun!
 

shores

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I'm thinking about the Kaito KA1102.
I read all the reviews off the wiki and other than its annoying thing of having to use page 9 only to store SSB freq's, it's a nice little portable radio with good SSB reception and comes with a decent shortwave external antenna you can connect for better reception.

The KA1103 is only 10 dollars more but apparently it's got that very annoying fake analog display and volume knobs.
 

nexus

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Aug 13, 2002
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The majority of two-way communications on HF frequencies will be in the SSB (single Side Band) MODE.

There are two Side Bands... LSB (Lower Side Band) and USB (Upper Side Band) All military and aero HF communications use USB. Some portions of the Ham band use LSB and some use USB. Maritime Marine and Coast Guard uses USB as well.

Bottom line, if you want to be able to listen to two-way communications on the HF band make sure it does SSB because that will be the primary mode. AM is used for broadcast, and CW (continues wave) can be tuned in using USB easily.

I hear good things about the ATS-909 check ebay out they usually have a lot of older good radios for tuning in HF communications.
 
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Don't overlook your antenna. On HF especially it can make or break your listening efforts. You can buy the most expensive whiz bag radio on the plant and hook it to a bad antenna and you aren't going to hear anything. Other than my Sony 2010 I've never had any luck with those rinky dink portable SW radios. Maybe that's because I'm comparing them to regular table top SW radios I don't know.

I would go for a quality used table top radio such as an Icom, Yaesu etc or maybe even a new one. The Icom R75 goes pretty reasonable and gets good reviews. I keep threatening to pick up one of those myself.
 

kb2vxa

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Hi Shores and all,

Vern hit the head on the nail with this one;

"New is not necessarily best. Working your way into HF by the used ham/SWL receiver method will teach your more and make it more enjoyable."

Then too even in the used market you'll be very lucky to get a satisfactory receiver for <$150 but I have been very lucky at times. Stay away from e-Bay where snake oil rip-offs abound and gravitate to the hamfests where you can at least examine the equipment. The schedule of ARRL affiliated clubs can be found on thier web site and likely a search engine will turn up more "Amateur Radio clubs" using those key words. You can always ask at www.qrz.com which also has a classifieds section and there are other ham related sites you can check out.

The MAIN thing to keep in mind is a communications receiver is what you NEED because that's what you want to listen to. Run of the mill portables and other stuff designed for casual shortwave listening just won't cut the mustard, you'll be disapointed. One of the more modern ham tranceivers will have "DC to light" receive capability, just stash the mic until you get your license so you won't be tempted to transmit without one and get in trouble with the FCC and have your house surrounded by angry hams carrying torches.

As for the antenna, a simple 50' wire will do for a start, just shove it into the SO-239 connector on the back of the radio and ground the chassis to a cold water pipe or if none is available the screw holding the cover plate on the AC wall outlet will do. As you grow your antenna will grow with you and we can help you with just about anything. Just ask but PLEASE, not before doing your own homework. All you'll get from me if you do is me telling you to get your ducks in a row so I can properly answer your questions.

"The Icom R75 goes pretty reasonable and gets good reviews. I keep threatening to pick up one of those myself."

Stop threatening and just DO IT! No wonder you're Hostile, you're pretty darn frustrated at this point as we "professioals" run rings around you. Thanks for making my point even if the R-75 is just a bit pricy but well worth it and I mean WELL worth it.

Good luck on your new adventure, if you follow these simple guidelines you won't be disapointed. Then if you feel "on the level if so inclined" we will point you in the right direction about becoming a ham so you can talk as well as listen and there's SO many ways you can do it.
 

pathalogical

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New to me means "I'm the first one to take it out of the box and play with it". I just don't trust reasuring comments like 'like new', 'gently used', 'never abused', especially with electronic items. The second something goes wrong with it, you will immediately regret buying used. Contacting the seller would only result it "I never had a problem with it". I think I would only buy used if I actually knew the seller. I don't think I would ever buy a used car. Buying new always give you the option of getting a refund. I always say to myself - If I buy something that I expect to last many many years, I don't mind spending a couple of extra bucks. After all, those couple of bucks may just have bought you peace of mind. Don't get me wrong, many are happy with their used items, I just prefer to buy new.
 
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kb2vxa said:
"The Icom R75 goes pretty reasonable and gets good reviews. I keep threatening to pick up one of those myself."

Stop threatening and just DO IT! No wonder you're Hostile, you're pretty darn frustrated at this point as we "professioals" run rings around you. Thanks for making my point even if the R-75 is just a bit pricy but well worth it and I mean WELL worth it.
LOL Oh it isn't that. For the HF side of things I've got an Icom R-8500, Icom R71A, Icom PCR1000, AOR AR-5000+3/SDU-5500, and a Sony 2010. I've just been trying to hold off on buying any new radios for a while. I just don't have room for a new R75. It's taking all my self control not to buy a new AOR SR-2000. I've ran out of ports on the multicouplers for the VHF/UHF side of things and the HF multicoupler is out of free ports too. Not to mention the fact that the rack I have all of my gear sitting on is packed full with no more room. Gotta get a new wire rack up and two new multicouplers. Also need to get my fixed tower back up next spring and crank up by winter. Probably put a good VHF/UHF LP with a rotor on the crank up.
 

K0ATC

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Nov 19, 2004
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Oklahoma
I listen to a lot of HF and I would have to say the best you can do with little funds is the ICOM R75. I used to use a AR5000A for utility monitoring and didnt know what I was missing out on until I bought my IC-7000. The AOR is a great radio, just better suited for VHF and up. Give the R75 a try you wont be regret it one bit! As someone else mentioned, antenna antenna antenna. The radio is nothing without it!
 
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