Upgrading ticket, advice on radio

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steveh552

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Hey all,
A bit of background, I started out as a child (age 12-13) in CB radio and by the time I was 15 I had a tech license, that has been almost 15 years now. I have never upgraded from my tech ticket, a no-code at that. I use to get hours of enjoyment from turning on the 2m and listening, but around here it is nearly dead, at least the last time I turned on the radio 9 months ago.

Anyways, to present. I have been strongly considering upgrading to General so I can have HF priviliges, I know the limited 10m on such I have with a tech, but I want more bands and allocation to use. So having said that, my intent is to upgrade.

Now, I want to get a radio that I can use once I get my upgraded ticket. I am needing something portable because I travel some and commute as well and would like to have something that is going to travel with me. My interest are, at this point are monitoring the 50 states, especially during weather emergencies or other disasters and also just plain old fun. I am not into contesting or traffic nets. My budget to start my HF set up is right around $1000 I was thinking about the 817, and I know full well it is only 5 watts, but I was thinking for the price and the fact that I can take it anywhere I go including hotel rooms. I also considered the 857D and an ATAS antenna but even buying those, I still need coax and a mount and then I have no hotel operations.

I am buying my book to upgrade in a couple weeks, hoping I can at least cram and have my ticket before my June trip to Memphis (would like to use the radio as a way to keep me occupied on my way down and back).

Will the experts and non-experts please chime in.
 

jhooten

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You still need ant,coax, mount with the 817 to run HF. How are you going to charge the battery? Battery will only give you about 8 hours of operation depending on how much you transmit. BTW, the battery is not included and adds about $70 to the price.

Why no hotel with the 857? Been doing it for years. A 20 amp switching power supply adds only a few pounds and about $100 to the set up.

OR you could put the extra $100 into the radio and get the 897 which is an 857 in a bigger case which allows you to add internal batteries. Gives you 100 watts when mobile/external power supply. On the internal batteries you get 20 watts max output for about 8 hours on all bands.
 
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steveh552

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Canal Winchester Ohio
I basically have $1000 TOTAL to spend, that is on radio, antenna and the whole 9 yards. I know it is not much, but I have to do. I was thinking of the MIracle whip for the 817 as a way to get started and upgrade from there later. I like the 857 for the power and antenna tuner. I usally stay in a super 8 hotel, so I need somethin that I can use there, with no opening windows, the antenna would be in doors.
 

n5ims

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Getting a used radio is often a good idea for your first HF radio. What looks and works good in the store, may have things that just don't work the way you do and buying a used radio (carefully, of course) allows you to sell it again for nearly what you paid if you decide you'd like something different after using it for a short while.

You may try something like a used TS-430S (one example on e-bay Kenwood TS-430S HF Transceiver in Exceptional Condition - eBay (item 230445612545 end time Mar-14-10 19:32:54 PDT) currently under $300) which would leave quite a bit for power supply, antenna, coax, etc.

While I'd prefer the TS-50S due to the size (about the size of a typical car radio), the only one I've found is http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=180449692613 (currently $366) but is from a canadian seller so shipping may be an issue. This does come with the antenna tuner, which is a big plus.

If you can find a hamfest close, this would give you a good chance to check out the radios and talking to the owners which lowers the chance of getting stuck with something that ends up in worse shape than described on e-bay.
 

steveh552

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I dont do Ebay for anything over 20 or 30 bucks, I have ahd to many scammers get my money, I could wait for Dayton, that is the next hamfest close to me, I may use that avenue to do my test.
 

APTN

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You still need ant,coax, mount with the 817 to run HF. How are you going to charge the battery? Battery will only give you about 8 hours of operation depending on how much you transmit. BTW, the battery is not included and adds about $70 to the price.

Why no hotel with the 857? Been doing it for years. A 20 amp switching power supply adds only a few pounds and about $100 to the set up.

OR you could put the extra $100 into the radio and get the 897 which is an 857 in a bigger case which allows you to add internal batteries. Gives you 100 watts when mobile/external power supply. On the internal batteries you get 20 watts max output for about 8 hours on all bands.
I'll second an 857. :D
 

prcguy

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I'll give a third vote for an FT-857 for hotel hopping or any other portable operation. I have the 817 and 897 which have not been used much since picking up the 857 a few years ago.

I found the Astron SS-18 power supply is about the same size as the 857 and is a great travel supply, they sometimes go for $40 on Epay. I would also recommend the Dentron Jr tuner , its very small and will tune most anything without arcing at 100w. I would stay away from the smaller MFJ tuners like the 940 series, the internal inductor has arced to the top cover on most I have seen. Same goes for small autotuners unless you can test one with your specific antenna to see if it will tune ok.

The Miracle whip is not the greatest portable antenna and the Yaesu ATAS series are not much better. You didn't mention what bands you want to operate and if you can't get the antenna outside the hotel its gonna be rough, hotels are very noisy RF wise and if stuccoed they are probably wrapped in metal screen.

I have always been able to open a window enough to dislodge the screen and stick my 33ft fiberglass mast out the window with a bunch of wire attached, which works well on 80m and up. Sometimes I use a military manpack right on the window sill with the loaded manpack whip sticking out the window and a counterpoise wire hanging down outside or run inside the room.

A new 857 and used Dentron tuner, Astron power supply, collapsible fiberglass mast and wire should run less than your $1000 budget and will greatly outperform a miracle whip or ATAS antenna.
prcguy

I'll second an 857. :D
 

steveh552

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Oct 7, 2005
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Canal Winchester Ohio
I know that until I get my upgrade, I will be limited to transmitting on 6m and limited 10m, once I upgrade, 40m and maybe 20 seems to be calling my name.
 

JStemann

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I have the 897 and like it pretty good. It's kinda big for mobile, for me anyway. Good for portable and home. I have been looking at adding the 817 to the shack, the size would be nice for packing around, but I might just add battery or 2 to the 897. I think the 857 would be great for a rig that was going to be installed mobile most of the time.

For antennas, have you considered the buddistick or buddipole setup? Not exactly cheap, but hard to beat for a portable package, and they seem to get pretty good reviews over on eham.

jeff s.
 

elk2370bruce

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Consider a slightly used (but not abused) Icom 746 they can be had for a grand or under. For a few hundred more, the Icom 756 Pro II is an outstanding performer. I picked one up used several yeara ago and was not disappointed. The 897 is a great rig as well and I know of others who like them. Just remember that the best radio won't work worth diddly without a well-thought out antenna. You can't work em if you can't hear em so a good set of ears is a must. Either make your own dipole or get a G5RV as a starter. With a decent rig and antenna, running 100 watts barefoot is a lot of fun and offers a challenge rather than heating up clouds with a electicity gobbling linear.
 
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