Thursday, April 10, 2008


One of the things I'm looking forward to when this move is over is getting my own little Sanctum Sanctorum where I can set up my radio station again.

My only multi-band HF rig* at this time is an old Kenwood TS-140S. It has a problem, but it's been so long I don't remember exactly what the problem is. I do know that it needs repair before it's air-worthy again, and I will have it repaired, then probably keep as a backup or maybe sell it. I want to get a new rig that has some features that the old Kenwood doesn't.

No BAG Day at the Blogonomicon household this year, because I'm hoping to have enough money saved up for a new radio or two. My wife renewed her ticket* recently, which kicked the mailing lists into active mode again and she received an AES catalog just in time for me to start salivating over new rigs. Right now the Yaesu FT-450 is looking really nice. All the HF bands plus 6 meters, which is cool because it would finally put me on 6 meters. Never been there before. Has a manual notch filter plus DSP passband filters, which is a big step up from the old Kenwood. Has a dedicated data jack so I won't have to plug my TNC into the microphone jack. Also has a built-in electronic keyer but I probably won't use that much. When I do go CW, I prefer a straight key, although I'll need to get my fist* back in shape. All for only $650. Not bad.

We're all set up for 2m/70cm FM mobile rigs, I won't need to look at those, but I would like to get a new HT* for myself to carry while I'm working. It doesn't necessarily need to be submersible, but at least rain-proof, and it also needs to be able to receive FM broadcast. Dual-band on 2m/70cm is a must for an HT, and the smaller the better. Still looking at those.

UPDATE: Looks like the Yaesu VX6R is the best price for my specs at $250. Actually a tri-bander with 220MHz capability. I don't really have any use for 220, but then again, I've never had a radio that did 220 before.

P.S. I also have one of the old Radio Shack 10-meter rigs. Not the newer one they sold in the 90s, but the much older model from the 80s. Still works like a champ. Sometimes I use it on it's own antenna (most recently, just a homebrewed dipole) to monitor 10 meters for band openings while I'm doing something else on the lower bands. Sometimes I take it mobile. My mobile antenna is a Carolina bugcatcher that does 40-10 meters, and I have a 75-meter Hamstick. I've used the Kenwood mobile a few times, also, but it's kind of big for that. I also have a 20-meter Hamstick that's still in the box--never got a chance to use it because the Kenwood went funky on me. For 10-meter mobile I've also used a CB mag-mount that I retuned by cutting off bits of the whip until it came into tune at 28.500MHz. Worked very well.

CQ -- a general call to all hams
rig -- radio
ticket -- amateur radio license
fist -- a ham's method or style of sending Morse Code
HT -- handheld radio (handie-talkie)


  1. You forgot CW= Morse code.

    I won't be making BAG Day purchase either, at least not on the day itself. I'm eying a Maverick shotgun, and it'll hafta wait until that "economic stimulus" check shows up in May. Altho I already got a CZ-52 pistol earlier in the year, and the GF got a Cricket .22 before that.

  2. Good luck on your new rig. The FT450 has an excellent price to performance ratio. I upgraded to general last year and have been using a FT897, 99% of the time for digital modes. Even here at the bottom of the sunspot cycle I've been able to work 60 DXCC entities in these few months using a dipole above the house.

  3. $250? --Goodness, that's a deal for an HF xcvr that does the job! What are your antenna plans?

    I've got to get my hamshack set up here at Roseholme Cottage; my "modern" gear is a Ten-Tech Scout (oy! Wotta noise floor!) and an Argonaut. (Modern by comparision: everything else is tubes, Well, everything but the smallest QRP sets). My skywire preference is a G5RV but it may take finagling to fit one on my lot.

    Like you, I have one of the RS 10-meter rigs. Purchased at the last sunspot peak, feeding a 102' whip on my old MGB, I never made a single QSO in a great many tries. Not one. I know hams are shy around gurrrls, but sheeeesh! :)

  4. RobertaX, I think you misread what I had written. The HF xcvr (FT450) is $650, the $250 rig was the tri-band handheld.

    My main HF antenna is a GAP Titan DX. It's mounted only about 6 feet off the ground, but it was still enough to bust a pile-up to Antarctica once.

    When I do get around to getting a new HF rig, I'll have to build my own 6-meter antenna because I don't have one yet. I'll probably just make my own quad.

  5. ...I found out how badly I'd misread when I put "VX6R" into a search engine. >blush< --My only defense is that all my work is above 30 Mc/s and as a consequence, all my hamming is from 10 to 1750 meters.

    ...6m is nice for antenna experimentation -- low enough that one needen't get too exotic, high enough that you don't need forty acres and stock in a copper-wire company.