Sunday, February 28, 2016

HF Here I Come

I've been puttering around on 2m and 70cm since getting my Technician license in January.  It's nice to hear other hams chat about their radios and ragchew on the local nets.  It has been a great learning experience and a fun way to get my feet wet.  That's pretty much all I can do anyway with the little HT I have.  There are parts of 6m and 10m that are open to Technicians, but I really wanted to hop on 20m and 40m so I can try my hand at DXing.  Bouncing radio waves off the ionosphere half-way around the world is what has always excited me about amateur radio.

I knew I couldn't get too complacent with a Technician license and had to keep going to get on HF. Back to my two favorite learning resources I mentioned in my last post for some General studying. I'm excited to have passed my General on Superbowl Sunday, 02/07/2016.  That day was full of good news, as I got home and turned on the tube to watch my favorite Denver Broncos win the Superbowl. What a day!

Next up...researching HF rigs.  I've already started looking, and I can tell you I've probably already put more research into HF radios than I have my last car.  HF transceivers are ridiculously expensive.

The Shortlist:

Home/Portable Radios:

  • Kenwood TS-480SAT
  • Yaesu FT-450d
  • Yaesu FT-867d
  • ICOM IC-718

QRP Radios

  • Yaesu FT-817d
  • Elecraft KX3
As I've mentioned before, I really like the idea of portable rigs.  Having young kids and an urge to get outside more often makes me lean toward the QRP radios.  They'd be great when we're travelling or camping as well.  I'm a big fan of light and simple.  In case you're not familiar with QRP, it is amateur radio limited to low-power, typically 5W or less.  I'm a believer...I don't really think you need to blast 100W to have fun. Don't take my word for it, I really enjoyed Cliff N4CCB breaking down Why QRP Works on his QRP School YouTube channel.

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