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Messages - cockpitbob

Pages: 1 ... 74 75 [76]
Antennas / What antenna do you use for backpack QRP?
« on: September 16, 2012, 11:49:31 PM »
Now that I've learned Morse well enough to get on the air, my next step is QRP, and especially for portable ops.  A QRP rig would also be a nice addition to the SHTF go-kit.  There are some really nice small QRP rigs, but what do most backpackers use for an antenna?  I mean, what's the point of putting the radio in an Altoids tin if the antenna is 65' of #18 wire, plus 50' of feed line, plus lots of 550 cord, plus a slingshot line launcher to get it up in the trees?

So, what do you use, or have heard that works and is compact and light?  If it's a wire, how do you get it up high?

Antennas / Re: Ground rods, how?
« on: September 16, 2012, 11:22:00 PM »
I live in rocky soil and didn't want to get an 8' rod in 4' and get stuck there.  So, I taped a piece of small diameter garden hose to the rod and to my surprise I was able to water-drill down over 4'.  That told me I probably was OK with boulders, so I took the hose off and used an 8lb sledge.

Morse Code / Re: Starting the Morse Code Board.
« on: September 06, 2012, 10:23:41 PM »
About 2 years ago I started learing Morse code.  It's just like learning a new language, and I believe them when they say it's easier when you are young.  I've only put in a part-time effort but on a good day I can now do 10wpm.

Two things that really helped are:
1) the G4FON training software (  It's free and generates code for you to copy from the computer's speakers at whatever speed you want.  It will display the text of the code on the screen as it sends, or delayed so you can look up and check your work.  You can even paste pain text for it to send as code.  I put several pages from a book in it.  It will also save to an audio file, so I have a lot of CW in my iPod to listen to.

2) Learn CW Online (  This is web based and has some neat features.  Copying words is easier for me because if I miss a letter in a word I can usually guess knowing the words around it.  But copying random stuff like call signs is hard.  It has a call sign trainer with a neat but cruel feature.  It sends a call and you type it in at your own pace.  The next call comes in 1wpm faster or slower depending on if you got the last one right or wrong.  It always keeps you sweating, but I've learned really fast with it.  It also keeps statistics on you so you can see a chart of your average copy speed over the past weeks.

Personally I'm not sure how good CW is for preppers.  The QRP gear is perfect for preppers, but what percentage of hams, much less people know Morse?

New To Radio / Re: Antenna's and accessories, oh my!
« on: September 06, 2012, 07:45:52 AM »
Antennas are one of the more (wonderfully) maddening things in ham radio.  Antenna performance is often more important than the radio's performance and there are a zillion options to choose from.

I also have an FT-857D for the same reasons that it's a good compromise between base and mobile.  For a base antenna I simply have a 180' long end fed wire that I feed with a manual tuner.  My shack is by the basement wall so I have only 15' of coax going to the antenna and a ground rod.  I have a bead balun on the coax.  Performance is a compromise, but it is a cheap setup and gets me all the HF bands except 160M.  I do very little mobile, so I just have 20M and 40M hamsticks and a mag mount 2M/440 antenna.

Yes, the duplexer allows you to use an HF/VHF antenna without a switch.  It is basically 2 filters, one for HF and one for VHF frequencies, that steer the signal into the correct connector on your radio.  Personally, I would use 2 antennas on the car.  It would eliminate the duplexer so cost would be about the same and performance would probably be better than with all the compromises needed to make an antenna covering HF and VHF.  The first thing I would do is check the reviews on to see how people like that antenna. 

For manpack operation you're going to get tired carrying the battery.  The FT-857 draws about 0.65A in receive.

Good luck getting your General!


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