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HF amplifiers, antennas, batteries and more


#1

After a year and a half of sporadic activating (200 points) I’ve been thinking about my “ideal” set up for HF, 6m and 2m. I’ve mostly concentrated on 2m FM, but starting to do a bit of 2m SSB with the 817. When I first started I tried SSB on 40m and had some very limited success and a lot of failure… no one could hear me most of the time on 5W.

So, kit list might look something like this.
FT-817 on 2.5W or 5W.
Run TOKYO HY-POWER HL-45B, 2.5W in 20W-30W out(?) 5W in 45W out??? It’s a bit expensive (hi hi) so I wonder if there is a cheaper alternative that is still robust, performs well, has reasonable power consumption and doesn’t weigh a ton?
Linked dipole for 20m,30m and 40m, inverted Vee with a fishing pole. SSB
Yagi on 6m SSB and FM (not really sure what’s the best way to go on antenna for hill topping on 6m)
Yagi on 2m (use 5w from the FT-817 without the amp) on SSB and FM
No tuner, rely on resonant antennas.
Commercial LiPo pack - 12v 10Ah Lithium Polymer Battery Pack from Tracer, again very expensive, but I live in fear of exploding batteries.

If the weather is bad, just use FT-270 handheld on 2m with Yagi.

I already have the FT817 and the FT270 plus assorted bits and antennas.

Clearly I wouldn’t carry all of this on every trip, I would mix and match based on the expected day out and the hills I was doing.

Oh and I’m thinking about learning morse over the winter, which I guess will mean I don’t have to worry about amplification for HF as the 5W from the 817 would be fine.

A lot in there but I’d appreciate your thoughts folks?

73
Gerald
2W0GDA


#2

In reply to MW6AQU:
Hi Gerald,
Although I’ve not used one myself the HF Packer amp looks very good.

http://www.hfprojectsyahoo.com/hf-packeramp.html

73
Roger MW0IDX


#3

In reply to MW6AQU:
As M0DFA, operating on 2M fm and ssb, I ended up using an FT817 (having previously used an FT290 and a Kenwood TH-K2 handie) with a home-brew 3-el Yagi for ssb and a wire j-pole for fm.

As G6DTN on hf, I started quite successfully with the FT817 and linked dipole on 80, 40 and 20. The only summit I failed to qualify was G/SC-004, activated on a Saturday during a contest - silly me. I now use an FT857, usually running 20W, to a 7 metre wire vertical against a 4 metre counterpoise tuned with a Z11-Pro tuner (powered from the '857). Having used 7Ah SLABs in the past, I now have 2 Turnigy nano-tech 5Ah 3-cell LiPo batteries which I use for alternate activations, and an Imax B6 balancing charger, all from Hobbyking.

I am using G4FON (free download) as a morse tutor, and have started chasing on cw.

Gd lk es 73

Dave, G6DTN and M0DFA


#4

In reply to MW0IDX:
Hmmm, I looked at that Roger, but I could only see it as a kit and my soldering might not be up to it (I did OK with my Intermediate project - but 20 or so components for a VFO doesn’t really compare).

Also, I could only see this as available in the US, although they do say they will do international shipping. I’ve had a lot of import duty hassle in the past getting stuff in. So by the time you add in the US shipping and paying VAT etc to UK Customs it doesn’t start to look so cheap, but definitely cheaper than the Tokyo Hy Power.

If anyone has a way around these two issues it would definitely “go on the list”.

73
Gerald
2W0GDA


#5

In reply to M0DFA:
Hmmm, that is a very different way to go with the 875 and 7m vertical and tuner.

Interesting alternative though.

Can you get those batteries in the UK?

73
Gerald
2W0GDA


#6

In reply to MW6AQU and 2W0GDA:

Can you get those batteries in the UK?

I ordered mine as an import with no hassle. Not sure if they can now be obtained from the German outlet.

Dave


#7

In reply to MW6AQU:

I’m thinking about learning morse over the winter
If you were actually serious about learning Morse you would be learning it not writing about when you may start considering when you’ll start getting around to starting to learn about how to learn about starting Morse!

:slight_smile:

It would solve all your problems. The cost would be a key or paddle plus 10mins of your time every day. A hell of a lot cheaper than buying an amp or a new radio and batteries. Not much more weight to carry either.

I should know as I prevaricated about Morse for the best part 19 years then decided to get stuck in. I often make a real mess of sending and sometimes I cannot copy perfectly valid sending by a chaser. But you should see the grin on my face after some successful CW activating.

Andy
MM0FMF


#8

In reply to MM0FMF:
Hi hi… good one Andy.

I agree with your views, but I like the “chat” you get on speech modulation. Except when there is a pile up or the weather is awful, I tend to have a bit of a chat with chasers. Probably not so easy on CW?

I’ve just set an alarm on my phone, for 21:50 every day to do 10-15 mins on morse. I’ll let you know how I get on.

73
Gerald
2W0GDA


#9

In reply to MM0FMF:

If you were actually serious about learning Morse you would be
learning it not writing about when you may start considering when
you’ll start getting around to starting to learn about how to learn
about starting Morse!

I thought they taught the English language rigorously in Scottish schools, Andy. I was taught that if you can’t read a sentence aloud with one breath, then it is far too long! Now send it at 20!

But you should see the grin on my face after some successful CW activating.

Scotland is a long way from Cheshire, Andy, but I have this vision of you being submerged under a sea of Chaser CW, leaving the grin floating over the Munroes!

73s de Dave


#10

In reply to MM0FMF:

The cost would be a key or paddle plus 10mins of your time every day. A hell of a lot
cheaper than buying an amp or a new radio and batteries.

Heh. I guess that depends on how you cost your time, and how long it takes you. I was burrowing back through the reflector archives earlier, and was reminded that I’ve been trying to learn enough Morse to cope with SOTA chasing for over two years. I’m not there yet…

73, Rick M0LEP


#11

In reply to MW6AQU:

In reply to M0DFA:
Hmmm, that is a very different way to go with the 875 and 7m vertical
and tuner.

Interesting alternative though.

The 857 has the additional advantages of DSP with a notch and variable audio passband which gets rid of a lot of adjacent channel noise, and for CW a narrow audio filter and an on-tune indicator with the TX/busy light flashing blue when you have tuned in to a CW signal.

73

Brian G8ADD


#12

In reply to G8ADD:
I’ve read that the 857 uses a lot of power just on standby? Doesn’t this use lots of battery power?

Also it’s a lot heavier than an 817, but I supposed it is lighter than an 817 plus an amplifier.

73
Gerald
2W0GDA


#13

In reply to M0LEP:

365days x2.25years x10mins/day = 137hrs approx.

You only need 45hrs flying time to apply for a UK Private Pilot’s Licence.

You’re trying to make out that learning enough Morse to chase i.e. decode activator call, know when he’s listening for calls, decode him sending your own call and report and then exchange 73 at the end requires 3 times the effort of learning to fly a plane where your life is at risk if you muck up?

You’re doing it wrong! :slight_smile:

Andy
MM0FMF


#14

In reply to MW6AQU:

When I first started I tried SSB on 40m and had some very
limited success and a lot of failure… no one could hear me most of
the time on 5W.

I do not know whether south Germany is different from the UK in this regard. But of my 39 activations this year with the 5 W (SSB) out of my FT-817 I missed only once to get 4 qso. This was because I had to go qrt as weather turned worse very quickly. I tried a mobile whip on HF last year with little success. But using either a 40m fullsize dipol or a 40m lambda/4 vertical nearly every activation ended up in a pileup.
But there is one point: SOTA chasers rely very much on SOTAWatch. Call CQ for a few minutes without response. But as soon as the spot appears lots of chasers come in.
With this knowledge I take my mobile phone with me. So in case no chasers come back on the first CQ calls a self spot helps waking them up.

I appreciate all activators running higher power and carrying the resulting gear for it. This enables more chasers to work them. But on the other hand even with 5W SSB you can easily qualify a summit.

Linked dipole for 20m,30m and 40m, inverted Vee with a fishing pole.
SSB
So this one should suffice.

No tuner, rely on resonant antennas.
Works fine with my vertical. A short piece of wire helps in some cases of bad SWR.

Commercial LiPo pack - 12v 10Ah Lithium Polymer Battery Pack from
Tracer, again very expensive, but I live in fear of exploding
batteries.
I am working with a cheap 4 Ah LiPo from Hobbyking (Turnigy) - no explosions up to now.

If the weather is bad, just use FT-270 handheld on 2m with Yagi.
Sri, if the weather is bad I stay at home. Propably a bad idea in the UK?

73 de Michael, DB7MM


#15

In reply to MW6AQU:
857 handbook quotes 1 Amp on receive. I haven’t checked what mine actually uses.

857 weighs in at about 2.1 kg (handbook) and the 817 weighs 1.2 kg with internal batteries. No idea what a amplifier weighs, but using the 857 means there is less stuff to carry around and interconnect (hence less cables to leave behind)

Regards, dave, G6DTN


#16

In reply to MW6AQU:

The current consumption figures are 550 mA squelched, 1 A with full audio output, mine runs at 600 mA into headphones. This is more than the 817 but a lot less than the IC-706 series. It weighs 2.1 kg as against the 1.17 kg of the 817, I don’t know what the linear would weigh.

My all-up rucksack weight with 857, 7Ah SLAB, tuner and W3EDP antenna plus the usual stuff weighs considerably less than the loads I used to carry for rock or snow and ice climbing so they don’t seem too bad to me, but some of these QRP CW types consider an 817 too heavy to bother with!

73

Brian G8ADD


#17

In reply to DB7MM:

Sri, if the weather is bad I stay at home. Propably a bad idea in the UK?

ROTFL!!! :slight_smile:

Andy
MM0FMF


#18

In reply to DB7MM:
Great information Michael!

You are right about the British weather… need to be able to cope with a bit of rain sometimes, or you would rarely get out, especially for people like me who have to work all week and usually only activate at the weekend.

73
Gerald
2W0GDA


#19

In reply to M0LEP:

Heh. I guess that depends on how you cost your time, and how long it
takes you. I was burrowing back through the reflector archives
earlier, and was reminded that I’ve been trying to learn enough Morse
to cope with SOTA chasing for over two years. I’m not there yet…

Good luck, Rick, I learned the characters in about a week in 1962 after passing my RAE, but here I am fifty years later still not able to sustain concentration long enough for a contact. Most can, some can’t, it’s just the way of the world - but it always gets my goat a bit when those who can jump to the facile conclusion that those who can’t just haven’t worked hard enough at it. Phooey!

73

Brian G8ADD


#20

In reply to G8ADD:
Ha, yes Brian. I usually carry most of my XYLs hill gear and all the food for both of us to even our speeds up a bit. So the radio gear doesn’t seem that bad.

That looks like a simple set up, maybe just substitute a linked dipole for the bands I want in order to miss out the tuner?

The benefit of the 857 would be more power on 2m as well.

This is all very interesting!

73
Gerald
2W0GDA