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Build me a Ham Shack

BJ radionut

Supporting Member and 6m addict
May 9, 2008
35 miles East of Indianapolis


mount for MFJ antenna I listed earlier!
MFJ-1775, ROTATABLE DIPOLE, 6-BAND,(40,20,15,10,6,2M) | MFJ Enterprises Inc


VHF/UHF vertical set-up for FM usage.

Feed with H/D Balanced Antenna Tuner !!!(y):)



W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member
Jan 19, 2013
Chicago, IL
As an aside, I am working on the Extra exam. That exam has singed my short hairs after failing it once. Taking it just after the General Exam and being totally unprepared I failed. OK, I took a shot at it and missed, but I don't like failing. Back to the subject at hand, I need to get my hands on my HOA's rule book and see it's position on flag poles. Antennas are a complete mystery to me right now but I'll figure something out even if it means using my car or using a platform that needs to be taken down at night. I saw a video os some woman getting help with an attic installation which worked out just fine. After some adjustments she was able to make some long distance contacts. She does live near me. I think she picked up Ireland.
What is the rush to extra? There are far to many extras out there that have never touched a radio. The whole point of the extra class was you were a ham for a few years, learned the ropes and then you upgraded. Nowadays everyone want the extra without learning anything. My biggest laugh came once on a Facebook group when an extra asked what the difference was between rg-8 and rg-58.
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Down in the mud invasive species
Nov 11, 2016
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-It's chrome
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-Maximum splatter capability provides practically guaranteed access to your Prime (your name here) Card
-It's $10 off
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-Fully adjustable Super Echo to allow for maximum unintelligibility
-Fully adjustable Super Talkback to monitor your unintelligibility level
-Pre-Golden Screwdrivered at the factory for your convenience
-It's shiny
-Even using a MagMount it GETS OUT
-For use anywhere in SKIPLAND
-It's chrome


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Ham Radio Nerd
Apr 14, 2002
Tell us more about your HOA restrictions and how much of your yard is usable for an antenna. Consider a hex beam if you can:

Other options are verticals antennas, wire loops, delta loops, and lots of other wire antenna ideas.

The usual response by people who live in an area where an antenna farm is no issue is"spend $$ on antenna not radio" have never lived in an area that is space restricted. In a situation like that, you do the best you can with the antenna and then attempt to make up for it elsewhere. Spending money on a top notch transceiver with the best receiver performance can make a BIG difference in what you can hear when you have no ability to put up big gain antennas. If you can't hear them, you can't work them.

Since you have a decent budget, I would skip the Icom 718 and buy a more modern rig that performs better. I would seriously consider the Elecraft KX3 with the KXPA100 amp with included auto tuner. If you have a little extra $, the PX3 panadapter is pretty damn cool, too. That plus whatever antenna you end up with will be a very nice performing station. Plus the KX3 is portable - get the internal auto tuner and take it with you to operate remotely on battery power. That's a lot of fun, too.


Sr. Member
Feb 17, 2016


You can run a wire all the way around the house under the eaves and play with baluns, matching sections, and other esoteric voodoo. I strongly recommend a nano VNA if you're going to play reindeer games with random loops and lengths of wire the nano VNA isn't a waste $$ it's a serious tool.

Attic dipoles ? kinda self explanatory. Just try to keep then away from structure and visible for inspection. Antenna currents off resonance can cause conductor heating. I'd put a smoke/fire detector in the attic with the antenna.

Okay the first two are self explanatory. This one I'll talk about a bit. The Drake MN-2700 is a Pi-L tuner. As such it has several noticeable benefits. It performs a bit of low pass function. It tunes a broad range. It has lumped constant capacitors on heavy duty push button switches. It doesn't use a roller inductor. It has a decent meter. The "B" model has a balun in the back. The rest of the details are in the manual.

As much as I like some newer radios I'l kinda stuck on one old work horse and one weird old warrior.

The primary HF radio is a Kenwood TS-830S. I loaded it with filters, performed a few suicide prevention modifications. Upgraded the HV supply. Rebuilt the PA. I put it under a service monitor when ever I have the time. Look , they aren't for everyone as the number of people that will work on them is dwindling to a handful. I do my own work.

The weird old warrior of a Uniden (Henry) Tempo 2020.
Probably the easiest to listen to HF radio I have owned. Only issue is it's guts are strange enough that if you don't already know I'm not going to tell. They aren't for everybody.

My shack in the box is a Yaesu FT-857D with a SGC SG-230 auto tuner.

I also have a soft spot in my cold black demented heart for the Icom IC-735. If you travel this route you need a bunch of 13.8V Current. I can't stress this enough. Properly tuned and into a good antenna system these are sleepers, true hot rods.
I don't recommend running them flat out as the harder they are run the less tolerant they are of VSWR. You've been warned.

Last possibility is a remote. Our HOA has a clubhouse. I'm building a 802.11B (wireless internet) remote to use from the QTH to the clubhouse. I've established solid line of sight links of over 10 miles if nothing is in the way.

Baring the wireless remote there are more than a few ways to operate a remote via TCP/IP (internet) but I don't like depending on their infrastructure any more than I have to.

Lastly , heavy duty UPS's are cool. If you can pick it up by yourself it isn't big enough :)

Just thought I'd leave some brain vomit behind for someone else to clean up
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Sr. Member
Feb 17, 2016

Not a bad choice. I don't have a bunch of experience with it. I have guest operated several times and it worked well.
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Reactions: RedRiverII


Jan 8, 2022
Hi folks I'm back once again and thanking you for all the contributions and some comms relief. I have learned there is some derision regarding licenses. Derision is not the case here because in my eyes the post wasn't intense to be cruel in any shape or form. Thank you @w9cll. I'll offer my position, for me it is not the license or level of competence which such a license infers. The capability of a true Extra is far beyond my level as shown in my posts. OK my plea to remain in the good graces of my new friends. I've become involved in a subject which is much deeper than I anticipated. I wanted to be able to grab a PTT button and have at it. I'm tired so this explanation may be jumbled. While my heart is in the right place, just saying you are going for an Extra license offends some. Look, I'm 69 and use this new hobby to keep me mentally sharp. To me it's a proper mental exercise and as I learned it is a fascinating subject. If I get the license I promise to keep it to myself, to keep quiet about it, to not make this interesting and complex hobby seem like a moron can become an Extra. BTW, I'll pass this on 2/27/22. I'm do not like but understand my time is coming. Age has caught up to me. Just had my first go round to keep failing body parts going. Rotator cuff surgery occurred 10/29/21 and is still kicking my butt. When I write with a pen my hands look normal. When I put the pen down all the wrinkles show up. Prostate cancer was dealt with, back surgery will occur when covid goes away, imminent knee surgery yada yada the list grows. I genuinely appreciate the brotherhood expressed in the posts. " I came not to bury Caesar but to praise him."

Once again thank you all. There has been an explosion of information in this thread and I'd be lying to say I've read it all. I will to the best of my ability get to all the references.

I'll take pictures of my house and post them. Regs in my HOA ask for a completed ACC form for any outside changes to the house. I'll look into that further. Those satellite dishes are OK. Some folk have skylights on their roofs. What I do in my attic is my concern unless of course it interferes with my neighbors signals.

@kopcicle those are some heavy thoughts Sir. That'll require further investigation, thank you.

@sp5it I thought you had mixed up the numbers and threw a 5 in the 781 designation, but I went a little further and found a suggested $16,000 transceiver. That's a smidge over my $5,000 shack budget. But that may just be the new post covid mark up. Thank you.

Gentleman I had enough for one day and now I'll lie down. I will say a prayer for us and our country and look at the boob tube and fall asleep amongst the BS TV provides.

Good Night, 73 and adios y'all.


Sr. Member
Nov 12, 2013
No need to defend your decision to get your Extra, RRII. No need to defend any of your decisions to anyone here.

And contrary to what you were told, not everyone is wanting the Extra without learning anything. Some still study and learn rather than simply memorizing the answers. I did, and it’s my guess that’s your intention. Good luck, sir. (y)

And if you do get it, don’t keep it to yourself! Let us know so we can offer congratulatory slaps on the back and be happy for you! :D It’s a downright shame you were made to feel you need to keep quiet about it.
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  • @ BJ radionut:
    3Y0J: Update January 29, 2023: Ken estimates Marama should arrive at Bouvet on Monday evening just before sunset. He says he anticipates a good weather window for at least two days then. The team will attempt to move the equipment and supplies onto the island using the zodiac then. They have two zodiacs. They are hoping to accomplish it in those two days. :cool:
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  • @ BJ radionut:
    Live @ 10:00 AM EST