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Build me a Ham Shack

RedRiverII

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In the mean time, Butch and Billy were riding hard for a long while, knowing the posse would be riding just as hard. The horses were sweating heavily showing a thick white lather. Stopping was not an option but a necessity. Butch's nerves were frayed but young Billy just smiled knowing his brother would ... Oops wrong story! Now I am becoming more and more interested in building the shack due to this profuse outpouring of info. I almost selected the 781 but then folks brought up the "buy a better transceiver vs antenna antenna antenna." So I go and look at the suggested Elecraft KX3, which may be a dandy. Is anyone using that model? I became confused looking at the package offering, then the crystal option etc.
 
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BJ radionut

Supporting Member and 6m addict
May 9, 2008
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Back-Ordered Item

Due to the high demand for the KX3, it will take longer than usual to fulfill orders. Please visit our Shipping Status page for updated information.
We apologize for the inconvenience.

Alex: IMHO...Your first rig, you should not buy a rig built primarily for portable operation...
Now if your interest is operating away from your primary station location...then that is another whole dimension of the hobby...
It is fun stuff but is a whole different set of skill sets to operation.
Operation from home location vs portable or mobile are all different learning skills IMHO.
I would suggest concentration on the one that offers you the most interest.
Then expand from there, just a suggestion from an Old-timer who has done all of that and understands the differences in thought process to be successful at any of these aspects to the HUGE hobby.

All the Best
Gary/W9FNB

PS: EXTRA Class...you gain roughly only 2% more operational space. Go for it, if you feel the need.
I have been a General since 1984(still enjoy the hobby) .
I have thought about Extra here of late but will see where it goes.
@69 yrs old...the mind forgets quicker than it learns!!!!
:ROFLMAO::(:LOL:
 
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w9cll

W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member
Jan 19, 2013
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While my heart is in the right place, just saying you are going for an Extra license offends some
Please don't read my message wrong, I am not offended by your desire to become an extra. I was merely stating facts of recent times. The amateur hobby is vast there are a lot of options to satisfy everyone. Get a good radio setup and enjoy the hobby but there is no rush to advance. The extra license offers little advantage over the general, you have a bit more band space that's all. The jump to general over tech is a far greater leap. Enjoy what the hobby has to offer, I have been a ham for 30+ years now and I have enjoyed every minute.
 
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Moleculo

Ham Radio Nerd
Apr 14, 2002
9,052
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I have a KX3, one of the first kits delivered. I have used it both at home, fixed portable as an rv station, and backpack portable. It is a very goid rig and easy to use. I also subscribe to the official elecraft reflector where there are many people using them with an amp of some type as their primary HF station. I have also used the KXPA-100amp with the tuner and it is excellent, as well.

The only compromise with this rig is that it only has one each speaker and mic jack. If you plan on doing a lot of digital, you may want to use some type of switch box for those to switch the pc input/output inline.
 
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RedRiverII

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@w9cll, I did not feel offended, you said it in a most pleasant manner. I've seen the harsh comments elsewhere. Pleasure to meet you, and I look forward to a most accommodating relationship.

@BJ radionut, I trust and respect your word. I'm cruising and surfing and futzing around with all these radios. I'll make a decent decision when the time comes, but for now I'm doing the best I can. Considering an HOA and the rule book, which I do not have yet, portable may, that's maybe, the way to go. I do want to hit Europe and other countries. Obtaining the Extra is merely a brain teaser, a serious amount of reading and memorizing. I want a base station. I want a shack so I need a good base unit. I have a about forty days before I decide and in that time I'll know a lot more than now. Good looking out Gary
 

RedRiverII

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@H1driver, IDK, fist off I'm not especially interested in either, but if I were I'd like to know several facts about coon and/or fox hunting. No sense in bringing the wrong equipment. I am sure in either case several hundred dollars in non returnable goods are involved. Once I know the correct equipment I might even go a bit further and examine both pursuits. I learned I can't know new things until I do a bit of investigation. I've gone off half cocked more than once in my life and while it isn't necessarily a tragedy, precious time and goods are better spent after some research.
 

Riverman

Old Member
Nov 12, 2013
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That might be tricky considering your antenna limitations.

Just need a homemade 1/4 wave antenna with a single wire radial. :p

Sorry, Mike. I just couldn't resist. :D It' s all in good fun.

We both know it depends on conditions, and the fella on the other end having a great antenna helps, but I'm making there. And to Canada, Costa Rica, South America . . .

This will be my only post on the subject here as I don't want to hijack RRII's thread.
But you are entitled to a comeback jab if you so wish. (y)
 
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RedRiverII

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I'll choose and get a rig just after March 1st. Do the waterfalls on for instance Icom 7300 mean anything special, or just showing nearby activity on the freq. vs a dial displaying the current freq.?

@sp5it, Within reason I can use whichever antenna I want as long as I can take it down when I'm finished. I did find out I can have a satellite dish installed. I've seen a dish with a rectangular antenna within the dish itself. The fellow scooped out some dish material and a loop type antenna installed. A covert endeavor hidden in plain site. I'm sure HRCC had the video. So far in my mind I've chosen the 781, Icom 7300, Yaesu DX10---FT-991A, Elecraft KX3 but perhaps the KX4 or maybe the KX3 but more likely the KX4 if Elecraft at all. The there's that sweetheart of a deal the 7851 you recommended that was a smidge over my 5K budget. Antenna likely to be an attic dipole to begin with. I've seen that rig pick up Ireland from Florida.

I'm wondering if there are folks who will figure and install an attic antenna professionally?
 

WECSOG

Sr. Member
Jan 1, 2020
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IC718 is a good rig at a good price. I would go for the FT-991A, though. That gets you 6M, 2M and 70cm as well as HF. And I'm a long time Yaesu fan.
Don't scrimp on the power supply, either. Astron makes some really good ones. I have this one: https://www.dxengineering.com/parts/asr-rm-50m-bb
It has connections for a deep cycle battery; then if the power goes out it automatically switches to battery power. The power supply keeps the battery charged, but you could also put a solar panel on the roof with a charge controller to recharge the battery during extended outages.
You don't necessarily need an amplifier, and in fact in a neighborhood with an HOA it could bring more grief than benefits.
BJ Radionut has some good comments about antennas, but I will add that a vertical HF antenna is not the best idea because of noise pickup. I would try to put up a horizontal loop antenna and feed it with an antenna tuner. Maybe one of these: https://www.dxengineering.com/parts/mfj-998rt
The best low profile way to do it is to run a single wire around the perimeter of your lot. Even if it's only 6 or 8 feet up, it will do a good job. I would use insulated, stranded wire from Lowe's or wherever, in brown or some other color that will make it hard to see. If you have a fence around the property, that will make it much easier because you can just run the wire a few feet above the fence. Most people will see the fence and won't even notice the wire.
Second best would be to run the wire around the roof, a few feet above it. Maybe extend it out around the backyard, keeping the front yard free. Even if you had to just put it on standoffs a few inches above the roof, it would still work as long as your roof isn't metal. Use wire the same color as your roof and nobody will ever notice it.

Of course you will still need antennas for 6, 2 and 440. Those can be attic-mounted verticals.
 
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  • @ BJ radionut:
    LIVE 10:00 AM EDST (y)
  • @ ButtFuzz:
    Of course the 1st day it is nice outside and I go plop the true Rod Of God for 20m on the mobile, All I hear is a couple of yokels talking about bowel movements. What's the 6m calling freq? 50.125?
  • @ ButtFuzz:
    The true Rod of God.