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Your HF experiences?

Discussion in 'Ham Equipment' started by snakyjake, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. snakyjake

    snakyjake Member

    Nov 20, 2011
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    Please tell me about your experiences with HF (voice)?

    I need someone to test my assumption about HF. Please help me understand...

    I have a VHF radio and now considering HF. I'm having trouble overcoming a perception I have regarding HF: cost, complexity, no club support that I can see on their web page (it's all VHF and repeaters), no local non-emergency nets. The last part really bugs me...I've been looking for local nets in WA state (USA), and I don't understand why I'm not seeing nets for fishing, hunting, hiking, camping, cooking, and plenty of other subjects of interest. I'd love to gab about local fishing and hiking trail reports!

    The only thing I really hear about HF is working different bands, all the technical challenges, making QSO's, and contest.

    Are these the right assumptions?
    Please tell me about your experiences with HF? What's the appeal?



  2. Mudfoot

    Mudfoot Sr. Member

    Jun 17, 2009
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    Most hams that "hang" on local repeaters are nerds and geeks. They mostly like to gossip and talk about technical stuff.

    If you get on HF, you'll find many people with the same interests as yourself, but there will still be a bunch of geeks and nerds there as well.
    2 people like this.
  3. W5LZ

    W5LZ Crotchety Old Bastard

    Apr 8, 2005
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    The biggest differences I've found between HF and VHF/UHF is the 'size' of things it bigger too (antennas etc.). After that it's a lot like 2 meters but without the repeaters, sort of. Same sort of people with maybe more variety? If you are interested in finding people with the same interests as you have you can certainly do it. The hard part is finding them. I've run across nets that deal with building your own backyard steam rail roads, knitting, fishing, dang near literally anything.
    Cost? Well, think about it. You are talking about radios that typically cover almost a dozen bands. Of course they'll cost more. You're talking about large antennas so you'll need more 'real-estate' to be able to squeeze'em in. Usually you're talking about 100 watts, not 5 or 50 watts. And just like 2 meters, it just depends on how 'fancy' you wanna get, you know? You can find almost any mode you want except the 'wider' ones, ATV etc.
    I've done way more HF radio than VHF/UHF, in almost any mode you can think of. I'm more used to it than 2 meters. (When I started, VHF/UHF was way more expensive to 'do' than ordinary old HF.)
    Try it, you'll like it! If not, then you ain't looking in the right places, you know? Don't like it? So don't do it anymore.
    - 'Doc
    2 people like this.
  4. Radioman1

    Radioman1 W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member

    Nov 13, 2008
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    HF Experiences

    Been licensed since 1955, been on HF all that time.
    Was in the Navy as a Radioman for 26 years and during that time used HF primarily as a means from ship / shore communications.

    I use mainly C/W, as I believe it demands a certain degree of patience and also using and acquiring a skill. Much more
    challenging than keying a mic and running your pie hole.

    Ham Radio is like most anything else, you get out of it what you put into it.

    Get yourself a entry level HF transceiver and put up some dipoles or even a large loop and experience it.

    Been great for me most all my life.....Mac
  5. Lefty

    Lefty W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member

    Jan 9, 2012
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    Been a Ham for 20 years. Work a lot of HF and love it.

    In my part of the country there are more folks using repeaters than local HF chatter, most of them are not "nerds" and talk more or less like folks do on CB. I'm not talking about the foul mouth variety.

    Getting on HF is not expensive nor does it take up acres of land. A good starter rig can be had for $150-$300 (Same cost as a Cobra 2000) and an antenna can be made for next to nothing. A dipole will work the world, better yet a good ground mounted vertical!

    Ham Radio has more in common with CB than either "side" likes to admit. Both have great and knowledgeable operators, they also have their fair share of idiots who suffer from self-righteous indignation. :glare:
    Truth is you will find a lot of great people running HF and you'll have a lot of fun.

    As for local talk and club activity, that can happen if you push the issue, just like any other club, it's only as fun as the members make it.

    Bottom line, get a radio, get on the air and have fun. No matter what band or channel. :D
    2 people like this.
  6. Mr.5150cbrn

    Mr.5150cbrn Soft Senior Movement

    Oct 15, 2011
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    well take a chance .
    ask around make some contacts.
    the chitter chatter is varied across the different bands and freq's
    as stated above, hf gives what you put into it,
    quite similar to fishing.........
    just because you spent alot of $$$$$ on equipment , doesnt mean your gonna catch the trophy fish .

    but you will experience a wider aspect of the amateur experience and diversified topics and wealth's of information
    from all walks of life whether from techno geeks , to average joes
  7. wavrider

    wavrider W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member

    Jun 2, 2009
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    Very well put.

    Give HF a whirl, you will enjoy making contacts, especially the rag chews with other ops in DX locations. you will find many have the same interests as you do in different locations around the globe.
  8. ab4d

    ab4d Member

    May 12, 2011
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    Like others have said, putting together an HF station doesn't have to be expensive nor requires a large investment in antennas. The most versatile antennas are the simple half wave dipoles or full wave wire loops, they are both cheap and effective.

    The personal atmosphere on HF varies, there are a few bad apples about. If you are looking for local (local meaning 0 to 350+/- miles out) 40 and 75 meters is going to be your best bet. To start making contacts, post a few ads on the well known ham sites, that you are interested in starting a sked with others about your mutual interests of hunting/fishing/camping in the Northwest. You may find that a group may very well already exist.

    If not, you can establish a group from your internet contacts. You will need to coordinate with them to find a place and time on the band(s) for your sked. Space on 40 and 75 are prime, so careful frequency selection is necessary so you don't step on anyone's toes. Once you get on the air, and if you have good discussions, you will notice that others with the same interest will also navigate to the group.

  9. mackmobile43

    mackmobile43 Jock Supporter

    Feb 11, 2008
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    Not true

    If a Martian answers, hang up Part 1 - YouTube
  10. binrat

    binrat WDX Club Coordinator
    Staff Member

    Nov 5, 2008
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    I do mainly 10 and 75 meters HF. I find on 75, its not as much fun making contacts, but on 10 thats where I have fun. Others are right about the set-up costs etc. For me the most expensive part was the concrete for the 40' tower. I can chew the rag to people up to about 350 miles around me without turning the amp on some evening. Thats with a second hand DXCC dipole set up as a flat top @ 40' in the clear.
    As for clubs, around here there is 1 close by that has a bunch of guys that helps each other out, mostly antenna work.
  11. n0zna

    n0zna Digital master

    Nov 3, 2008
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    Get you a nice

    rci2950 or a maguam257.And make a dipole antenna.9 foot each way and trim down.I was on 10 mtr phone one day back around 1999 or so,would have to look it up I heard a station on there going 5x1t testing,he did that about five times.I said 5x1t you are sounding realy good just south of St Luois Missouri.All i was running was a rci2950 and and a antron 99 at 20 foot.So you dont need alot of power and also you dont need a expensive antenna.I have worked all states and worked all continets and just about every country with a rci2950 or the rad shack htx100,a hr2510 clone.I ran a htx100 in the car.I talked to a frend in Germany every day for yrs.Didnt have a amp.73 de n0zna
  12. office888

    office888 Active Member

    Jun 8, 2009
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    There's a lot of good nets out there.

    There's a maritime mobile net on 40m that may interest you?

    Sometimes aeronautical mobiles pop in for a bit too.
  13. 443

    443 W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member

    Sep 25, 2010
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    Ive only used 10 meters in HF so far, but I find it quite enjoyable making DX contacts to remote islands in the middle of the oceans, and other rare stations, it is fun, some good chatting going on sometimes.

    Probably a lot more chatting going on down in the lower HF bands, I have listened to some on the online receivers in different parts of the country.

    10 meters is Alot like 11 meter when there's just enough conditions to make a few contacts and you don't have 100 people trying to come back to you at once then getting po'ed and playing tones or musical toys over the channel to attempt to clear it out (won't see much of that if any on 10 meters, at least in my experience).

    I am looking forward to learning more CW so I can use it, I think it's awesome, and even though I am a General class ham and have voice privileges almost everywhere, I hear alot of the CW on 10 meters and decode it with my computer and a microphone so I can see what they are sending. Will soon be sending back. Give it a try, you might like it. Different than 2M/70cm for sure.
  14. office888

    office888 Active Member

    Jun 8, 2009
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    I do the same thing! The sweet DX stations are usually CW...Antarctica, Siberia, Arctic Islands, etc.

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