K9TCF - - - K9JMF
Several years ago I felt the need to get back into Amateur Radio. I had had a ticket when I was a teenager and had let it lapse as I went through my "aviation phase". The aviation never went away, but I eventually got back into ham radio. This time however, JoAnne studied too and we both obtained current licenses. The FCC's allowing of amateurs to pick their own callsigns allowed us to combine our dog interests, initials and ham radio!
Our station is composed of several pieces of equipment but the center is a Yaesu FT101ex with matching components. An FR101 receiver, FV101b vfo, YC601 digital display, YO100 scope and a Landliner Phone Patch. The audio is filtered through a Timewave Y59 dsp in an SP5 speaker and all this is coupled to a Kam TNC for decoding through the computer. There is also a 2m packet station also running through the Kam from an Alinco 1200. Our antenna is a GAP vertical in the back yard. Most of this stuff is old and still uses tubes but it works and I kinda like old stuff anyway. For our mobile communication we have a pair of Yaesu FT8500 dual band mobiles. We communicate around the area through one of several public use repeaters and with local linking can talk to home areas through other local repeaters. When we camp out in our RV we set up one mobile to use as a repeater so we can communicate with our HT530 and HT470 dual band handhelds. Ain't technology wonderful?
Amateur Radio is a lot of fun and now you can break in without having to learn code. You can take the knowledge exam for a technician license and get a "no code" ticket. You are of course restricted to certain frequencies unless you have passed a 5 wpm code test which opens it up a little. To gain access to more frequencies you must continue to higher classes of licenses. The next step up from the Technician license is the General. This ticket gives you access to the major HF bandwidths used for long distance communication but does require you to pass the 5 word per minute code proficiency test. The good news is that with a "no code" technician license you can still operate on the frequencies that allow communications with satellites and even the Space Shuttle!
Following are a couple of links to Amateur Radio, click on the logo's:
The American Radio Relay League is the national organization that represents the amateur radio operators in the United States. They provide technical expertise and regulatory advice to the Government to defend the rights of Amateur Radio and the passing of new regulations to promote the hobby.
As you can tell, Yaesu is my choice of equipment for radios. There are plenty of manufacturers making solid quality equipment and you would be hard put to find any junk in an extremely competitive market. It just seems that when I was in a fever to buy something new, Yaesu had what I was looking for and I had prior experience with their support and service. I've never had any regrets on my choices.
One very cool digital signal processing unit! If you've ever listened to short-wave radio, you remember the squeals and chirps that made listening difficult. The 59Y uses computer technology to filter out all the garbage and leave you with a cleaner signal. It works so well at times it's spooky.
My KAM is a multi mode TNC that not only operates my packet station on 2 meters but also on HF. It can decode and transmit RTTY, CW, AMTOR and PACTOR. My only experience is with this unit but it's been reliable and meets my needs without exception.
MFJ is one of those manufacturers that makes a lot of the accessory stuff you need but is always hard to find. Meters, tuners, antennas and such is their strong point and I don't think there's a ham shack out there that doesn't have MFJ products in it. I use a couple of packet accessories and they manufacture TNC's as well.
I first met these people at a Hamfest and I purchased my first 2 meter radio from them. I have since bought all my mobiles from them and I have found them to be friendly, helpful and price competitive. They carry a full service line of products.
I have also done business with this group and also find them friendly, helpful and price competitive. I picked up my Timewave 59Y from them. They produce a great catalog with prices and include closeout items as well as gently used equipment.
HRO is one of the biggest and matches the two above for friendliness and service. I've purchased stuff from them but never anything big. Mostly timing, not anything negative about them. Will continue to do business with them in the future....
Where do you go to buy low loss coax and connectors in your town? Here, there's no place to go. These guys have given me great service and met my needs in a timely manner. All types of coax and wire with any connectors you can imagine. Do it yourself or custom made cables are all in this companies vocabulary. Give 'em a try.
This page was last updated 01/26/2003