Posts Tagged ‘FT847’

The shack makeover starts

June 8, 2011

If you remember back to a previous posting I was planning to change out some gear in the shack….  Well that process has started and heres what has happened so far…

My FT847 has been sold and will most likely replaced by a Yaesu FT450 as I scour the swap nets looking for a good deal on one…  My FT897 will take over as my Home HF Rig till I find a FT450 and then will become my VHF/6m rig. 

As far as antennas go I will be taking down the W3EDP and replacing it with a vertical for 10-20m or 10-40m depending on whats available locally and I am also going to stretch out some wire which will be fed by the FC40 auto tuner which works with the FT897 and will work with the FT450 when I finally get it.  I have also picked up a 2m loop and a 6m loop.  Both loops are made by KB4AB

Above picture shows both loops

I am going to be mounting both loops on a telescopic masting that will get both antennas just above roof height when in use but well below roof height when not in use to keep the neighbors and landlord happy…  I will keep a 2m JPOLE on a short (10 foot) mast for the local repeaters with the FT2900 and I have a discone type antenna I will have up for APRS.

With some luck the loops should be installed in time for this weekends VHF Contest…(June 11-12)

In addition my FT857 is leaving on Wednesday for a test drive and as it works great should be leaving the collection shortly….  I am still concidering the new Elecraft KX3 early next year once I find out if they work as smooth as they look…

I really like some of the specs and features of this new rig and if anything could convince me to put the FT817 on the shelf it might be this one…

I’ll try to update you on how things are going as they get going…

73bob

 

QRP- Doing more with less

October 19, 2010

Now thats a catch phrase we have heard many times over the last 10 years or so… QRP seems to be catching on these days…

When I bought my FT817 about 8 years ago, I bought it because it was a all band, all mode (70cm, 2m, 6m, 10m, 12m, 15m, 20m, 30m, 40m, 80m, 160m ) radio that had a lower cost than the FT100 or the FT847 which were the only two other Yaesu Radios at the time that had the “all mode/all band” capabilities.

.

Above Left FT847 and Above Right FT100 (Pics courtesy Rigpix)

QRP… I figured on using it for a RCVR and then buying a small amp for transmitting…

One day when I took “Toby” out to a parkland area for his daily romp I decided to turn it into a picnic and I brought my newly purchased FT817 along with a small booster pack and my Field Day 40m dipole and see what it could do.

If your memory takes you back in time to when 40m was the band to be on with great close in conditions you will smile about the following…

We got to the park around 10am and went for the walk that Toby wanted…  Once we got back I strung out the dipole and plugged the radio into the booster pack and heard plenty of signals with stations all being 5/9 (no contest) and we had Hawksbury to the East, and Windsor to the west with everything else in between…  I was hearing and talking to everyone…  Some commented on my signal being down but everyone could hear me…  It was fantastic…  Low noise…. good signals (not great signals) but good signals….

Well Toby and I finally got home around 5pm and we had a fantastic day in the park…  That was the start of many more to come…

Since then I have found the FT817 to be a fantastic rig for portable operations.  There is not that much I can do with the FT897 with 100w and a heavy battery that I can’t do with the FT817 with 5w and the very light SLA Battery.

Many people have said its all in the antenna… and for the most part they are right.  I have tried many different styles of verticals, dipoles and loops since then and with the exception of a tower and beam its hard to beat a full size antenna stretched out as it was intended to be.

The loaded portables like the Buddipoles, Buddisticks,  MP1’s and Hamantenna CN32  are fantastic antennas and allow you to travel light and compact but its hard to beat a 1/4 wave dipole at a 1/4 wave above the ground.  But that only works if the trees cooperate…

However I can get my Buddistick up and running in about 5 minutes and normally it takes longer than that to get the dipole untangled…

This allows me to spend more time on the air than spending time to get on the air…

I have also operated with the G5RV antenna (shorty and full size but not the 160m version) and I found it great with good signal reports being given.  The home brewed 10- 80m windom did great for Field Day a couple of years ago from my trailer in Cornwall Ontario.  Recently on King Mountain the W3EDP did a fantastic job strung about 7 feet above the ground and in previous locations its done just as well…

The key elements of the G5RV, Windom and W3EDP is all wire…  They are what we would call multiband antennas (with a tuner in some cases) but they do work on various frequencies…

Once again its hard to go wrong with lots of wire stretched out…

Now remember my comments on the antenna is based on operating portable…  Sitting at a picnic table in the rain, huddled under a tarp passing NTS Traffic or just checking into various HF nets…  I don’t chase DX and its a matter of record that I operate Portable QRP because the battery weighs less.  There is less noise in the park…  I can stretch out a better antenna in the park…

Now lets look at established DXer who suddenly swaps out the mega station for a Flex Radio SDR QRP Rig and see how he is doing….

This one seems smaller than my FT 817

Take a look at VE3HGs Blog and look back through his recent postings on how he has added the Flex 1500 QRP Software Defined Radio to the shack and how good it is working for him.  Yes a great deal of it is the antennas, and no doubt years of DXing skills and good operating practices come into play but he is making DX contacts with 5w…

So here you have both ends of the spectrum so to speak…  I’m sitting in the bush making QRP SSB contacts with wire hanging off trees…  Peter is sitting in the shack working towards QRP DXCC…

The common elements are making contacts and doing it with QRP.  So toss out an antenna, break out the gel cell battery and make some contacts…  If you don’t get on the air then I have to talk to myself…

Even in a contest I’m willing to bet that the signal report your recieve when your are operating QRP will be a solid 5/9

73bob

Thursday so far…

October 7, 2010

The day started on an early note (waking up at 6am was not planned) but once it happened why not eh!…

I headed down into the shack and started plodding away on a multitude of computer related items including this post and a large quantity of emails both incoming and outgoing…

The tedium of paperwork was broken by a phone call from Doug VE3DLJ who was heading into Ottawa and wanted to see if I had time for Timmies…  Well we know the answer to that one and when I headed up the stairs I got greeted by a fantastic sunny (as in NO RAIN) day.  I walked over to Tims and met Doug and we were joined by Mike VA3MJB and we had a good chat.  All good things must come to an end so we went our seperate ways with myself returning to the basement to continue my chores

While slaving away over the keyboard I fired up the FT 847 and heard John VE3CAK controlling the hour for ONTARS. Hearing anyone on 80m at noon is a bit of a shock and the even bigger shock was that he heard me…  We managed a few minutes of catching up and conversation before he returned to the task at hand which was being the Net Control Station.

The paperwork is finally finished and as the weather is still sunny so right now the plan would be to take the FT817 for a walk over to Weston Park and stretch out the recently contstructed W3EDP antenna for a while.  Or I could just be lazy and rest up before I head over to the OVMRC Executive Meeting at the museum tonight…  Decisions….Decisions…

73bob

Monday am update

August 9, 2010

Well this weekend has not been the best for me radio wise although the rest of things was not that bad…

As far as the radio situation goes…  The home station will have to be completely re built from scratch…  Over a year ago I managed to get a long wire over the roof of the house and ran it between a tree in the front yard and the maple in the rear yard.

The cloth rope (chosen for its stealth coloring) that supported the antenna wire in the maple tree has fallen victim to the elements and broke when I was trying to adjust the wire to work in conjunction with the FT897/FC40 combination.  The weighted line that I ran over the tree branch will have to be re thrown but it will not be an easy task as the branches now have leaves on them as compared to last spring when it was done last…

So now I have to get a new support rope up to get the long wire (inverted L or W3EDP) so its not sitting on the roof.   The bigger problem with doing this is not to draw attention to oneself while this is happening.  I have to be stealthy at the same time…  Last time it was done in the daytime when the kids were at school and the neighborhood was like a ghost town.  With the kids out of school for another month we have more pedestrian traffic here than at Times Square…  This will be an issue but will get done…

While we are trying to re string the wire…  I will be heading over to the residence of VA3GFD and installing the FT847 and LDG Auto tuner (the one I suspect as being blown) on his antennas (vertical and inverted L) just to confirm whats working and whats not at my end.  We will use his antennas, patch cords and feed line to try and confirm what I suspect as an issue at my end.  But its better to test before replacing or at least its cheaper to say the least.

When I mentioned in my last post of taking a backwards step it was because before I got the FT847 I was using  a  FT897 in conjunction with the FC40 Auto Tuner with an inverted L antenna.  Actually the L was more like an end fed inverted V with a series of counterpoises but outside of the noise level it did work good.  The 847 along with a change to the W3EDP worked well and when I installed the Timewave ANC 4 it seemed to finally all come together as a decent (not great but decent) system.

Now about 16 months later (once I get the new support rope in the tree) I will be back to the FT897/FC40 till I get a new tuner for the FT847.  Not sure if I should go for one of the LDG Tuners which I really like or as the W3EDP is fairly close to 50 ohms without a tuner look for a used FC20 Tuner which was marketed as being the tuner of choice for the FT847.

Timing and budgets will determine this I guess…  Do you have any opinions???  I realize that most of the Yaesu Auto Tuners are a bit limited and best used to extend bandwidth but it might be nice to have a matching tuner for the rig…

Anyways so there you have it…  Step 1 is test out the old gear…  Step 2 is re install the support ropes for the wire antenna…  Step 3 is replace whatever needs to be replaced so I can get back on the air…

I should be fairly busy in the background for the next little while…

73bob


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 913 other followers