All Things HF: August

 

Breaking News: The Northern California DX Foundation (NCDXF) has announced that they will be contributing $100,000 to the Bouvet Island DXpedition. I’m proud to be a contributing member to the foundation.

The first thing I needed to do after obtaining my novice ticket was to outfit my 1st station with an HF radio. Even though there were no HF privileges for novice licensees, I needed to become a listener of HF in order to get on the air without sounding like a lid.

So, how do you pick your entry level HF rig, well, I was a member of ARRL and received a monthly copy of QST magazine. The copy I was reading at the time was highlighting an article on the National Hurricane Center and their selection of an HF station setup. The NHC had selected Yaesu and I’m thinking ‘if it’s good enough for the NHC its good enough for me’. I didn’t give a thought to the possibility of Yaesu being the low bidder for the station’s equipment. So, I called Burghardt’s (burglar heart we used to call them) to order an entry level HF rig. My very first (there were more) rig was a Yaesu FT-840. This was a no nonsense simple, no bells, no whistles HF rig. I might mention my antenna was a vertical. Now the definition of vertical is that it radiates equally poorly in every direction so I was told by a lot of old timers.

Turns out that they were spot on with their ‘wise guy’ description but what the hey, when I received HF privileges I knew no better. Over the years the station grew with this and that plus a better radio to enhance my operating techniques. Talk about a mish mosh of peripheral items and 100 miles of wire, I had a nightmare for a radio station…something had to be done. I pulled the plug on my HF station one cold winter day and proceeded to align the equipment along with rewiring the entire station. When the project was completed, everything on my operating position was within my reach.

Wow, what a pleasure it was to sit down and call CQ. The new setup allowed me to get that DX I needed and the DX I wanted. Antennas? Yes, there are a bunch of them but…we’re discussing the operating desk. The peripheral items are so important with number one being a VSWR meter large enough to read while operating. I consider the microphone to be the second most important so I talked to the ‘guy’ who knows microphones. Bob Heil pointed me in the right direction. My new mic is a PR 781 studio quality, mounted on a boom attached to the wall. I’ve always used a foot switch for push to talk, also by Heil. If you look closely at the mic boom you’ll see a set of earphones. Do not operate without them. It’s a whole different world of quality sound that comes from the radio to your ears. Also, keeps your wife happy…she doesn’t have to listen to the other guy and his static. My earphones are also by Heil. The top rig in the photo is a Yaesu FT-950 use for CW operation only plus, it’s a stand-by radio just in case.

Below the 950 is my pride and joy and the state of the art in HF radios (today at least). Meet my Yaesu FT DX 3000. It’s really a nice rig to operate I do keep the operators manual close by…I need it! My power supply is equipped with meters telling me that my operating conditions are okay. The amplifier is a solid state Ameritron 1300 rated for 1200 watts output. My CW paddle is by Vibroplex. Last but not least is my laptop computer, I cannot operate without it. It took me almost 20 years to get my station in the shape it’s in today…don’t lose hope, everybody goes through station growth over the years and they all grow by experience.

The first thing is to know what mode you’re going to operate and so that way you can plan your station layout. I’ve named the brands I use but in no way do I recommend what you’re going to use in your station. Remember when your station is ready to go, sit down and call CQ because someone somewhere is listening for your call, don’t disappoint them. So long from Huntersville for now.

Best 73 es gud DX de Bob/WØZPE

 

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