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10 Meters in Far Off Places for Fun

Posted: Thu May 14, 2015 2:33 pm
by DennisDawg
So, I was a thinkin! I only have UHF/VHF Mobil in my rig and no plans for upgrading that. I do have an HF setup I can drag out in an Action Packer and set up with a plethora of wire antenna and supports and . . . . but that is often time consuming.

One can pick up used mobile 10 meter rigs cheap, like the old Radio Shack ones for SSB. Without much of an antenna one should do OK in some places . . . on the right day . . in the right year . . . and not spend much.

Like say you were up near Cerro Gordo, looking out at Vegas and farther east . . . maybe it would be fun? And, with a used radio and an antenna, be in for maybe 100 bucks for a toy.

Thoughts?

Re: 10 Meters in Far Off Places for Fun

Posted: Thu May 14, 2015 3:27 pm
by DaveK
Well.... altitude is your friend and with a good setup, you can do wonders. The hitch, of course is "what is a good set-up"?

There are way too many examples of people who did not spend a fortune on their equipment, and who use very little power, to communicate around the world. Used equipment can be an excellent choice, but it carries some risks. The $100.00 price range may be tough to meet, but possible.

There are a lot of radios that will fit the bill and the one that comes to my mind is the Yaesu 8900. It's history of reliability, ruggedness, and performance is second to none. With a "big Stick" antenna (single band) you can do exactly as you mentioned. As a side benefit, it can double as your VHF/UHF rig while giving you the option to to do 10 meters and 6 meters. Although this set-up may not meet the $100.0 price target, it can come close, depending on the deal you can find on used equipment. AND, Yaesu is still making and servicing this rig.

Let us know how it turns out.

Re: 10 Meters in Far Off Places for Fun

Posted: Thu May 14, 2015 10:13 pm
by cruiserlarry
I agree with Dave - while you can always make do with a very inexpensive set-up, it might be worth some extra expense to spend less time getting everything to work well together.

There are dedicated 10 meter rigs like the Ranger and Galaxy units, which were often hacked by CB'ers for their better construction and higher power output, usually can be found cheap, but I think Dave's suggestion of the FT8900R is a better idea.

More important is the quality and ease of use of the antenna you choose; by yourself, in a field situation, stringing up an antenna can be a daunting task, as you mentioned - so you are likely going to need an antenna that is light, simple, and functional, which may not be available upping your budget as well.

Whatever you choose, it sounds like you'll have a great time chasing DX....

Re: 10 Meters in Far Off Places for Fun

Posted: Sun May 17, 2015 8:09 pm
by DennisDawg
I picked up an HTX10..old but enough for SSB. Iwill build a few antennas and see what works. I need to test and see what value there is in it but so far .right around 100. I can test in Big Bear for altitude and see what I can do up high.

I like doing HF far away but setting up all the wire antennas for it, as I have it anyway, takes some fun out of it. I have gotten lazy and seldom even set up a tent anymore! Maybe this will be something....or nothing....could go either way....

Something to play with while I get my truck squared away again.

Re: 10 Meters in Far Off Places for Fun

Posted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 2:26 pm
by DennisDawg
Well, I tested the HTX10 and it works just fine. I have a ham stick kind of knock off antenna for it and a CB style mag mount for that. I need to put Power Pole connectors on the radio and a power source, likely cigarette lighter. The goal isn’t to drive around, just go up high and see if it works. I might toss it together and test from a high spot in Big Bear this weekend if I have time, SSB to the land below.

I know it is not the best time in the solar cycle and all but, just something to play with that cost little and one can sell if it is not fun!

At least the truck is all together again, having replaced the ball joints and control arm bushings this past weekend as its last big spring project. Rides like new!

Re: 10 Meters in Far Off Places for Fun

Posted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 3:03 pm
by DaveK
DennisDawg wrote:Well, I tested the HTX10 and it works just fine. I have a ham stick kind of knock off antenna for it and a CB style mag mount for that. I need to put Power Pole connectors on the radio and a power source, likely cigarette lighter. The goal isn’t to drive around, just go up high and see if it works. I might toss it together and test from a high spot in Big Bear this weekend if I have time, SSB to the land below.

I know it is not the best time in the solar cycle and all but, just something to play with that cost little and one can sell if it is not fun!

At least the truck is all together again, having replaced the ball joints and control arm bushings this past weekend as its last big spring project. Rides like new!

Be careful with CB style mag mounts! Some of them are not made to handle the power that Ham radios can produce.

Re: 10 Meters in Far Off Places for Fun

Posted: Thu Jun 04, 2015 4:31 pm
by DennisDawg
DaveK wrote:Be careful with CB style mag mounts! Some of them are not made to handle the power that Ham radios can produce.
The radio can only do 25 watts, the antenna is for 10m and rated for much higher wattage, and the mag mount is just a base (most are rated for 100w or more) I have laying around. My concerns are not the electronics end, but more if there is anyone to talk to on 10m with my 100 buck plan. When 10m was open I did well with my HF setup, but now and with just 25w . . . we shall see. I am not sure I will have time to get is squared away before heading up The Hill tomorrow.

I have a 20m plan also, but haven't done more than think about that one. That one would be "truckless."

Re: 10 Meters in Far Off Places for Fun

Posted: Thu Jun 11, 2015 9:22 am
by DennisDawg
Well, using the old Radio Shack HTX10 and the mag mount stick antenna, in what must have been some grey line propagation, I got CA3LMO, Santiago Chile from Crystal Cove State Beach, Newport, CA on 10 meters, SSB with 25 watts and a 5 5 signal report! It works, and not bad for 5500 miles on about 130 bucks.

Admittedly, this solar cycle is not the best time to play 10 meter, but that it works at all is a good thing . . . Locally from that location though I could not check into the OCARC 10 meter net (28.375). The Net Control is normally a station in Orange. There are some hills and stuff but I was surprised it didn’t work better. I will try from a new location is a few weeks.

I might take it to Monache Meadows at the end of the month. I might take my usually HF stuff also. I have not decided. That is a contest weekend (Field Day) so the air waves might be too busy to have any fun but it might be good for a test . . . or not . . .could go either way.