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Basic Ham Radio Operation Question

Discussion in 'General Ham Radio Discussion' started by Riverman71, Dec 7, 2017.

  1. Riverman71

    Riverman71
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    Okay, I know I made the decision to halt the pursuit of my license and remain a CB'r, (thread entitled Reversing Course) but I'm getting so forgetful these days I might wake up some morning and not remember that decision. (n) Anyway, I have a question if you don't mind sparing a few minutes on a waffler.

    A CB has buttons for NB and ANL. Most ham rigs have IPO, ATT, AGC, NB, DNR, Notch Filters, IF Shift, and more and most are adjustable. I basically understand what each does (except for AGC) and want to know, "Are you guys constantly pushing buttons and twisting knobs?" It was all very overwhelming to me and one of the main reasons I raised the white flag.


     

  2. tba02

    tba02
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    Nope. After some initial setup, I may adjust NR settings and RF gain on occasion, and I may toggle ATT/PRE, but on a normal day the power on and frequency knob are all I use regularly.
     
  3. binrat

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    Once set, volume, off/on, vfo is about it for me. That's normally done at a mountain top as right now I only do SOTA.
     
  4. Captain Kilowatt

    Captain Kilowatt
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    I agree with the above comments. most menu settings are set-and-forget but there are some that need to be changed now and then. it's not a big deal however and really once things are set power and VFO tuning and perhaps mode are the only things that get changed very often.
     
  5. 2RT307

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    The most I do is switch between using my attenuation button vs. using my rf gain for best reception, or use my shift if someone parks too close. Like the other guys, once everything is set, I pretty much leave it alone.

    I put off getting my ticket for several years, mostly because I was lazy. :whistle: :ROFLMAO: It's been the best decision I have made... I have a ton of fun with HF and VHF/UHF!

    73,
    Brett
     
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  6. N0NB

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    IPO is just a marketing name for "RF preamplifier". Some brand purists will argue the point, but that is what it is. I rarely engage the RF preamp until I get above 20m.

    ATT is the RF attenuator which helps to keep the receiver from overloading especially on the lower bands with stronger signals. I usually have the ATT enabled on 160, 80, and 40m. If you can still hear band noise with it enabled, it's a good idea to use it.

    AGC is the Automatic Gain Control which is circuitry that attempts to present a constant audio level to the speaker over a wide range of received signal strength. Some radios only offer fast and slow AGC control. Others have a third position and still others are adjustable. CW operators often like a fast AGC and phone ops a slow AGC which prevents the noise level from rising in between syllables and such. On my FT-890 I prefer the fast AGC even on phone and would like an even faster AGC for CW. Some radios allow for turning the AGC off which is interesting. Be prepared to work the RF gain!

    NB, DNR, Notch Filters IF Shift, and others are used only when when needed. I suspect a newer op will reach for them more often than a more experienced op who will just engage the ear filters.

    The RF gain control was long under appreciated by myself, along with RF preamp and attenuator. Proper use of these controls is essential to get NB, DNR, notch, or IF Shift to respond effectively. Limiting the level of the offending noise or signal is necessary to cut the remainder as much as possible when using the feature controls.

    This is why I keep radios for a long time as it takes time to learn how well each control works under various conditions.

    Just keep playing and you'll find a combination that works for you.
     
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  7. kopcicle

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    CK and I use similar radios save for my (830) VBT. Variable bandwidth tuning. I occasionally shift or narrow the bandwidth to dig out a weak one but otherwise it's VFO , Tune load and dip. N0NB had it right .

    With my old junk you had to ride the rf gain to keep stronger signals from overloading the receiver. HW-101 is a good example. With the 142GTL the AGC is just that, automatic and I rarely had to make changes.

    The only time we (hamateurs) are knobing is us dinosaurs on tube rigs re-tuning for frequency and band and initial set up save for more fiddles on my TS-830S.
     
  8. Cold War Vet

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    riverman just like everyone above im pretty much set and forget my rig is i bit older so the frequency drifts a bit every now and then but unless i change frequency i dont move a lnob
     
  9. Riverman71

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    Thanks, all.
    Back when I was studying for my license I purchased a radio (IC-7100) and drove myself crazy fiddling with all the controls as I listened to people. I should have known it's not as complicated as I was making it. (n)

    Live and learn I guess. But for all the living I've done (soon to be 65 years) I'm pretty sure I should have learned a whole lot more than I have. o_O
     
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  10. 338_MtRushmore

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    I have a menu driven 2/440 mobile and I have no idea how to even use it. If I could sell it for a decent price I would. I very much dislike how complicated it is.

    I have a ts-940s that has 19 knobs, 54 buttons, 5 sliders and 4 switches. I can twist a few knobs and pull in some pretty faint stations. I enjoy learning what knobs do what and getting a feel for it.

    I just got a ts-120s tonight and it is nice, but there isn't much for tuning other than the vfo. Still sounds great, but you get what you get.

    It kinda reminds me of the difference between crashing a plane and a helicopter. There comes a point real quick with a plane where your fate is sealed and you can do nothing to help. In a chopper there is always something you can do to slow it down or lose less control. Sounds like a dumb analogy unless you have been there or know some who has.

    I think you just picked the wrong radio and got overwhelmed. And don't let anyone fool you, you need an amp to be heard and have fun. Its just like 11. It can be done barefoot, but it's frustrating and not much fun unless you really enjoy listening for days on end.
     
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  11. Captain Kilowatt

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    I think that once you learn just what those controls do you will find out that while they can be useful sometimes the times when they are actually needed are very few and far between.
     
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  12. Captain Kilowatt

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    Well I for one fall into the category of people he must not listen to then. I have had my ticket for 27 years and never ran more than 100 watts from the radio. The biggest antenna I even used was a three element tribander at 40 feet.Sure there are times when you won't be able to crack a pile up and there will be times when you can't be heard especially on 80m, but the only time I have sat for days on end just listening because I could not be heard were the days when I was tired of talking to the same old places again and again and didn't even bother to key the microphone. An amp is definitely an asset on 160/80m for sure but hardly a necessity on the other bands unless you want to a big DX operator.
     
  13. 338_MtRushmore

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    Just like my comment on running power, there are so many generalized comments made about ham radio. It is kind of a shock to a new operator when things don't work out as expected. I completely understand his frustration and why he threw in the towel.

    If you are running any common compromise antenna and want to play much on 80/160, you need an amp.
     
  14. jon666

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    mine i bought new. i set everything up in the menu. set it and forget it. i use the power button and vfo
     
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  15. Captain Kilowatt

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    That's why I was a bit more specific on wny you would need an amp. DXer for breaking pile ups and on 160/80m is when an amp is an asset. Rarely needed on 20m and up unless trying to crack a pile up on 14.195.

    As a side note yesterday I worked HC8LUT on San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos on 40m using 100 watts into the ground mounted Hustler 5BTV. He have me a 57. :) There was a small pile up and it took me six or seven calls to do it but most contacts don't involve pile ups.
     

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