It's nearing Field Day, so I get a lot of emails about set-up and design plans. That adds some interest to my inbox. Also, I finally see a ray of hope concerning cw. I've been wondering all year "how does one set up a station to do Morse code?" "what kind of antenna goes with this radio?" "could I do it without causing interference to my neighbors?" "how much is it going to cost?" "what kinds of accessories will I need to actually make this run?"
I met a fellow at the club down here last Saturday while setting up and testing antennas who loves cw. He has been giving me all kinds of advice and information. I am so thrilled! I finally feel like this dream of mine might happen.
I've been toying with the idea of getting a radio that can do both local and long-distance on VHF and HF. The problems have been many, but mostly cost and interference with HF (high frequency). But HF is where Morse code is done, so that is where I really want to be. Also, with HF, I could potentially chat with my home club in Milton.
I didn't think there would be a way to address these issues, but then comes along the Yaesu FT-817ND. It covers all the amateur bands, while working with low power, and a low price tag. There is an antenna included for local contacts, so I would be ready to go hit the repeaters right away! By running low power, it means that there is much less chance of causing interference on HF. At the same time, it adds an element of challenge to the rig, which I am actually kind of excited about. Challenges will make me a more skillful radio operator.
So, whenever I get a free moment, I am trying to fit some research in on the ft-817nd. It looks like it may be the one I choose. Currently, the hardest part for me is deciding on what accessories I will need to run it from here. It has a rechargeable battery pack, but I will want to run it off ac power while it is sitting on the desk. Also, I'll need a tuner for the antenna so I can move from band to band. Then, there's the filters for cw, the wire and coax cable for the antenna, and possibly a real telegraph key. And the trick is to find all of these at a single store so I don't have outrageous shipping fees from multiple companies. Whew, that is a lot to research and figure out! I guess that is one thing that makes ham radio fun - the puzzle of assembling of a custom rig. Probably no two amateur stations are exactly the same :)