AF5LL Amateur Radio Station

Most of my Ham equipment is "vintage." Actually most of it is just flat old, boarding on a boat anchor. I'll be adding photos and specs for those of you who don't recognize the old models.


This is the one catagory that is mostly new. When I got my Tech license in Jan 2013 after being out of ham radio since oh... about 1990 I found the Icom IC-2AT handheld was woefully out of date. Back in 1990 mostly no one used a PL tone. Now, it's hard to find a repeater that doesn't. The IC-2-AT still worked but no PL tone capability. For the cost of adding tone capability I bought a Dual Band Baofeng UV-5R handheld with programmable channels, dual band monitoring, and 3 more watts thamn my IC-2AT. At about $50 landed from eBay, it was a deal. I would do it all over again. Great little radio. Handhelds are handy but not very capable for long haul. I got a Kenwood TM-281 60Watt 2m mobile to fill out my VHF UHF tools. Also got some obosleted commercial radios and re-programmed them down into the ham bands. I got 2 Kenwood UHF TK-840 mobiles and they support ham band and GMRS. (Yes I got the GMRS license). Some Maxon VHF radios are awaiting conversion to 2m.

Antennas for VHF/UHF include the N9TAX J-Pole in initially had at the house. It worked fine. Later it was relegated to portable ise, and a Comet GP-3 sits on top my 55ft tower. At the office I have on a pushup pole 2 dual band antennas. Both are by Edison Fong and are project antennas. I bought them, then mounted them inside pvc for a rigid vertical antenna. One is just a dual band j-pole, while the other is a UHF designed for GMRS but has low swr and good gain on amateur band also. They look commercial, but are low cost and at least partially homebrew. Both are based on his articles published in QST.

HF Radios and Gear

My best find was packed away in a storage semi-trailer we affectionately call the "East Wing." Years ago I put radios in cardboard boxes and sealed them up. When I dug the Icom IC-720a out, connected it to a similarly packed 25a linear power supply, it fired up and works flawlessly. A Yaseau FT-901 beefy tuner was connected to run my homebrew 6-40m end fed wire antenna. I dug out an old Swan 350-D tube HF rig, but have not connected it.

I traded a few months later for a Kenwood TS-430S with original PS, MC-60 desktop mic, MFJ versa tuner, Navy straight cw key, and MFJ keyer. It was a good trade for a computer system, and both of us are happy. This will be my emergency / portable rig using hamstick dipoles on a tripod for NVIS operation on multiple bands.

It's a slow go building my station. I love to trade, and of course, would trade again in a heart beat computer gear for radio gear.

Lots more to follow... and pics.

updated 16-Aug-2013