Ic-718

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by rrog, May 9, 2007.

  1. rrog

    rrog

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    Hi, I've got a question about the IC-718. I don't know much about ham radio, but I've always wanted to get into it. I live in East Tennessee, surrounded by hills and mountains. I'd like to be able to talk with people all over the U.S. and maybe even other countries. I'm planning on getting my license soon and I don't have anything more than a shortwave radio at the present, which I listen to occasionally. The trouble with that is I can't pick up the ham channels. When I get into a new hobby/activity, I tend to go big. With that in mind, I usually try to bypass the "start-with-this-one-and-you-can-always-upgrade-later" models and go directly to the (a little) more advanced models. But I also know enough to listen to what veterans advise on the subject. So my question is, would the IC-718 be a good radio for a beginner like me?

    Someone said this radio will be the most practical radio I could ever have. I think I want to bypass the hand-held radios and at the very least, get a mobile. But from what I've heard, mobiles are limited in range, unless there's plenty of repeaters around. And I think I'd like to go with one that allows me to use the HF channels. So my inclination is to go with a base radio. I'd appreciate your thoughts on both this particular radio and the type of radio that would be best for me.

    Thanks in advance,
    rrog
     
  2. martho

    martho Guest

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    You have combined several parts of the hobby all into one question.

    1. Repeaters are usually on 2 meters and 70cm (of course there are 10m, 6m, 1.25m and above repeaters however they are not as common as 2/70) When you are in the car, most people are using 2m and 70cm FM radios to work the machines. HF from the car is a whole different ballgame

    2. An IC-718 is not going to give you access to anything above
    30MHz (ie 6m, 2m, 1.25m, 70cm etc)

    3. You will have to pass two tests to use the IC-718 other
    than a very small portion of 10m phone. At this time in
    the cycle, 10m phone has some action, but it is usually
    very brief (30 minutes a day) and unpredictable. I have
    worked ZL,VK,S9 on 10m over the last few months, but it
    it is few and far between.

    4. If you want to talk with people all over the country,
    you will need your general license.

    5. Depending on what time of day, take a listen on 40m and
    see if you can hear nets. 7258 should be strong at your
    place during the day. If you are around at night,
    anything between 3600 and 3999 should have conversations
    happening. If you are looking to hear stuff from
    outside the US, take a listen at 14195 plus/minus for
    some good DX.

    As for the IC-718, make sure you have a good understanding of what you want to do before making a purchase. Check www.arrl.org for local clubs in your area where you could meet up with some local hams to get some experience/information.

    Good luck
     

  3. FN64

    FN64 Guest

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    RROG..

    Check with these folks.. I think they're not too far from you.

    Name: LAKEWAY AMATEUR RADIO CLUB (LARC)
    Specialties: General Interest, DX, Repeater, Public Service/Emergency Comms, VHF/UHF
    Call sign: W2IQ
    Services: Help for newcomers, Entry-level classes, Higher-level classes, Other
    Address: 340 E ECONOMY RD
    MORRISTOWN, TN 37814-3327
    Contact: JAMES E SIPPRELL, K2HYQ
    Web: http://www.lakewayarc.org
    E-mail: [email protected]

    Hope this helps..

    FN
     
  4. rrog

    rrog

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    When I said I usually "go big" when I get into something, I'm not talking about just spending a bunch of money. What I mean is I have a tendency to jump in with both feet. I realize that was probably a misleading statement.

    Well, I'm glad I posted, because it's obvious I have a lot to learn! Do you think a mobile unit would be better for me? Or is that something that's going to be a subjective decision? Is there any one or two models that most people would recommend to a newbie? On another forum/thread here on GT, someone mentioned the IC T90A. I think that's a handheld, but is that a good place to start?

    I've also seen the Yaesu FT 8800R VHF/UHF Mobile Dual-Band Radio FT8800 R. It's a mobile unit. Would that be a better starting point? Or should I just get in touch with my local club and get involved that way? And lastly, what about HF from a car makes it a whole different ballgame? Is it something that simply isn't done? Is this a case where I really don't know what I'm asking, since no one expects to be able to do that?

    I know I'm asking a bunch of questions (as you've already said), but I'm looking for some guidance. I did join the Yahoo group SESPCG, but I notice there are only three members. It might be a while before they have enough people with the time to answer all of these kinds of questions.

    Again, thanks for your input. And I'm also trying to get info from other sources too, so maybe I won't keep asking the same old questions. :supergrin:

    rrog
     
  5. FN64

    FN64 Guest

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    RROG..

    You're correct that there is a lot to learn but taken in stages and exploring your particular areas of interest it isn't all that bad..

    Studying the license guide will help greatly in seeing the "bigger picture".. Theres hundreds of specialty areas in ham radio..some are: digital, satellites, sideband, AM, FM, CW, slow scan television, moonbounce & on & on..

    The technicians study guide from the ARRL will identify 'some' of these and give you all the info you need for the tech license. At that point you can explore the band & mode privileges offered to techs.

    Going up the scale to the general class license is the next step.. this will allow you to explore the HF bands and all the modes you can use there.. this is where it's at AFAIC. With the proper equipment and antennas you'll have comms across the world.. (limited only by propagation and the laws of a few countries like Iraq & N.Korea) Heres where some real learning and a lot of experimenting can be done with homemade antennas, seeing how far you can go with the least amount of power, understanding radio wave propagation & how it works & sometimes it doesn't.

    The last step is to extra class.. heres where some heavy math comes in understanding phase relationships & designing tuned circuits to do what you want them to.. Plus you get the final slice of the HF bands to work with.

    So my advice to any newcomer is to get the tech license.. Meet local hams thru clubs, see what's popular in your area.. then decide what radios will best fit your needs & budget.
    This way you don't tie up a lot of money in the hobby till you have a better understanding of whats out there.

    Everybody has different interests in ham radio so you need to find your niche before going overboard with stuff you won't use or might loose interest in.

    An ~~average setup~~ for someone with varied interests holding a general ticket would be:
    1. A base rig that does all bands & all modes and the necessary antennas.. (this would run between 800 & 2000 bux depending on the rig & antennas, new vs used etc).
    2. A mobile rig, probably dual band 2M & 440MHz with antenna. (200-500 depending on gear choices & what bells & whistles you want..a bit more if ya get into APRS)
    3. An HT for portable local use when outside, at an event, hiking etc.. (100-300 again depending on features)

    Any of the top manufacturers make good radios.. it's the AR/AK..Chevy/Ford argument as to whats best..
    Yaesu / Icom / Kenwood are the top dogs to look at.
    Also look at the used market but know what you're doing first.

    So...
    Grab the ARRL study guide:
    ARRL TECH GUIDE LINK
    Also check Amazon & your local library..
    Take some practice tests..
    QRZ PRACTICE TEST LINK
    Now if ya really..really.. want to jump in deep right now then check this site out but be warned theres about 6000 articles to chew thru & some of them are extremely technical...
    http://www.ac6v.com

    And YES.. hook up with a local club or 2 & other hams in your area.. They can best tell you what's popular for repeaters, simplex freqs & give some "hands on" help along the way.

    Always feel free to post questions here.. We'll do what we can to help you from the keyboards..

    So welcome to the world of ham radio.. dive on in..it's a lotta fun.
    Best luck & "73" <-- ham term for ya to learn!!

    FN
     
  6. rrog

    rrog

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    Great advice! Thanks for your time and I will follow your advice. I just didn't know how much I didn't know. I've been browsing a few sites and going through one of the tutorial articles (Hamquick's Technician Class). I'll be dropping in from time to time to pick your brains. Again, thanks.

    73, Newbie (rrog)


    (did i get it right?)
     
  7. FN64

    FN64 Guest

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    RROG..

    Good on ya bud.. Yes there's a lot of reading involved but the more you learn.. the more you'll want to know so it's a vicious circle:shocked:

    However the success stories make it all worthwhile. The first time you make contact with a foreign country you'll see what I mean.

    Keep us posted on progress & don't feel you're bugging anyone.. ask questions as you need to. That's why we're here.

    The 73 is in the proper context but the question remains..
    "What does it mean??"

    You'll also find.. as with many hobbies.. it has it's own language, abbreviations, lingo & etc.

    73..DE..FN..SK..QRZ?
     
  8. martho

    martho Guest

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    And lastly, what about HF from a car makes it a whole different ballgame? Is it something that simply isn't done? Is this a case where I really don't know what I'm asking, since no one expects to be able to do that?
    ========================================================================

    People operate HF mobile everyday. I operate HF mobile on a regular basis and it can be fun. I have worked 55 countries on CW over the last 3 months from the car.

    HOWEVER, HF mobile is not like throwing a simple 1/4 wave magnet mount for 2m on the car and working local repeaters. HF antennas on mobile mounts are usually very inefficient and much of the TX signal disappears as ground loss. Noise from both internal sources(alternator, fuel pump, etc) and external sources (power lines, other vehicles, businesses, etc) can be very loud and reduce your ability to hear. Since it is a disadvantage to have a short mobile antenna on most bands, except maybe 6m/10m where you could get a 1/4 wave, your RX is reduced already. Add some natural band noise, some ignition noise and the semi next to you and you can become deaf very quickly. Just because you put the HF antenna on the trunk doesn't mean it has a path to the frame of the car. Remember, something has to act as the other part of the vertical antenna.

    Many times, an extensive ground system, or at least chassis ground, is required. Some operators have to link every panel of the vehicle with braid straps to get the desired result. Many of the Ford trucks/SUVs have horrible fuel pump noise. My Explorer used to cut off when I operated on 40m CW. There are documented fixes, however this is another learning experience with HF mobile.

    Now, if you want to put a FT8800 in the car, throw on a dual band mobile antenna, you will be just fine working FM repeaters in your area. Your power connections will need to come directly off the battery so the battery can act as a filter cap for any ignition/alternator noise. You may even need to buy an additional filter to get the alternator whine out of the signal as some vehicles produce more noise than others.

    Don't be frightened about operating from the car. Just realize it's not as simple as throwing an antenna on the car and hitting the PTT.
     
  9. KG4IDA

    KG4IDA

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    I have an Icom 718 and live in E. TN. The 718 is a wonderful radio. I used it with a folded dipole for 80-10m operation. The 718 is easy to use with most functions accessable from the front panel directly. The use of nested menus is minimal. I took down my ststion last December to put on a new roof and I miss it.

    I have never used the 718 in a car. My daily commute is too short to make it worthwhile. I have also observed that getting good results from a car is not easy. I have a friend that loves doing this. After years of effort, his equipment only fails about 25% of the time when he tries to use it. To me it's just not worth the effort but if I couldn't put up a station at my house, I would feel otherwise.

    The neat thing about the HF bands is that when they are open you never know what you will hear. It might be South America one day and Europe the next. Get your license. You will enjoy it.
     
  10. FN64

    FN64 Guest

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    KG4..

    How come you can't put a station up at home?? HOAs?, wife issue? no room?? We ought to be able to get ya going with something.. Have you got Echolink? or other VOIP thats ham related??
    Let us know whats up.. maybe we can toss some ideas around.

    FN
     
  11. KG4IDA

    KG4IDA

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    I can put up a station at home. I had my station up until last December when I took the chimney mount down because I had to install a new roof. In the process I had the chimneys removed since they were the source of the leak I had. I will either put up a small rooftop tower and a small yagi (Cushcraft MA5B perhaps) or a Gap in the yard. I have a Gap titan but I fear the local kids trying to use it as a climbing tree. Plus, I would like a yagi. Either way I miss my station although I have 2m by handheld. Thanks.
     
  12. martho

    martho Guest

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    Some local guys have MA5Bs they are using. They are very narrow bandwidth, but are decent. Being a rotatable dipole on 12/17 a nice benefit over a standard tribander. If you operate both CW and phone, the MA5B is going to need a tuner if you plan to move more than 70KHz or so. 12/17 are fine as those bands are only 100KHz wide.

    If you are concerned about visibility, the cap hats on the end of the elements make the antenna very noticable.
     
  13. KG4IDA

    KG4IDA

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    I have found 17m to be the best band with my setup year in and out. I also had good luck with 10 when the bands were open. My worst band was 80m. Not because I couldn't use it but because a lot of the people using it seemed to camp on a frequency and only wanted to talk to their friends. My dipole was oriented east-west so I could count on good contacts with western states every night. I also found power really is your friend. 100 watts is good but I had use of a 600 watt amp for a while and that made it easier. Of course, a dipole is not the best set up to start with. My lot is only 75' X 150' and bisected by a power line so some tricks were required to use it.
     
  14. fowler

    fowler

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    I have had very good results with the Icom 718 with just a Van Gordan 10-40 meter grv diople and cheap MFJ travel 902 tuner and radio shack 25amp power supply. Talked Europe ,South America and most of the North America so far on 10-20-40 meters.I.ll get a 80 meter wire diople soon. Alot of bang for the $$$.