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Old 03-06-2008, 03:18 AM   #1
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We broke down and purchased a new portable rig this week...

a while back a came across an FT757GXII on ebay, and thought it would be nice to have a second station in the MH away from the driver seat, but at the big desk we installed. I found we both liked it there, and used it a lot.

The 757 is a great radio, but... has some limitations. I got the itch for a Yaesu FT-897.

Sold the 757 on eBay and just got the 897 yesterday!

So far I like it. It is a lot like the 857, but in a bit bigger package, which makes it a bit easier to use. I really like the ability to run it off it's own internal batteries. I can see some cool portable opps this summer!

I also decided on the LDG tuner for it. So far I am pretty impressed, this thing will almost match a wet kite string! Even through the bands aren't the best I did make one contact in Cali, on 17meters! From STL I was kinda impressed.

Now... Ideas for portable antennas!

John
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Old 03-06-2008, 03:18 AM   #2
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We broke down and purchased a new portable rig this week...

a while back a came across an FT757GXII on ebay, and thought it would be nice to have a second station in the MH away from the driver seat, but at the big desk we installed. I found we both liked it there, and used it a lot.

The 757 is a great radio, but... has some limitations. I got the itch for a Yaesu FT-897.

Sold the 757 on eBay and just got the 897 yesterday!

So far I like it. It is a lot like the 857, but in a bit bigger package, which makes it a bit easier to use. I really like the ability to run it off it's own internal batteries. I can see some cool portable opps this summer!

I also decided on the LDG tuner for it. So far I am pretty impressed, this thing will almost match a wet kite string! Even through the bands aren't the best I did make one contact in Cali, on 17meters! From STL I was kinda impressed.

Now... Ideas for portable antennas!

John
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Old 03-06-2008, 03:49 AM   #3
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John congrats on the new rig.

Is the LDG tuner powered from the 897?

As for antennas and as you know there is a whole bunch of different types that can be suitable for portable operations.

With our motorhome I have used Inverted V's, single band ground plane antennas, and even a "slinky" hung up as a dipole. I carry various precut wire dipoles ready with insulators, etc. I also have the "slinky" ready too. Currently I am using a Tarheel Screwdriver antenna mounted on the ground with an 8 element ground plane system. It works quite well and I have worked about a 100 DX stations from the motorhome. I was able to work the recent Ducie Island Dxpedition last month. See my photos in the photo section.

Keep us posted on your experiences with the 897. How about a photo of your set up too.

73
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Old 03-06-2008, 04:52 PM   #4
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Flytyer,

The LDG is powered from the CAT jack on the back of the 897. They also put a passthrough jack on the back of the LDG. I choose this since the FC-30 got Scathingly bad reviews and is really ineffective.

So far the LG is pretty good. It beat my FC757AT hands down with speed, and so far the matching has been pretty decent. I do wish LDG would have attempted to use the logic in the 897D to make it work, but it does work just fine the way it is.

Even with the bands totally messed up I did make a contact in CA last night on 17m.

I posted a pic on our blog tonight...

Right now for an antenna on the VHF/UHF port I have a dual band mag mount sticking on a power box outside. Works find for local FM stuff. The HF side I have a full wave 40 meter end fed strung between two phone poles. We have a unique situation here since it is basically a paved lot. I don't want/can't do ground radials, and don't have much room to string up dipoles....

The ground mounted screwdriver sounds like a cool idea, but again... radials...

On my 857 that I have mounted up front I have an ATAS 120. I am not thrilled with it's performance, but it does tune 40-2 and does work, but it is a major compromise.

I saw an article a while back in a QST about an RVer who made a loop mounted to the roof of his trailer, now I can't find that article. I thought it was a cool idea at the time, but at the time I wasn't in HF...


John
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Old 03-09-2008, 06:03 AM   #5
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Moder2 I remember the article. I will try to find it and forward it to you.

I found another QST article from 1969. It is quite old, but there are some good ideas. I have emailed it to you.

Some screwdriver antenna users have had some good luck on a motor home or travel trailer. I did not get the performance I expected. It worked, but not as good as what I get with the ground mounted configuration.

A friend uses a screwdriver antenna mounted on his motor home ladder and attaches a 80 foot ground wire and stretches it out around and under the motor home on the ground. He gets very good results. I have done this also and it works really good.

I am sure you will try different combinations and since you move around a lot you will end up with various antennas to fit the location you stop at.

I checked your photo in the blog...nice rig and I like the compactness of the LDG tuner.

Where in the motor home do you have it installed?
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Old 03-09-2008, 03:31 PM   #6
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Thanks for the article! Dated, but fun to read.

I wish the ARRL would put all the QST's online... I searched the database and couldn't find that article with the 40 meter loop, I swear is was in the last year or so though? Ugh.

I have th ATAS120 for the 857, which it does work, but it is a big compromise, and it doesn't tune above 40. I thought about a big screwdriver, but they are pretty cost prohibitive, and I really would have a hard time spending that kind of coin for another compromise... I really don't want to mount anything to the ladder since it would impede my ability to use the ladder.

I like to fiddle, and wire antennas are cheap to build and fun to play with... But, I would like to have something that I knew would just work, and was easy to setup, which probably means I should just cut a dipole for each band and roll them up for when I want them...

At a Hamfest i came across a Solorcon A99 a couple months ago, and grabbed that for $15.00 with hopes that it would work on at least 10 and 20. The 757 didn't like it much at all. The new rig seems to respond better to it. The LDG will tune it up through 75, and it even works better than my makeshift end fed wire. I should say it doesn't pickup near the noise and I can actually hear people with it! For a no ground radial vertical only 5 feet off the ground, mounted on a fiberglas pole in a bucket of cement, I was pretty happy with it! The LDG rocks, I am amazed at how well it works compared to the Yaesu FC757AT... I also like the way it mounts and how it is "Part of the rig". I do wish LDG would have spent some time and made it look more like the FC-30, and function with the Tune control in the radio, but I guess you can't have everything...

Shortly after we bought the motor home we knew we needed to add a workspace for computers and such. We ended up with a full size office desk on the passenger side of the coach just behind the co-pilot seat. I just have the rig on top of my old Astron Power Supply on the right side of the desk. I'll have to put it somewhere safe for travel, but the big reason I got this radio was for portable use. I have the 857D mounted up front next to my left knee. I thought at the time that would be a great spot for it, and it is when moving, but for stationary use it is hard to get at the controls and see the dial. I didn't want to relocate it because I have become pretty used to it there for mobile use...

So, the 897 is my Sit by the campfire rig, and my desktop rig. I just ordered a cable to cat control and the data cable... I want to try some PSK31 and RTTY.

Sorry for getting so long winded!

John
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Old 03-09-2008, 05:00 PM   #7
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Ah HA! Found it!

It's in March 07 QST
"John Portune, W6NBC Compact 40 Meter HF Loop for Your Recreational Vehicle."

Now, Just gotta find a March 07 copy of QST...

Off to the library tomorrow!

John
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Old 03-10-2008, 03:51 AM   #8
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I am happy you found the article. I did not.

If the library does not have the QST, you can order a photocopy of the article from ARRL.
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Old 03-11-2008, 04:33 PM   #9
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Just an update:

I emailed W6NBC, and he sent me a Word Doc of it. It is the article I assume before editing for QST.

If anyone wants it let me know!

John
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Old 03-12-2008, 05:55 AM   #10
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Moder2 please email me a copy.

Thanks.
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