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Looking for advice on equipment for first ham shack

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Answers

  • W4WHL
    W4WHL Member ✭✭
    edited July 2016
    I was going to recommend the Anan-10e also, but didn't want to be the first :)  Many hoped Flex would release a flex-1600 type DDC QRP radio.  But they have said many times they had no plans.  So in under 100w SDR, the ANAN is king!  Also the price is right.  For ~$995 you get DDC, ethernet, and 15w, vs the 1500 soundcard, firewire, and 5w.  And you get it for not much more.  Also if you decide to add an AMP you have a bit more exciter power to drive it.

    To be honest, there aint many places you cant contact with 15w.  I had great success in the ARRL 10m contest with a 5w QRP rig.  I should place second for QRP in my region.  The antenna is the most important thing IMO.

    I almost bought the ANAN 10e, but I really wanted a FLEX and found the cash to get the 6300, and glad I did.  But if I couldn't afford the 6300, I would get the ANAN-10e over a 1500/3000/or even 5000 flex.  No offense to Flex, but these are old tech.  And if you decide to upgrade in a year or two....You will not get much value on resell.

    Your a new ham. Get yourself a mini ANAN.  Buy the ARRL antenna handbook, and experiment and have fun.  And when you decide to upgrade the ANAN will have a good resell value.

    My 2.367845 cents!  Sorry flex, but you just don't have a modern product in this price range.  I wish you did!  I think many would love a modern QRP rig to replace the 1500.


    William


  • Walt - KZ1F
    Walt - KZ1F Member ✭✭
    edited November 2016
    Charles/Charlie, I don't believe anyone asked you some very important questions:
    1) What aspect of ham radio most excites you, ragchewing, DX, Contesting, Awards, digital, cw, phone, satellite, EME?

    2) and this is the tricky one. Ham Radio can be as expensive as an old restoration house. Do you have a red line on budget? Independent of red line, what are you thinking is the point of resistance.  Most of the people offering heart-felt thoughts on it had their station set up decades ago, some had unlimited funds, some whatever. I don't see anyone asking you how elaborate do you want to get. So, I think it is important to ask where are you coming from, what are your gotta haves and can't affords?

    Or, are we all just talking amongst ourselves at this point as you already got the answers you were looking for?
  • W4WHL
    W4WHL Member ✭✭
    edited July 2016
    Or, are we all just talking amongst ourselves at this point as you already got the answers you were looking for?
    LOL I think this is highly likely
  • Doug Hall
    Doug Hall Member ✭✭
    edited June 2015
    "vs the 1500 soundcard, firewire, and 5w."

    I've seen several people mention Firewire when also discussing the 1500. The Flex-1500 does not use Firewire, but uses USB 2.0 as its interface to the computer. It differs from the 3000/5000 in this respect.
    73,
    Doug K4DSP

  • W4WHL
    W4WHL Member ✭✭
    edited July 2016
    My apologies I forgot the 1500 is USB,
  • Charles
    Charles Member
    edited June 2015
    Ed, thanks for the comments. Dollars are certainly an issue, but more importantly I am trying to look at value and flexibility. Re desktops versus laptops, part of the issue is that I already have laptops and was trying to use them.  I understand potential limitations of laptops but also realize that some laptops are more powerful than some desktops and do allow dual displays.  The 1500 with a laptop was my initial thought to try to determine what direction (if any) I want to go.  That is part of the problem.  I don't know yet what I will want to do.  If I knew exactly, it would make equipment and antenna selection so-o-o-o much easier.
  • Charles
    Charles Member
    edited June 2015
    Nope.  Still here.

    You guys have given me so much information to think about and research.  And unfortunately I do have a day job.

    Walt, 1) is the issue.  I have no idea yet.  That is why I am trying to have enough flexibility to try different things.  Re 2), I don't know where my red line is.  I can justify almost anything if I want it bad enough!  I am still trying to convince myself that I NEED a 6500-- I know I want one.  Being a newbie, its just hard for me to jump that far and deep.
  • Charles
    Charles Member
    edited June 2015
    Thank you all for all your comments and suggestions.  They have really been a big help.

    Based on many suggestions, I have decided not to go with the Flex 1500/amp combination I originally thought about.  It does seem that a used Flex 5000 would be a much smarter move.  So I have decided to try to find a used 5000 at a reasonable price as my first setup.

    If I get a sudden windfall, I'll go to a 6000 series Flex....

    Thank you again for all your time and efforts to get me started.

    Charlie
    KM4KOZ
     
  • Simon Lewis
    Simon Lewis Member
    edited July 2017
    Charles, I am a novice licence instructor so have plenty of experience with newcomers to the hobby - firstly congrats on taking up a hobby that will provide you with a lifetime of fun and enjoyment and introduce you to so many new friends. 

    I know you're on a flex radio site but as a newcomer I would be thinking simpler and easier. Owning an SDR is quite a leap and for someone new to the hobby I'd be thinking baby steps.

    For HF I started with an old QRP radio because that's all I could afford as a teenager but i slowly moved up trading in different radios - based on what I found interesting. leaping in and buying something now I can tell you that you will find you want to change it and us hams are terrible in gear lust - just as bad as camera dudes!

    So my advice would to be select something simpler, don't worry about the SDR yet ... or buy that 1500 as an extra sometime later - get yourself a good all rounder and something reasonable priced. There are some great radios around $1000 new these days.  You may not even know if you wanna stay on HF only or VHF too .. 6M is a great band, 2M can be a lot of fun. And even HF has so much to offer ... you will need a lifetime to even scratch the surface - so don't sweat it .. buy something you can afford .. maybe a sec hand TS590 ... or even an older IC706MK2G if you want VHF-UHF. Keep the 6500 in the back of your mind but just remember .. you will no doubt change your interests as your hobby experience matures!

    Not sure of your living arrangements but if you have garden spend some time playing with antennas, if you're stuck for cash this is an area you can do yourself for little money. I build VHF-UHF arrays for moon bounce using all home made gear inc the preamps and amplifiers.

    So ... don't sweat the decision.. know it will change... find something you can afford, get on make contacts, learn about propagation, antennas and have fun!

    You can email me on [email protected] if you need any extra advice but welcome to the rest of your life .. make the most of it :)

    Cheers

    Simon ZL4PLM 



  • Walt - KZ1F
    Walt - KZ1F Member ✭✭
    edited November 2016
    Frankly Charles, I'd go with Simon Lewis's advice. Yu can get a nice 100 watt radio for a few hundred dollars. You haven't said what sought of neighborhood you are in. Are you restricted as far as antenna. I'd stay away from tower for the time being. If you have trees around, run some wire between them. A friend of my, who got his license when I was first licensed got 4 2x4's and some bolts  put two of them end to end and used the other two to bolt the first two together then dug a deep hole buried one end and did the same for the other end. If you are into an area heavy with covenants, your choices are fewer. Give Simon a call, he doesn't have a brand to sell you. If you went to the Elecraft forum on Yahoo, they'd all try to sell you a K3, .. just like they all have. Probably ought to seek out unbiased advice, as Simon said, from someone sensitive to a newcomer's knowledge and experience.
  • Dave - W6OVP
    Dave - W6OVP Member ✭✭
    edited June 2017
    Charles - A used 3000 is an excellent suggestion IMHO. I had a 1500 and loved it, but QRP ain't my thing and I quickly moved to a 3000 and was satisfied. (Until I got a 6300.) The 3000 built-in tuner and 100 watts made all the difference. It's a great buy and a great intro to SDR at low cost. Don't fuss with an external amp.

    A used 3000 can be had for not a lot more than a new 1500 + an external tuner. I had zero trouble with the 1394 connection. Plug and play! And when you want to move up you will probably find a ready market for it. (Took me only 24 hrs!)

    Good luck --- Dave!

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