Enjoying HF Again After 20 Year Hiatus

Life gets in the way sometimes.  I had in the early 1990's, two HF radios. I had an HR-2510 and a Yaesu FT-101E (but not at the same time). I enjoyed working HF on 10 meters, being a Technician (with code).  In fact, you can look at a few of my old QSL cards and a slideshow (with a pause button) of my logbook here (external site).

I noticed on the Yaesu that the chassis seemed to be hot and would sometimes shock me. I never grounded the chassis before this point and thought it might be a good idea to do so.  Well, when I did that, it hastened the death of the Yaesu. I let the smoke out of it when turning it on one Saturday morning and it never came back to life. I had estimates done on how much it would cost to repair, but it wasn't worth the cost when compared to the value of the radio.  So, it sat dormant in my garage for nearly 20 years.
I sold it at a tailgate sale and the guy that bought it I later found out got it working with about $20 worth of parts for the internal power supply circuit... with a net cost for him: $45.  I was so disappointed in myself for not attempting to fix it instead of letting it languish.  Meanwhile, in those nearly 20 years of no HF in my life, I divorced, remarried, divorced and remarried again.  How life does move on.

Well, this lovely woman I am married to knew my passion for ham radio and found it in her heart to reserve a significant portion of a recent windfall rebate check to allocate for a new HF radio.  I would need to sell some of my unused things on eBay or some other method to make up the difference, but I had a radio fund!  I got to work right away on figuring out what I could sell.  First thought was the Epiphone Les Paul Standard guitar I had in the corner gathering dust. On eBay it went. After a few times of listing it, it sold.  I also had a DSLR I was no longer using... a Canon 40D. I cleaned it up and got almost full retail value for it at a local camera shop!

With the HRO (Ham Radio Outlet) in Atlanta having its annual Customer Appreciation Day sale on December 15, I went armed with enough funds to get what I wanted, an ICOM IC-7200.  I stayed there all day in hopes of winning something like a discount for the radio or the grand prize. There was only one IC-7200 left in stock though, so I made sure if I won the grand prize or got a discount for a radio in a drawing they'd back out the amount I payed to make up for it, then I bought the radio!  I didn't win any discounts or the grand prize, but I did win an MFJ dual band mobile antenna 2m/440 that I don't really need. I may donate it to the club for a raffle. 

N5PRE_7200.jpg

Being in an antenna restricted community, I'd rather the community not know I have a radio, so I opted for a stealth setup. I already had a Transworld TW-4040 antenna in the box for the last two years (I've been preparing for awhile), so I set it up in the attic and dropped coax down the wall with the help of a friend and it looks good.  While I was there, I ran an extra run of coax for 2m and 75 Ohm coax for TV and attached a J-Pole and TV antenna up there to use in the shack as well.... leaving a fish line in the conduit in case I want to add more coax later.

I hooked up the radio to an old power supply that I have had all this time and it powers the radio, but I dare not use more than 50 watts until I can upgrade. It's only rated at 12amps and I need a 22amp power supply at minimum to use 100w output on the ICOM.  That's my next purchase.

So far, I'm taking it slowly and have only checked into one net so far. The Corn Cobber's Net, on 7274.10 Khz. Their story is quite interesting on the origin of using that particular frequency. A nice bunch of hams there.