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Discussion in 'Radio and Wireless' started by Gryd3, Jul 13, 2018.

  1. Gryd3

    Gryd3

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    Jun 25, 2014
    Hello Guys!
    My boss and I are looking to get started into HAM radio and are looking into scopes and signal spectrum analyzers to play with. The only issue, is that new devices appear to cost in the $10,000+ CAD/USD price range which is pretty steep.

    I'm looking for suggestions on new/used gear or sources to find some good beginners gear to play with. I know this hobby can get expensive, but I wasn't prepared to spend more on a tool than I spent on my motorcycle.
     
  2. kellys_eye

    kellys_eye

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    Jun 25, 2010
    Why would you be using the 'scope and spectrum analyser? Isn't that a bit excessive for someone who is 'getting started in Ham Radio'?

    Bit like learning how to ride a bike by purchasing a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-11........
     
    davenn and Harald Kapp like this.
  3. Gryd3

    Gryd3

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    Jun 25, 2014
    It is a bit excessive of course, but the interests seem to revolve around being able to see what's happening instead of being satisfied with just hearing it work.
    Hence the hunt for some basic equipment to show what happens as we play with mixers and various other parts.
    I'm certain my employer has a scope already somewhere which should cover what we need there, but he's been watching videos from w2aew on YouTube and has asked that I hunt down some equipment to do what he does...
    Tall order to do the same, as the youtuber has got a nice Tek scope that has multiple functions... so I'm on the hunt for 2 or more pieces of gear I can use instead that isn't quite so capable that will still let us see what's going on.

    I'm a biker so I enjoy the analogy you chose, but I'd probably relate it to modifying the ECU rather than buying an over-powered bike... but I entirely agree for the most part here. Fact still remains that as an educational pursuit, my employer still wants to visualize things. Do you have any ideas that won't break the bank?
     
  4. kellys_eye

    kellys_eye

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    Jun 25, 2010
    There are many second-user speccy analysers on the market but they are inevitably coveted pieces of equipment and can still command high prices - nothing like the $10,000 you quote though!

    When you talk of 'ham' radio it can encompass anything from LF to SHF and will be reflected in the price range you find yourself paying. What frequency bands are you considering?

    There's an on-going thread over at EEVBlog that discusses second hand speccy's:
    https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/used-spectrum-analyzers-for-under-$1k/ that will give many links to suitable units and all their pro's and con's.

    If you have £1500 ($2000) spare then you could get a pretty decent new-ish model from many sources.

    I work the HF bands (30MHz maximum) and have a home-made speccy analyser that serves purpose - nothing special but it can at least show me out-of-band spurious signal levels which is the 'all important' aspect of transmission.
     
    Gryd3 likes this.
  5. Gryd3

    Gryd3

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    Jun 25, 2014
    Thank you @kellys_eye . Looks as though the focus here (at least for the time being) is no more than 108MHz... but that's likely to change. I'll take a look at that thread and weigh costs vs. capabilities with my employer to find out how much he wants to spend on a unit.
     
  6. kellys_eye

    kellys_eye

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    Jun 25, 2010
    Hmmmm, the 108MHz figure raises an eyebrow. That's the top end of the commercial FM band. You're not thinking of messing around in those areas are you?
     
    davenn likes this.
  7. davenn

    davenn Moderator

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    Sep 5, 2009
    my tek spec an cost me AU$1500 second hand …. 9kHz to 1.8GHz

    [​IMG]


    http://www.sydneystormcity.com/test_gear.htm

    A decent power meter to cover freq and power levels you are going to be dealing with....

    I have several that cover different freq/power level ranges
    A 2 port one that can also check forward/reflected power to an antenna plus a decent dummy load

    A dummy load wattmeter

    my page first pic ….
    Lower left a Yaesu YP150 Power Meter -- up to 150W and 150 MHz. ( dummy load)
    Upper right -- An Oskerblock SWR200, through meter, goes to at least 150 MHz


    A decent frequency counter is important. I have 3

    second photo on page middle unit -- an ATTEN FC2700-C goes to 2.7GHz bought new several 100$

    second photo on page lower right -- an old NIXI tube HP 5248L … beautiful piece of old gear, goes to 12GHz --- gosh what did I pay ?? … a few 100 $ at a ham radio get together

    Also not pictured is my .....
    specialist counter a HP 5343A goes to 26 GHz
    900MHz to 2.4 GHz forward/reflected power meter
    sSeveral decent variable PSU's

    My ham radio activities were mainly in the 1GHz to 24 GHz range
     
  8. davenn

    davenn Moderator

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    Sep 5, 2009

    indeed, there's no ham radio bands in that area

    Have you both actually done your amateur radio licence exams yet ?

    That would be step #1
    and doing that you would learn the different bands and their ranges as allocated in Canada ( very similar to most other countries)

    get involved with a local amateur radio club and learn the ropes, most will have classes for doing your exam and these day most will have the facilities to actually run the exam

    Radio club members are also a great source for 2nd hand radio and test gear

    Dave
     
    kellys_eye likes this.
  9. Gryd3

    Gryd3

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    Jun 25, 2014
    Thank you @kellys_eye and @davenn .
    You are right in that the listed freq was up to commercial FM. Not to worry, we won't be transmitting here, but may be using at least a portion of the FM band to experiment with home-made receivers. (Mainly playing with the LO and IF)

    We are currently working our way through a HAM book in an attempt to go for our amateur license. We will need to venture into the advanced license if we wish to make our own transmitters. The goal here isn't so much to be able to use a HAM radio, it's to familiarize ourselves with it to a decent degree. (The HAM book we have sucks by the way... just enough info to pass a test with, but no explanations at all xD)
     
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