10 METER EQUIPMENT
The first equipment for many TECH PLUS ticket holders is a HF rig. A TECH PLUS operator has privileges in four high frequency bands with three bands being CW only. (The Tech Plus numbers are dwindling.. but, there are Technicians now with a CSCE for passing the CW element 1........... Hopefully, within the 365 days these Technicians will up-grade to General)...Rules have changed with no CW examination requirement..... late 2007
A good starter rig for many HF operators is one of the numerous ten meter only rigs such as the Ranger, Radio Shack or Uniden series. This rig gives a person capability for SSB and CW in the ten meter band. These rigs are simple and very straight forward to operate. Most have 25 Watts which is more than ample power for most contacts in the 28 MHZ area. It is true that during the "low" side of the sunspot cycle that 10 meters is often a "local" only band with occasional "sky-wave" openings. Local contacts are invaluable for CW practice and the training that leads to the ticket "upgrade". Local nets are also a source for information for what is happening in the local Ham community. A start with this type of rig is economical enough that if a person decides that Ham radio is not for them...... they can quit with little financial outlay.
New 10 meter mono-band rigs can be purchased for less than $300.00 and many
pre-owned units are available for less than a third of that amount …. The
Radio Shack HTX-10 was recently "on sale" for $129.95...UPDATE
$89.95 Dec 2002...... update $69.95 April 2003 .......... and I just saw a
couple going for less than 50 dollars on Ebay (Aug 03)........ Now used ones on
Ebay around $75.00 (Nov 04)..... actually, it seems that the Radio Shack HTX-100
(with CW) is often priced less than the HTX-10
OK, there is an HTX-10 on the QRZ "for sale" forum 25 Nov 05 asking $60.00 Watch out for HTX-100 needing "final" transistor MRF 477..... no longer made and getting "pricey" for those that are available.... like $29.95 each...... The MRF-497 is a "drop in" replacement for about five dollars higher. (March Ø6 prices)....
Well, Both sets of five MRF497s turned out to be bogus....the China transistors have the pins in the incorrect place.. instead of 1 2 & 3 being Base Emitter & Collector the pins are like the driver 1 2 & 3 being Base Collector & Emitter.
Pre-owned HF rigs are available from several sources. Dealers that have taken trade-ins often extend existing warranties to second owners. Many dealers that do this often do not advertise these rigs but, will send a list on request. Hamfests/tailgate swaps often offer good buys on 10 meter equipment. It's a good idea to "see" the rig in operation -avoid rigs that have been obviously dropped.(dented corners)--avoid buying from a "Non-Ham"( estates are an exception )--Look for easily programmable rigs and avoid "rock" bound crystal rigs. There are still a few of the early tube 10 meter radio transceivers like the Siltronix 1011 series. These have an internal power supply and although they are more complex to operate, they are a good starter rig. Some Siltronix owners still insist the radio is worth over $100.00 but, for that price a modern solid state rig can be purchased. A local Ham Club meeting is the place to let your needs be known. Hams who have up-graded their equipment often have good dependable rigs for sale. Hams also know of recent "silent keys" who have Ham Radio equipment in their estate.
Remember that most 10 meter radios require an external power supply. For the 25 Watt rig, an 8 Amp (minimum) will do but a 10 Amp is better. New 10 Amp supplies are in the $55.00 range. Used supplies are about $25.00 to $35.00 (if you can find one). These power supplies can be "homebrewed" with minimum electrical knowledge and often is an ideal starter project for the "new" Ham ticket holder.
Special note: Most operators will need a 20 Amp or better when they upgrade to 100 Watt equipment. If a 20 Amp supply is available, it will loaf along at the 8 to 10 Amps required for the 25 Watt rigs but, best of all, you will already have it when you need it for that 100 Watt rig.... Many of the newer "switching power supplies" are 25 Amp surge with 23 Amperes continuous.
ANTENNAS: Workable ten meter antennas can be "homebrewed" in several configurations very economically. A dipole made from almost any available wire... Using the formula... 468/28.4 = 16.47 feet.... so each leg would be 8.235 feet. ......... and hung as an "inverted Vee" it would only require one mast support.
Vertical antennas can be made by following the same formula as above and hung by one end from the highest support possible. (has to be at least 16.5 feet high).... However, remember the co-ax feed line must come away from the antenna at approximately 90 degrees.
Antennas converted from 11 meters almost certainly require an antenna analyzer or good SWR meter......... and antennas having "loading" coils for 11 meter "matching" are almost impossible to convert without major re-engineering.
There have been many many antenna books published by ARRL and others that describe antenna construction. By reviewing these published "experience of others" books .... a good "workable" ten meter antenna can be constructed.