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HF Amateur Radio Gear




HF Amateur Radio Gear

There is quite a bit of information within the Amateur Radio Tech course, pertaining normally to the 2 meter and 70 centimeter bands and the use of repeaters. It's important to note that since the early 90s Morse Code (CW) hasn't been required for Tech and above.

A repeater is designed to extend the distance that a Tech licensee can communicate on 2 meters and 70 centimeters. But let's apply this idea of repeaters to the XII% DIRTY DOZEN. What if the General (NY) needed to speak with the COS (Wa) and the phone system was down. No cell towers, either. They both hold Tech class licenses, but repeaters don't reach cross country. So now what, we are a communications network organization, but with limited staff holding other than a tech license, what happens?

So instead of using VHF/UHF, enter HF. There are some limited areas where Tech licensees can use HF (includes frequencies upto 30 MHz)

10 meters 28.000 – 28.300 CW and RTTY/data

28.300 – 28.500 CW and phone

Tech licensees using HF are limited power upto 200 W PEP.

One of the questions I get a lot of are what are my thoughts about this 2 meter radio or that 70 cm radio. Given my current class, students range from Colorado, to Arizona, to Ohio, to Montana to even North Carolina, how could they communicate with all other operators from Texas to Missouri, Oklahoma and beyond with simply 2 m or 70 cm? Simple answer, they can't.

So instead of reviewing a 2 m or 70 cm radio, let's look at a HF transceiver. Yes, they are more expensive, but you can talk cross country with them! I didn't write the review below, but when trying to evaluate which radio might be best for you, this review digs deep into the items and issues you need to investigate for your new radio. Look at the bullet points and not strictly the cost before deciding. Reason being where one radio skimps, your cost to add a needed feature could raise the total cost drastically. The best type of antenna to work with a HF transceiver will be the subject of another blog.

The Icom IC-718 Base radio, HF All Band Transceiver, 100W


Icom IC-718 Base radio, HF All Band Transceiver, 100W, **CURRENTLY INCLUDES UT-106 PRE-INSTALLED.**

The HF bands allow you to communicate over long distances covering many km even to the other side of the world. With the superior performance found in the IC-718 such as wide dynamics range, high C/N ratio, and full duty operation you will find making these contacts easy. Experience the combination of the latest RF and digital technology, along with the size and simplified operation. You will see the IC-718 will be the most practical rig you will ever own.

Front mounted loud speaker

The IC-718 has a speaker mounted on the front panel. With the speaker facing the operator, audio sounds can be clearly heard without impediment during operation. It is no longer necessary to manually increase the volume to try and capture audio sounds.

Superior basic performance

The IC-718 has 0.03-29.999999 MHz* general coverage receive capability. A 4-element system is employed for the 1st receive mixer, providing superior receive IMD, especially from in-band near-by interfering signals. A well-designed double-conversion system to help minimize image and spurious responses for better signal fidelity, is also built-in. A newly designed PLL circuit has been adopted to improve C/N ratio characteristics. The combination of the 4-element system mixer and new PLL circuit allows superior basic performance as that of a commercial grade transceiver.

*Guaranteed range: 0.5-29.999999 MHz

DSP capability*

The DSP includes the following to give you superior receiver quality in your shack, vehicle or during DX'pedition.

*DSP is built in to U.S. models, but may be optional outside the U.S.

Noise reduction:

Pulls desired AF signals from noise. Outstanding S/N ratio is achieved, providing clean audio in SSB, AM and FM.

Automatic Notch filter:

This automatically minimizes beat signals and heterodynes while preserving the receive signal. Also, the notch frequency is automatically adjusted to follow interfering beat signals - for example, reducing interference from RTTY signals during SSB operation.

Interference rejection - IF shift

To reject interference, the IC-718 has an IF shift function which shifts the center frequency of the IF passband electronically to reduce adjacent interference.

Microphone compressor

This feature compresses microphone audio input to increase average audio output level. The result is, that talk power is increased. The compression level is adjustable for your preference. This function is effective for long distance communication, or when propagation conditions are poor.

RF gain control

RF gain control is combined with the squelch control. The RF gain adjusts minimum response receiver gain, and ignores signals weaker than the pre-set level - providing pleasant stand-by, or scanning.

Ample CW features

An electronic keyer with a variable dot/dash ratio (2.8:1 to 4.8:1) control is built-in. By simply connecting a paddle, easy CW operation can be made. The CW pitch and the key speed are also variable from 300-900 Hz, 6-60 wpm, respectively. Of course, full break-in capability is available with the adjustable break-in delay.

VOX operation

A VOX (Voice operated transmission) is included with the IC-718. It provides handsfree operation by detecting audio signals from the microphone. It' s easy!

Flexible filter selection

Flexible Filter Selection

An optional IF filter can be installed into the transceiver to suit your operating preference.

High frequency stability

When the optional CR-338 HIGH STABILITY CRYSTAL UNIT is installed, you get a very high frequency stability of ±0.5 ppm.

Selectable antenna tuner

Either the optional antenna tuner unit, AT-180 or AH-4 can be used with the IC-718 to suit your installing conditions, or operating style. Of course, the AH-4 control circuit is built into the IC-718.

Simple operation

The IC-718 is equipped with a minimum number of switches and controls for superior feature selectability. The 10-key pad on the front panel for entering directly an operating frequency, or a memory channel number. The auto tuning steps function helps quick tuning is activate when turning the dial quickly. And the band stacking register is very convenient when changing operating bands.

Digital S/RF meter

Built-in multi functional digital S/RF meter indicates signal strength level while receiving, and either transmit output power, ALC level or VSWR ratio while transmitting.

Optional voice synthesizer

A clear, electronically-generated voice announces operating frequency, mode and receiving signal strength level when the optional voice synthesizer unit, UT-102, is installed.

Other features

USB, LSB, CW, RTTY(FSK) and AM modes are built-in

Level adjustable noise blanker

RF attenuator and Pre-amplifier

Variety of scanning function types

Total 101 memory channels are available

Hand microphone is supplied, and more…


KE6ACL out till next time

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Excellent information. Though one time in South Texas on a CB Radio when I was talking local. We got a break on our channel and it sounded like it was next door. When the guy on the other end asked where we was. I told him I was in Victoria Texas. He said now way. He was in England. We was talking together for about 30 minutes 5x5. Then he had to leave to go to work. The weather and clouds was with us just right as it skipped a little over 6000 miles.

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