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For those of you that have heard from future prospects that Amatuer radio is too expensive to get into I wanted to put that to the test.
Setting my modern equipment aside, I decided to start from scratch and see just how much it would cost to get a fairly decent performing base station"On the air for SSB& CW".

After all, it would be too easy to throw up a mobile antenna and get a hack radio, besides, the lack of performance would discourage the newcomer to the hobby and kill all the excitement. Building everything from ground up is the perfect scenario, after all, that's how we started, on a shoestring, slowly replacing gear with better and better equipment then Elmering someone with our old stuff by passing it down the line or pollinating Hamfests with it.

So, I purchased the following:

Ten 4 ft surplus fiberglass camoflage netting poles from Army Surplus for $1.00 each = Total $10
Three 100 ft hanks of Polyester guy rope for $6.00 each = Total $18
200 ft 18 gauge Stainless Steel electric fence wire = $14
Ten 3/8" dia X3 ft long PVC Kitchen sink water hook up lines $1.50 ea = Total $15 (Ladder line spreaders)
100' RG 213/U = $100.00 (I thought about all ladder line back to the shack but that is a little tricky for the newbie)
Ground rod, connector and 8 gauge copperwire = $30
Two PL-259 connectors = $5
Four 10 ft chain link fence top rails = $40 (Dipole end poles, mast support and guy rope stakes)
Manual tuner & SWR / Watt meter = $50
Older well appreciated Ham radio = $150

Here are some pictures of what I came up with..

Dual 180 deg out of phase end fed "inverted L" sloping Zepps with home made 350 ohm ladder line, tunes up 160m through 10m

(All you can see are the guy ropes, the dipole has a greater than 120 deg apex as it should)


Straight into to a well appreciated Ham radio:


$500 and a little sweat equity later I had a nice Ham radio DX station and worked over 50 countries, top band on down to 10 meters!

Mongolia, Australia, Europe, Africa, South America, Alaska and the Pacific Islands just to name a few, all on a pair of 6146's.

I can take the equipment down and pack it up for field day or leave it up, "No excuses" anyone can get into Amatuer radio if they really wanted to...

This teaches the new Ham the right way, antenna design and erection, transmission lines and matching, antenna tuners and Watt / SWR meter principles, grounding and transmitter operation (How many people remember how to match and load up a tube transmitter anymore?) And you, the Elmer, to help them through it all especially with the most important part, how to be a decent, respectful Amatuer radio operator, ready to bring new prospects into the hobby.

Can you imagine showing up on field day with a tube rig these days? It would be like 1960 all over again!

7300317 Last modified: 2016-05-08 22:47:27, 4231 bytes

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Grid Squared Award#11585
Granted: 2016-05-14 12:45:03   (W9TAB)

World Continents Award#12867
Granted: 2016-05-14 12:45:03   (W9TAB)

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