So what to buy? My mind flashed immediately to the Radio 4 panel game: “I’m sorry, I haven’t a clue” – so I asked around and got the odd opinion – and they were odd!
My need was for a wireless that worked. Simple eh? Not so, I discovered. Reading on the web I discovered that as a beginner I was expected to start with a VHF powered by a 9V battery – well sorry, that’s a non-starter. HF for me… Then there was the attraction of QRP and, I was attracted by the perfectionism required to get such a small amount of power as far as possible. It really appeals to me and, I hope to work more QRP as get more efficient as an operator. Its the pilot equivalent of being ‘exceptional’. The exceptional pilot is one whose skill allows him to operate to very high standards and achieve extraordinary results – he’s the one still flying long after his buddies have gone home with low fuel.
However, I still need to get there and there’s no way I was going to become proficient with a QRP set. Reason? Simply because I would not be heard.
So, the decision was made! QRO set and turn the power down as necessary – after all we only ever use the minimum power necessary for the QSO don’t we?
On the advice of a friend, I decided on the Kenwood TS-480 HX. a 200W offering. Its turned out to be perfect for my mobile lifestyle and has many features that have undoubtedly saved me a great deal of grief as it has turned out.
I took delivery along with the TXCO and a 2.8KHz SSB filter. I also plumped for an LDG AT 200 Pro II tuner and a few lengths of coax. All this was put together in our friends house in Georgia – which had a back year full of trees for some very amateur antenna experiments.