I finally got my hands on an HF transceiver last week. It’s a gently used IC-735, with CW, SSB, AM, and FM on all bands 160-10 meters with the exception of 60 meters. It has had the MARS modification done on it, so it will transmit on any frequency between 100 kHz to 30 MHz. It has a max power output of 100 watts in CW, SSB, and FM modes, and 40 watts in AM. A handy rig to have for a ham who’s just starting out. It’s certainly not as spiffy as the brand new DSP rigs with huge LCD displays and power computers under the hood, but there are more than enough features to satisfy the beginning to intermediate operator. Since I got the rig on the air on March 10th, I’ve had six contacts with my straight key, each in a different state, so I only need 44 more states to get WAS!
But I’m getting ahead of myself. The fanciest, most expensive rig on the planet isn’t worth a hill of beans without an antenna to send and receive signals. I’ve avoided HF for a long time because I assumed the antenna requirements would be too costly in terms of space and money. I live in a townhouse with no attic, no basement, and a postage stamp yard, and putting up antennas outside is entirely out of the question. There simply isn’t enough space to string up a full sized dipole indoors for most of the HF bands. I had the inspiration, however, to try setting up an antenna for 20 meters, which is a popular HF band and should also resonate on 10 meters if designed carefully.