Friday, April 14, 2017

HAM radio consuming (or downgrade your hamradio station)

Lately I saw a documentary about a american woman that lives in northern Thailand. She told the interviewer that she wanted to live outside the consuming world were everyone wants things better and bigger. Just living from the land, the jungle provided her with most food she needed. I have to admit that I was impressed by these words and some of it shows the truth. Most of us radio amateurs are living in a consuming world, people always want better things, more money, bigger cars, a nice house and garden and for our hobby the best radio or the most modern one with the latest technology and the biggest antenna possible.

20 years ago this was "it"!
 I know, I'm guilty as well as I dream of a nice and shiny Icom IC-7300 to replace my 18 year old IC-706MK2G. Will I make more or better QSOs with it? I don't think so, but it is fun to play. Another option is to downgrade, I have the Yaesu FT-817 which is a great little radio and it will never leave me as long as it lives. I have this Yaesu for portable and mobile use mainly and as a backup when the Icom should break. Actually I would not care if I only had the FT-817, a laptop and a multiband antenna. I already proved a base station setup is capable of DX worldwide working 100 DXCC in just 79 days. Will I be more happy with a IC-7300 or with just a FT-817 as main radio? I don't know as I only have the IC-706MK2G and the FT-817 and know what a great little radio the Yaesu is. I respect those that have nothing else to transmit. The radioamateur with nice and shiny radios and shacks are most time just playing with their gear and miss some real nice QSOs I think, although that will not count for everyone. We, as radioamateurs in the rich countries, have plenty to choose. It's just how much money you want to spend at the hobby. For example I take a radioamateur in my neighbourhood, he bought a new multiband beam and placed it high on his mast. He tested it and it was a easy job talking to New Zealand and Australia. Well he had done it and seen it, he rarely shows up on the bands and actually has other priorities.
Yaesu FT-817 still the best HF/VHF/UHF
QRP transceiver around 

But there are a lot of hobbyists that don't have that opportunity, they have to build their own gear like in the early days of radio. I think contacts with those stations are more valuable and the other way around every QSO is valuable for them as well. It's a interesting thought I think, something I consider and probabely others do not.

From the comments on my previous post I noticed that many are happy with the radio they have. They don't need te latest new technology but rather have a reliable radio which works for them. So this proves that within the hamradio community not everyone is the same...

Everyone and everything has a purpose in the radio hobby. Whatever your experience or station consists of. We are all experimental radio researchers...


  1. Hallo Bas, die IC-706MK2G is een prachtige transceiver en zolang ie het doet, prima toch. Het is altijd aanlokkelijk al dat nieuwe spul, maar ja ook een hoop geld. Ik blijf het ook gewoon doen met de FT817 en de FT450. Pas als ze echt kapot zijn dan ga ik wel iets anders kopen. Fijne paasdagen, 73 Paul PC4T

  2. Excellent posting, Bas. I've often had the same thought, usually about this time of year when winter has ended and other activities become more available.

    You're absolutely right about the pleasure derived from the hobby based on what we use to achieve a QSO. DXing with my Flex, 600 watts and Yagi is not the thrill it once was and I wonder if a new (and simpler) way of enjoying the hobby is on my horizon. Time will tell...

    73 - John AE5X

  3. Hi Bas I agree with you, as you have typed "a reliable radio which works" is enough for enjoying the hobby. 73 de SV1GRN

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  5. Hello Bas,

    you are right. That's why I operate since 20 years only QRP. Concerning the gear: I had about 20+ self built rigs, all gone away, for I wanted to have always something better for my needs (CW only). So at last I found my dream machine (Kx3) with waterfall and everything ... and this will stay. And for your intro I remembered an old book: Small is beautiful by E.F. Schuhmacher ( which influenced me most.

    73 de Hajo dl1sdz

  6. I think the other contributors have said it all and I agree with you and them.

    Doesn't only apply to amateur radio equipment!

    Time to wake up to the real world.

  7. Hallo Bas, ik ben het volledig met jou eens. Er zijn hele volksstammen die zich laten leiden door mooie gelikt uitziende tranceivers vol met gadgets. Maar jouw 703 zal echt niet minder zijn dan een IC-7300 met kleurenscherm etc. Gelukkig laat je je niet gek maken en blijf je met beide benen op de grond staan. Ga pas iets vervangen als het vervangen moet worden en koester datgene wat je nu hebt. Fijne Paasdagen. 73 Hans, PE1BVQ

  8. Just another comment, Bass. Regarding the USA lady living in Thailand. Many of that type are former, Wall-Street brokers, lobbyists, useless rock-stars, etc. In other words they had a pile of cash on hand before they decided to live the "simple" life. Frankly they make me sick.

    Yes, the ideal basic, manufactured QRP radio is the FT-817. Doesn't need mods. Long may it reign.

  9. Hello all, I'm surprised by all your comments actually. I think it shows that there is more respect for the ham radio operator that enjoys his hobby with minimal gear. I know it is a choice but like Paul PC4T I don't do QRP strictly although the difference between 5W and 100W is just mental. Dick, just like the above blogpost does not apply on everyone, this USA lady in Thailand is not what you think she was in a former live. Although I heard the stories and a former boss I worked for did the same. Read her story after the documentary I saw: Hope it will change your mind. Absolutely right about the small things in live besides HAMradio. Thanks for all the comments to you all. 73, Bas


Thanks for your comment. Bedankt voor je reactie. 73, Bas