Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Courage Kenny Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 06 November 2013

Welcome to Handiham World.

Cart before the horse? 

Think your station plans through before you start buying equipment!
IC-7200 transceivers stacked up at Icom booth in Dayton.
This stack of three Icom IC-7200 transceivers was at the Icom booth at Hamvention® one year.  One is painted in camo, the next is Army green, and the third is the stock black case.  All are fitted with the optional front facing handles to expedite use in the field and protect the front panel.  I certainly like my own Icom IC-7200 and often recommend it to others, but I have many years of amateur radio experience and I have to be careful about assuming what others may or may not know about setting up a station. It is easy to see a display like this or hear someone at the local radio club meeting talking about HF operation and the radio that they prefer and then to make the assumption that the same radio will work for you.
That is not always the case! There is a lot to setting up an amateur radio station, especially an HF station, and it is easy to get so wrapped up in finding the right radio that one can forget about planning the antenna and feedline system, the logistics of the ham shack itself, and the practical questions about how all of this will fit into family life and daily activities. It's not only HF either. Echolink operation seems awfully appealing, but if you have ever interfaced a radio with the computer and have had to wrestle with port forwarding in a home router, you know that a starry-eyed newbie is in for what could be a rough ride getting things set up.
Over the years I have spoken with many people who have placed the cart firmly before the horse. The most difficult are those who have purchased hundreds or even thousands of dollars worth of amateur radio equipment before passing their license exams. Others have their licenses but have acquired equipment that is not practical for their situations.  Still others buy gear or software that they think does one thing but really does something else.  It is amazing to me how far some of these projects get before the light bulb goes on and they realize that the project is not on the right trajectory!

What can you do to avoid putting the cart before the horse? 

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