Brushbeater: Your First HF Station


An outstanding and thorough “get started” recipe.

I’ll bet there’s someone in your circle who’d like to play in this space this Christmas.

Two addenda:

1) Used Gear Resources:

2) Gordon West study guides (which have all test questions organized in sections by topic, which aids memorization):




9 responses to “Brushbeater: Your First HF Station

  1. Getting licensed and up and running on ham radio is cheap and easy, stop putting it off! I let myself be too intimidated to try for years, once I actually started I was an Extra class with dozens of contacts to other countries in all different modes under my belt in two years all the while having a great time and making lots of new friends.

  2. Alfred E. Neuman

    Reblogged this on FOR GOD AND COUNTRY.

  3. +1 on getting up and operating before you “need” to. In a grid down, end of the world scenario, the Amateur bands will be absolute chaos. So, if you don’t have good operating techniques, solid equipment, good comms groups and the knowledge of how to put it together, good luck. Get you HF ticket, join AmRRON corp and start learning everything you can including digital comms and CW (morse code).

  4. Learn and understand all of the info for the Tech.

    Learn and understand as much as you can of the info for the General. Then learn the right answers.

    Learn the right answers for the Extra.

  5. As time goes on, the communications offered by amateur radio (aka ham radio) is too good to pass up. This should be viewed AS important as having a rifle and ammo.

    Everyone should be licensed to at least the entry level Technician. That would enable communications with a operator with a General or Extra license who can then spread the word for great distances. Think hub and spoke configuration.

    With the very low cost VHF/UHF hand helds today, many less than $100.00, there’s little barrier to acquiring one. Low cost base/mobile transceivers for under $250.00 are for sale now, as well. These usually put out at least 50 watts, which if connected to a gain antenna with good coax cable will produce excellent results.

    I have some expensive equipment now, but once upon a time I wasn’t able to spend much. I bought a single band transceiver, on two meters (144-148 mhz) which I installed in my ratty 1975 Chevy Blazer. I was in school at the time, paid $1100.00 for that truck. I built my antenna out of stainless steel rod (above) and brass rod (below in the PVC tube), all in PVC pipe with one T-fitting. It was a vertical half wave dipole antenna. I bolted it to the body work of the Blazer, boring holes for the threaded inserts and for the coax to pass into and connect to the radio. I was on the air. That antenna worked very well, just looked unsightly, but who cares, right? I think the antenna and cable cost less than $25.00, the radio less than $200.00, new.d

    For HF (frequencies below 30 mhz) you need a General license which isn’t very hard either. It’s another 30 question exam above the Technician exam. HF transceivers can cost a lot of money, or, if you shop wisely and check the used market, you can get into HF reasonably. I have an acquaintance with pockets much deeper than mine, his HF transceiver and amplifier cost about $20,000.00. His antennas are legion, and costly. His income permits this, mine does not. The funds required vary widely, don’t let this put you off.

    Down here, finally, again, the communications offered by becoming an amateur operator are too important to not do.

    Get busy.

  6. Tango tango 03

    Always wanted my ham license. After many years, I studied my ass off for 2 weeks. Took all three and passed them all. This hobby is addictive and always looking to expand my skills and knowledge. Have an IC-7200, an IC-7100 in my rig with hf and v/UHF antennas, and a ft-897D as a portable that I am beginning to go out and use in the field.

  7. shocktroop0351

    There are lots of good apps on cell phones to help you prepare for your tests, it’s how I did it and I passed my technician and general on the same day. Had I put the time into studying for my extra I’m sure I could have gotten that too. Get your general, then get into SOTA (summits on the air). It’s an international organization that rewards users for operating ham radio from specific geographic points. I could care less about the awards, I participate because it has a very large community of very experienced HF field operators that can help get you started with what works right away.

  8. One other aspect of this (where diversity is essential & not a buzzword). To the rucked-up HSLD trigger-pulling aficionados: Do you have a dedicated commo guy? You need one or you’re doomed. To the potential team member, maybe busted up a bit from decades of previously doing that & can’t play Rover Boys anymore – this is a way to make yourself valuable in an environment where EVERYONE needs to be bringing something to the table. Good time for someone to be “that guy.”