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Re: [FT897] Dumb Question from a Newbie to HF

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  • Joel
    6M is dead most of the time so dont go by that. Are you able to pick up a lot of Shortwave broadcast stations? 20 M is more active during the day but you
    Message 1 of 12 , Apr 23, 2013
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      6M is dead most of the time so dont go by that.

      Are you able to pick up a lot of Shortwave broadcast stations?

      20 M is more active during the day but you should find decent signals
      there until
      dark I would think in most locations.


      On 4/23/2013 1:31 PM, dcawood wrote:
      >
      > I am very new to HF, just got the Buddipole last night.
      >
      > I tried the 20M last night and got mostly noise.
      >
      > I tried the 2M Jpole and got great results.
      >
      > Right now, I am down to trying 6M and get mostly noise?
      >
      > My Rig Expert AA-54 shows 1.6SWR and the 897 shows about the same swr
      > on the radio.
      >
      > Problem is... I can't seem to hear anyone well... just faint talking
      > over ALOT of noise.
      >
      > I got to be doing something wrong. Is there a setting cheatsheet for
      > dummies?
      >
      > Currently trying USB, AM, FM, DIG, not very good results. The settings
      > on the radio should be at default.
      >
      > Thanks,
      > Donovan - KF5TSH
      >
      >
      >
      > No virus found in this message.
      > Checked by AVG - www.avg.com <http://www.avg.com>
      > Version: 2012.0.2241 / Virus Database: 3162/5767 - Release Date: 04/23/13
      >

      --
      KQØJ



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Alex Netherton
      A 6:1 SWR is a bad mismatch. Most radios won t transmit with this, and some will not receive well either. You need to reduce your SWR to at worst 3:1, and even
      Message 2 of 12 , Apr 23, 2013
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        A 6:1 SWR is a bad mismatch. Most radios won't transmit with this, and some
        will not receive well either. You need to reduce your SWR to at worst 3:1,
        and even then you will not have full output. Make sure you have a match to
        each band.
        Do you have an antenna matcher? Looks like the Buddiepole will do the
        matching, but you have to tune the coils and whips. Tune them til you have
        a SWR of no more than 2:1 on the band in question. Then listen.
        A really good way to see if the rig is going to work is to just build a
        dipole for 20 meters. Go to your local Radio Shack and get 35 feet of
        copper wire. Cut 2 16 1/2 foot pieces of wire. Get a piece of coax and hang
        the antenna at least 10 feet from the ground, horizontally. Solder the
        center conductor of the coax to one piece of wire, solder the shield to the
        other, making sure to insulate the two pieces of wire from each other. Run
        the coax to the rig and attach to it with a SO239 connector (also at RS).

        If you don't have the room, or an antenna covenant:

        Get into the Buddipole manual and find out how to tune it to 40 meters.
        Tune, look at the radio, and keep tuning until your SWR is less than 2:1 -
        you should get down to 1.2:1, then listen and try to get a signal report
        from someone. 40 should be awake and alive most of the day. Like the other
        ham said, six is going to be dead until conditions get better.When six is
        in, you can work England from the US East coast with 2 watts and a vertical
        plugged into the back of the rig. When it is dead, you can't get anybody
        with a full gallon and a beam.

        If still problems, check all your connections.DO NOT, and I mean DO NOT
        transmit with a 6:1 SWR; most modern radios will (hopefully) not even
        transmit, most older ones will fry the finals.

        Gud Luck, and 73
        Alex
        KC4BO




        On Tue, Apr 23, 2013 at 3:32 PM, Joel <hiqual@...> wrote:

        > **
        >
        >
        > 6M is dead most of the time so dont go by that.
        >
        > Are you able to pick up a lot of Shortwave broadcast stations?
        >
        > 20 M is more active during the day but you should find decent signals
        > there until
        > dark I would think in most locations.
        >
        >
        > On 4/23/2013 1:31 PM, dcawood wrote:
        > >
        > > I am very new to HF, just got the Buddipole last night.
        > >
        > > I tried the 20M last night and got mostly noise.
        > >
        > > I tried the 2M Jpole and got great results.
        > >
        > > Right now, I am down to trying 6M and get mostly noise?
        > >
        > > My Rig Expert AA-54 shows 1.6SWR and the 897 shows about the same swr
        > > on the radio.
        > >
        > > Problem is... I can't seem to hear anyone well... just faint talking
        > > over ALOT of noise.
        > >
        > > I got to be doing something wrong. Is there a setting cheatsheet for
        > > dummies?
        > >
        > > Currently trying USB, AM, FM, DIG, not very good results. The settings
        > > on the radio should be at default.
        > >
        > > Thanks,
        > > Donovan - KF5TSH
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > No virus found in this message.
        > > Checked by AVG - www.avg.com <http://www.avg.com>
        > > Version: 2012.0.2241 / Virus Database: 3162/5767 - Release Date: 04/23/13
        > >
        >
        > --
        > KQ�J
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >



        --
        Alex Netherton
        http://blueridgediscovery.com


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Dennis
        First, HF is a VERY different animal from UHf/VHf. MOST signals you will hear are going to be very faint to somewhat readable. THAT is the way HF is. Unlike
        Message 3 of 12 , Apr 24, 2013
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          First, HF is a VERY different animal from UHf/VHf. MOST signals you
          will hear are going to be very faint to somewhat readable. THAT is the
          way HF is. Unlike the "full quieting" signals you would get on 2M/440,
          and the "great" signals you get from the AM stations (which, remember,
          are usually throwing 50,000 to 100,000 watts of power) you are trying to
          hear either USB or LSB signals from (depending on the operator) 5 to
          2000 watts of power. BIG difference. The propagation is different as
          well. UHf/VHf is "line-of-site" propagation where HF is "sky-wave"
          propagation. These will not be heard like the other bands/modes. If
          you have powerline/artificial noise, it be be that much more difficult
          to hear stations clearly. If you have the interference that was
          affecting your 2M/440 stuff, you WILL get it on HF, and quite possibly
          worse. If you haven't eliminated/reduced it, you will be hard pressed
          to hear HF signals. However, again, being on the side of a mountain
          does not help your situation any and, if anything, could contribute to
          your problems.

          Dennis - N8BMB
          On 4/23/2013 14:31, dcawood wrote:
          >
          > I am very new to HF, just got the Buddipole last night.
          >
          > I tried the 20M last night and got mostly noise.
          >
          > I tried the 2M Jpole and got great results.
          >
          > Right now, I am down to trying 6M and get mostly noise?
          >
          > My Rig Expert AA-54 shows 1.6SWR and the 897 shows about the same swr
          > on the radio.
          >
          > Problem is... I can't seem to hear anyone well... just faint talking
          > over ALOT of noise.
          >
          > I got to be doing something wrong. Is there a setting cheatsheet for
          > dummies?
          >
          > Currently trying USB, AM, FM, DIG, not very good results. The settings
          > on the radio should be at default.
          >
          > Thanks,
          > Donovan - KF5TSH
          >
          >



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Pete
          Have you tried adjusting the relative positions of the RF Gain vs AF Gain knobs on your FT-897? These are the co-centric 2 knobs immediately to the right and
          Message 4 of 12 , Apr 24, 2013
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            Have you tried adjusting the relative positions of the RF Gain vs AF Gain knobs on your FT-897? These are the co-centric 2 knobs immediately to the right and below the large main tuning knob. The outside one is RF Gain and the inside one is AF Gain (volume control). When RF Gain is at maximum, noise is at maximum. Try turning RF Gain down, while turning AF Gain up until you find the best combination for each contact.

            A couple of other functions on the FT-897 that are valuable in controlling noise are found in the MF-row controls (Multi-Function rows at the bottom of the screen). Experiment with turning the following on or off: IPO (on the MFm row), or DNR and DBF (on the MFp row). If you are new to HF, you won't be familiar with these controls because they do virtually nothing on 2 meters or 440. However, they are very powerful and valuable tools on HF for optimizing signal-to-noise, and making speech more readable.

            I re-adjust each of these functions that I've mentioned here with almost every contact that I listen to. After playing with them for a couple of days, it will become second nature. A quick way to get into the MF-rows is to press the small DSP button on upper right - it gets you right into the MFp row. From there you get to other MF rows by turning the larger knob right under the DSP button.

            Pete, KE6ZIW
            =========================

            --- In FT897@yahoogroups.com, "dcawood" <dcawood@...> wrote:
            >
            > I am very new to HF, just got the Buddipole last night.
            >
            > I tried the 20M last night and got mostly noise.
            >
            > I tried the 2M Jpole and got great results.
            >
            > Right now, I am down to trying 6M and get mostly noise?
            >
            > My Rig Expert AA-54 shows 1.6SWR and the 897 shows about the same swr on the radio.
            >
            > Problem is... I can't seem to hear anyone well... just faint talking over ALOT of noise.
            >
            > I got to be doing something wrong. Is there a setting cheatsheet for dummies?
            >
            > Currently trying USB, AM, FM, DIG, not very good results. The settings on the radio should be at default.
            >
            > Thanks,
            > Donovan - KF5TSH
            >
          • Pete
            Some additional tuning info to my post about noise controls: The DBF (Digital Bandpass Filter), on the MFp row, has 2 parameters which can be adjusted through
            Message 5 of 12 , Apr 24, 2013
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              Some additional tuning info to my post about noise controls:
              The DBF (Digital Bandpass Filter), on the MFp row, has 2 parameters which can be adjusted through Menus #47 and #46 - the Low Pass Frequency (LPF) and the High Pass Frequency (HPF). If you hold down the little flat button under the "DBF" indicator on the screen, it brings you to menu #47 where you can adjust the LPF. I find 2130 Hz to be effective (as recommended by someone on this message board). The next menu down, #46, lets you adjust the HPF. I set that one to 280 Hz. Then press and hold the "F" button to save those 2 settings. Now when you press the DBF button it will use those upper and lower limits, which in some cases is very effective in makeing an HF signal more readable. In other cases it makes it less readable, so be discriminating about when you use it.

              Pete, KE6ZIW
              =====================

              --- In FT897@yahoogroups.com, "Pete" <odyssey570@...> wrote:
              >
              >
              >
              > Have you tried adjusting the relative positions of the RF Gain vs AF Gain knobs on your FT-897? These are the co-centric 2 knobs immediately to the right and below the large main tuning knob. The outside one is RF Gain and the inside one is AF Gain (volume control). When RF Gain is at maximum, noise is at maximum. Try turning RF Gain down, while turning AF Gain up until you find the best combination for each contact.
              >
              > A couple of other functions on the FT-897 that are valuable in controlling noise are found in the MF-row controls (Multi-Function rows at the bottom of the screen). Experiment with turning the following on or off: IPO (on the MFm row), or DNR and DBF (on the MFp row). If you are new to HF, you won't be familiar with these controls because they do virtually nothing on 2 meters or 440. However, they are very powerful and valuable tools on HF for optimizing signal-to-noise, and making speech more readable.
              >
              > I re-adjust each of these functions that I've mentioned here with almost every contact that I listen to. After playing with them for a couple of days, it will become second nature. A quick way to get into the MF-rows is to press the small DSP button on upper right - it gets you right into the MFp row. From there you get to other MF rows by turning the larger knob right under the DSP button.
              >
              > Pete, KE6ZIW
              > =========================
              >
              > --- In FT897@yahoogroups.com, "dcawood" <dcawood@> wrote:
              > >
              > > I am very new to HF, just got the Buddipole last night.
              > >
              > > I tried the 20M last night and got mostly noise.
              > >
              > > I tried the 2M Jpole and got great results.
              > >
              > > Right now, I am down to trying 6M and get mostly noise?
              > >
              > > My Rig Expert AA-54 shows 1.6SWR and the 897 shows about the same swr on the radio.
              > >
              > > Problem is... I can't seem to hear anyone well... just faint talking over ALOT of noise.
              > >
              > > I got to be doing something wrong. Is there a setting cheatsheet for dummies?
              > >
              > > Currently trying USB, AM, FM, DIG, not very good results. The settings on the radio should be at default.
              > >
              > > Thanks,
              > > Donovan - KF5TSH
              > >
              >
            • Radio_Randy
              Donovan, On 20 and 6 Meters, your S meter should register next to nothing when there are no signals (with the BuddiPole). Those bands are relatively quiet, so
              Message 6 of 12 , Apr 24, 2013
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                Donovan,

                On 20 and 6 Meters, your S meter should register next to nothing when there are no signals (with the BuddiPole). Those bands are relatively quiet, so far as noise is concerned. If you are getting measurable noise levels with your S meter, you may be suffering from excessive RF noise in your area (I know we've talked about this, before).

                I would take my radio and BuddiPole and find a nice quiet rural location, away from power lines and farm houses and try again. At the place where I work, 20 Meters is quite noisy, near the offices. If I move a few hundred feet away, out into the middle of a field, the noise level drops to almost nothing. The signals are then completely readable.

                You might also try rotating your BuddiPole to see if the noise is coming from a specific direction. I've used this feature when operating on six and two Meters with my BuddiPole.

                73, Radio Randy N7CKJ

                --- In FT897@yahoogroups.com, "dcawood" <dcawood@...> wrote:
                >
                > I am very new to HF, just got the Buddipole last night.
                >
                > I tried the 20M last night and got mostly noise.
                >
                > I tried the 2M Jpole and got great results.
                >
                > Right now, I am down to trying 6M and get mostly noise?
                >
                > My Rig Expert AA-54 shows 1.6SWR and the 897 shows about the same swr on the radio.
                >
                > Problem is... I can't seem to hear anyone well... just faint talking over ALOT of noise.
                >
                > I got to be doing something wrong. Is there a setting cheatsheet for dummies?
                >
                > Currently trying USB, AM, FM, DIG, not very good results. The settings on the radio should be at default.
                >
                > Thanks,
                > Donovan - KF5TSH
                >
              • northernscout
                Yes, there are other sources of noise to contend with sometimes. Pot growers, as an example. Their lighting systems generate a huge amount of QRM. Another is
                Message 7 of 12 , Apr 24, 2013
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                  Yes, there are other sources of noise to contend with sometimes. Pot growers, as an example. Their lighting systems generate a huge amount of QRM. Another is data over power lines in some areas. I have had problems with arcing on power line insulators when we get misty rains and the rain drops are so tiny they get carried on air currents. A friend told me that 20m m was dead, don't know about now, that was about a week ago and 20m is normally his favorite band.
                  Donn / VA7DH

                  --- In FT897@yahoogroups.com, "Radio_Randy" <randy.jones@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > Donovan,
                  >
                  > On 20 and 6 Meters, your S meter should register next to nothing when there are no signals (with the BuddiPole). Those bands are relatively quiet, so far as noise is concerned. If you are getting measurable noise levels with your S meter, you may be suffering from excessive RF noise in your area (I know we've talked about this, before).
                  >
                  > I would take my radio and BuddiPole and find a nice quiet rural location, away from power lines and farm houses and try again. At the place where I work, 20 Meters is quite noisy, near the offices. If I move a few hundred feet away, out into the middle of a field, the noise level drops to almost nothing. The signals are then completely readable.
                  >
                  > You might also try rotating your BuddiPole to see if the noise is coming from a specific direction. I've used this feature when operating on six and two Meters with my BuddiPole.
                  >
                  > 73, Radio Randy N7CKJ
                  >
                  > --- In FT897@yahoogroups.com, "dcawood" <dcawood@> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > I am very new to HF, just got the Buddipole last night.
                  > >
                  > > I tried the 20M last night and got mostly noise.
                  > >
                  > > I tried the 2M Jpole and got great results.
                  > >
                  > > Right now, I am down to trying 6M and get mostly noise?
                  > >
                  > > My Rig Expert AA-54 shows 1.6SWR and the 897 shows about the same swr on the radio.
                  > >
                  > > Problem is... I can't seem to hear anyone well... just faint talking over ALOT of noise.
                  > >
                  > > I got to be doing something wrong. Is there a setting cheatsheet for dummies?
                  > >
                  > > Currently trying USB, AM, FM, DIG, not very good results. The settings on the radio should be at default.
                  > >
                  > > Thanks,
                  > > Donovan - KF5TSH
                  > >
                  >
                • William
                  Welcome to the HF bands! They are entirely different from VHF/FM/AM This is real radio, so do not expect the high fidelity, crystal-clear sounds you get from
                  Message 8 of 12 , Apr 24, 2013
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                    Welcome to the HF bands!
                    They are entirely different from VHF/FM/AM

                    This is real radio, so do not expect the high fidelity, crystal-clear sounds you get from short-range transmissions. SSB is varying, maybe weak signal, with lost of static.

                    It all depends on your antenna and tuner. The antenna should be trimmed (cut to length) for the band you wish to operate .. and a good antenna tuner (like the AT-897) will help a lot. At the current time, bands are in terrible shape .. very hard to hear. 20 mtrs generally ok during day .. but recently only ok at night!

                    In any case, don't give up, spend some $$$ on your antennas and tuners, and you will have a lot more fun!

                    73, Bill W1WAB


                    --- In FT897@yahoogroups.com, "dcawood" <dcawood@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > I am very new to HF, just got the Buddipole last night.
                    >
                    > I tried the 20M last night and got mostly noise.
                    >
                    > I tried the 2M Jpole and got great results.
                    >
                    > Right now, I am down to trying 6M and get mostly noise?
                    >
                    > My Rig Expert AA-54 shows 1.6SWR and the 897 shows about the same swr on the radio.
                    >
                    > Problem is... I can't seem to hear anyone well... just faint talking over ALOT of noise.
                    >
                    > I got to be doing something wrong. Is there a setting cheatsheet for dummies?
                    >
                    > Currently trying USB, AM, FM, DIG, not very good results. The settings on the radio should be at default.
                    >
                    > Thanks,
                    > Donovan - KF5TSH
                    >
                  • Charles Scott
                    Randy: That s kind of what I was thinking, but it might be nice to know more about where and how the antenna is currently deployed so we have more of a
                    Message 9 of 12 , Apr 24, 2013
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                      Randy:

                      That's kind of what I was thinking, but it might be nice to know more
                      about where and how the antenna is currently deployed so we have more of
                      a reference when he responds to your message. For example, is he trying
                      to use it on the balcony of a large apartment complex or out in a rural
                      field.

                      (Donovan, can you explain where you're testing and what's around you?)

                      Chuck - N8DNX

                      On 4/24/2013 12:56 PM, Radio_Randy wrote:
                      > Donovan,
                      > ...
                      > I would take my radio and BuddiPole and find a nice quiet rural location, away from power lines and farm houses and try again. At the place where I work, 20 Meters is quite noisy, near the offices. If I move a few hundred feet away, out into the middle of a field, the noise level drops to almost nothing. The signals are then completely readable.
                      > ...
                      > 73, Radio Randy N7CKJ
                    • Jeffrey Peters
                      Hello Donovan - KF5TSH, Please take sometime an look up HF Propagation on Google or any search engine you like. Understanding propagation will help you find
                      Message 10 of 12 , Apr 24, 2013
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                        Hello Donovan - KF5TSH,

                        Please take sometime an look up HF Propagation on Google or any search
                        engine you like. Understanding propagation will help you find other
                        stations to contact. You will learn which bands will work best at different
                        times of the day.

                        Other helpful QSO or Propagation tools are DX cluster postings and for 6
                        meters, I also find the following website called DXMaps very helpful.
                        http://www.dxmaps.com/spots/map.php?Lan=E&Frec=50&Map=NA&mycall=&myloc=&freq=&prop=
                        There you can click on the tabs and find/see where the propagation is
                        coming and going. For example today clicking on the HF tab and then 20
                        meters now a 18:45Z there is a great amount of contacts between North
                        America and Europe/Middle East.

                        The other thing to do is find some local ham radio operators that will help
                        Elmer or teach you more of the basics of amateur radio operating. Ask other
                        hams on your local VHF and UHF repeaters, ask at radio club meetings, and
                        check your zip code on QRZ.com to see how many Hams live near you. Then,
                        look up each of them on QRZ.com and send a nice general email to those who
                        have email address listed and see who might be able to help you learn. I am
                        sure you will find a few new friends that will help you get started and
                        learning more about this wonderful and interesting hobby.

                        I have been licensed since the 1960's and continue to learn something new
                        about some part of this hobby almost daily. Do not be afraid to ask
                        questions and keep asking until you fully understand.

                        73 and Good Health, Jeff - K9JP SKCC #3008T



                        On Wed, Apr 24, 2013 at 2:09 PM, William <wabarron@...> wrote:

                        > **
                        >
                        >
                        > Welcome to the HF bands!
                        > They are entirely different from VHF/FM/AM
                        >
                        > This is real radio, so do not expect the high fidelity, crystal-clear
                        > sounds you get from short-range transmissions. SSB is varying, maybe weak
                        > signal, with lost of static.
                        >
                        > It all depends on your antenna and tuner. The antenna should be trimmed
                        > (cut to length) for the band you wish to operate .. and a good antenna
                        > tuner (like the AT-897) will help a lot. At the current time, bands are in
                        > terrible shape .. very hard to hear. 20 mtrs generally ok during day .. but
                        > recently only ok at night!
                        >
                        > In any case, don't give up, spend some $$$ on your antennas and tuners,
                        > and you will have a lot more fun!
                        >
                        > 73, Bill W1WAB
                        >
                        >
                        > --- In FT897@yahoogroups.com, "dcawood" <dcawood@...> wrote:
                        > >
                        > > I am very new to HF, just got the Buddipole last night.
                        > >
                        > > I tried the 20M last night and got mostly noise.
                        > >
                        > > I tried the 2M Jpole and got great results.
                        > >
                        > > Right now, I am down to trying 6M and get mostly noise?
                        > >
                        > > My Rig Expert AA-54 shows 1.6SWR and the 897 shows about the same swr on
                        > the radio.
                        > >
                        > > Problem is... I can't seem to hear anyone well... just faint talking
                        > over ALOT of noise.
                        > >
                        > > I got to be doing something wrong. Is there a setting cheatsheet for
                        > dummies?
                        > >
                        > > Currently trying USB, AM, FM, DIG, not very good results. The settings
                        > on the radio should be at default.
                        > >
                        > > Thanks,
                        > > Donovan - KF5TSH
                        > >
                        >
                        >
                        >



                        --
                        Give this a try! ~Aspire to Inspire before you Expire~ OR ~Never be afraid
                        to try, remember...Amateurs built the ark, Professionals built the Titanic~
                        EVEN BETTER~
                        Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright
                        until you hear them speak.


                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • n7mch
                        The bands are rather iffy right now. Try WWV on 5, 10 and 15 MHz AM. If you hear those, your receiver and antenna are most likely ok. Good luck 73 de N7MCH
                        Message 11 of 12 , Apr 24, 2013
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                          The bands are rather iffy right now. Try WWV on 5, 10 and 15 MHz AM. If you hear those, your receiver and antenna are most likely ok.

                          Good luck

                          73 de N7MCH Walt

                          --- In FT897@yahoogroups.com, "dcawood" <dcawood@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > I am very new to HF, just got the Buddipole last night.
                          >
                          > I tried the 20M last night and got mostly noise.
                          >
                          > I tried the 2M Jpole and got great results.
                          >
                          > Right now, I am down to trying 6M and get mostly noise?
                          >
                          > My Rig Expert AA-54 shows 1.6SWR and the 897 shows about the same swr on the radio.
                          >
                          > Problem is... I can't seem to hear anyone well... just faint talking over ALOT of noise.
                          >
                          > I got to be doing something wrong. Is there a setting cheatsheet for dummies?
                          >
                          > Currently trying USB, AM, FM, DIG, not very good results. The settings on the radio should be at default.
                          >
                          > Thanks,
                          > Donovan - KF5TSH
                          >
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