I've wanted to get into amateur radio for a really long time and finally had the funds to get started. I have read the Ham Radio 101 thread a couple of times now and some of it is starting to get through my thick skull, but I do have a couple of questions that I didn't see there. Just so you know, so far my system consists of the following: An IC 208H and an SWR meter, a homemade copper cactus J pole antenna I haven't mounted yet, and a ground plane antenna both made from the many articles on the web.
I don't take my exams until next week, but I have been using the ground plane antenna to listen to whatever I can find, and it got me wondering: For purposes of receive only, is the antenna design as crucial as for transmit? Will the J pole antenna efficiently "pull in" all the frequencies that the 208H is capable of? If not I guess I would need another type of antenna and an antenna switch?
Also related to the J pole, I thought about mounting it to one of the vent pipes coming up through the roof of my house, but I am not sure if that would be sufficient or not. It doesn't seem like the J pole would be physically affected by wind too much, but the last thing I need are leaks into my attic. That brings up another question, do you guys use a commercial bulkhead of some sort for where the coax penetrates the roof?
Lastly, speaking of holes in the house, the room where my radio is set up has no windows but does have French doors going out to the back yard. I was thinking of running a short length of coax down to one of these: http://www.cometantenna.com/newPro_detail.php?ID=264 that would go through the normally closed side of the French doors, then up the outside wall to a nearby soffet vent and then up through the roof to the antenna. Has anyone used these door passthroughs? It seems like it should work, but if it is not worth the money I guess I can drill a hole in the wall.
Anyway, thanks for any insights you can provide and please be gentle, I'm sure I will have many more questions in the future.
First off, welcome to Amateur Radio! It's worse than BRD. To answer some of your Q's.
Recieve antenna design isn't as critical as a transmitting antenna unless you are dealing with traps or tuned circuits. Your J pole will recieve all the freqs the 208 is capable of. However it won't be as efficient out of band.
The vent pipe should work fine. J poles don't have alot of wind load. Pass coax through the wall, not the roof. I havent used the pass through in the link, but a short jumper made from rg174 would probably be my choice for getting out the door if you don't want to drill. My motto is "drill baby drill".
Good luck on the test! Are you going to take the General test too?
Thanks for the welcome, I can already see that this is going to be another expensive disease!
So rather then go through the roof I should just run the coax up the outside wall of the house and then over the gutter and onto the roof? Seems a little unsightly.
I am planning on trying the General exam the same day, assuming of course that I do well on the Technician exam...