What Kind of Ham Radio To Get?
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  1. #1
    Major Foxtrapper's Avatar
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    Default What Kind of Ham Radio To Get?

    Yea, I know, depends on what you want to do. But, hoping someone can point me in the direction of an affordable base radio that will be dependable as well as do the basics..

    Maybe one of the experts on here could detail what a good system would consist of, and ballpark price..

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  3. #2
    Sergeant
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    This thread had some good recommendations:

    http://www.nyfirearms.com/forums/pre...omms-shtf.html
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  4. #3
    Major Kentuckyrifleman's Avatar
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    Affordable and base station don't usually go together but it really depends on what you consider affordable. Brands like alinco are cheap but you could get what you pay for. I'm assuming you want a general coverage tranciever. Cheapest I can see is the alinco dx-sr8t at about $500. What kind of license do you have? If you're only a tech you can only use the HF bands for cw (Morse code), except for 10 m and up.
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  6. #4
    Sergeant Jackalope's Avatar
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    It depends upon your budget. Ten-Tec makes some decent radios, which are manufactured here in the U.S. Kenwood, Yaesu and Icom all make decent radios as well. It also depends upon your intended use, i.e. CW vs. SSB vs. digital. If you're looking to save some money, you can find a used radio on www.qth.com or www.eham.com or at a hamfest. With the warmer weather, you might attend a hamfest and see how various radios function firsthand.

  7. #5
    Major Foxtrapper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kentuckyrifleman View Post
    Affordable and base station don't usually go together but it really depends on what you consider affordable. Brands like alinco are cheap but you could get what you pay for. I'm assuming you want a general coverage tranciever. Cheapest I can see is the alinco dx-sr8t at about $500. What kind of license do you have? If you're only a tech you can only use the HF bands for cw (Morse code), except for 10 m and up.
    Going to take the tech test on Sunday..then going to work on the general next, should have that one by the end of the year if not sooner..

    Quote Originally Posted by Jackalope View Post
    It depends upon your budget. Ten-Tec makes some decent radios, which are manufactured here in the U.S. Kenwood, Yaesu and Icom all make decent radios as well. It also depends upon your intended use, i.e. CW vs. SSB vs. digital. If you're looking to save some money, you can find a used radio on www.qth.com or www.eham.com or at a hamfest. With the warmer weather, you might attend a hamfest and see how various radios function firsthand.
    Are there any local hamfests? Never been to one, and never seen one advertised..

    I looked at the HF radios, but haven't priced out any of the extras like the antenna, test equipment, cables, mics etc..

  8. #6
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  9. #7
    Major Foxtrapper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phauxtoe View Post
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  10. #8
    Sergeant Jackalope's Avatar
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    Here's a link to the ARRL hamfest and convention calendar: Hamfests and Conventions Calendar If you're getting your license, I'd recommend becoming an ARRL member, their monthly publication QST has a listing of upcoming hamfests, but the link allows you to focus on a region, State, etc.

  11. #9
    Corporal k2jlx's Avatar
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    It really depends what capabilities you are looking for and what bands the radio will transmit, if you are looking for a simple 2 meter/70cm base they are plentiful and cheap; since you are going for your general I would look into getting a radio that does HF (1.8-28mhz), 6 meters, 2 meters and 70cm, the Yaesu FT-857D or FT-897D would be good ways to go. Don't expect much change from $1000 for a 897D:

    YAESU FT-897D | FT897 HF TRANSCEIVER /6/2/440 W/TCXO

    Of course you'll need to consider an antenna, and if you get into HF a tuner as well.

  12. #10
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    Research antennas too- depending on how much land you have and your topography. I would say the antenna is just as important or more important than your radio. If you have a lot of land- set up a bunch of dipoles and your all set- if you do not have a lot of land you may have to get a vertical.

    In terms of radios- Icom, Yaesu, Kenwood, Ten-Tec are all great brands. You will probably have to get a switching power supply too depending on the radio you get.

  13. #11
    Major Foxtrapper's Avatar
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    I haven't done any research on antennas yet, I know you can make your own, but not sure what is involved in that. I know the answer to this question, but gonna ask it anyways. How important is antenna height? Do I really need to get it up 50-100 feet? I have put up towers before, as I have two windmills, one on a 50' tower and one on a 35 foot tower. Is it possible to use one of those towers, or does the antenna have to be on the very top?

  14. #12
    Corporal k2jlx's Avatar
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    Verticals are good in limited lot space, but be aware they need radials....again, it really depends on if you will be active in VHF/UHF or HF -- HF antennas by their very nature are larger and more difficult to get in the air, a good multiband dipole is a great start and with a tuner will get you on HF pretty quick.

    Antenna height above ground is important, for dipoles the higher you get the lower the take off angle gets, which depending on condx means more distant DX, but there is of course a level where it no longer makes a difference.. its a complicated subject!

  15. #13
    Sergeant
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    You can probably use the towers you have if you want to put a vertical on it.

  16. #14
    Colonel HighlandLofts's Avatar
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    An aquaintence of mine has a bunch of ham radio components, Hid Great Uncle died and he took the stuff so it wouldn't get trashed ewhen they cleaned out the house. He's not sure what he has, if any one is interested I can get pictures of whats there and see where it goes from there. He is located in Silvana, WA.

    If any one is interested please PM me, I might not be back on to this thread.
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  17. #15
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    Antennas are just as important, if not more important, than the radio itself. But the most important piece of any radio setup is knowledge and experience. There are contests for low power operations, called QRP. Here's an interesting page showing some mobile QRP setups: Going Portable | Q R P e r
    That page is actually interesting to see what you can do for portable comms.

    But the real question is what type of operation are you planning on focusing on. VHF/UHF or HF. I've got a Tech license, so I only have experience with VHF/UHF, but long ago, before I got my HAM license (OK, feeling old now), I had a CB that also handled SSB and was able to get some long distance comms with that rig, like NYC to Florida on 12 W SSB operation with a quarter wave antenna mounted to a ground plane on a flat roof. That's what piqued my interest in HAM radio when I was in junior high. You can see similar tropo ducting or skip with VHF, but it is much less common.

    One thing that I have thought about is what will happen if there is an EMP. Unless properly shielded, any current commercially available radio will most likely be fried in a strong enough EMP or solar flare, but older tube radios may survive. I have considered upgrading to General or Extra and getting an old tube HF radio to get some HF practice.
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  18. #16
    Major Foxtrapper's Avatar
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    I crammed for and passed the general test on Sunday. Don't have my call sign yet, but should have it by Friday. Came really close to getting the extra the same night, missed it by one question..ugh..

  19. #17
    Sergeant Jackalope's Avatar
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    Yup, you'll have to get a radio soon to try out the new callsign. There are so many aspects to the hobby, i.e. satellite comms, digital HF, moonbounce, etc. Don't get overwhelmed, and it helps to find a local Elmer to pick up operating hints.

    For those that are active DXer's, I'll be operating as 4S7ASG from Sri Lanka in less than 2 weeks, mostly SSB on 10 and 20 meters.

  20. #18
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    on a side note for any American Legion members-American Legion Amateur Radio Club
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