What you look for in HAM equipment?

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cpsTN

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I am just wading in here to see what I should look for in equipment and price range if I decide to get one.

Charles
Smyrna, TN
 

kb2vxa

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That question is too vague for an answer. There is SO much for SO many purposes and SO many prices you'll have to narrow it WAY down before we can even begin.
 

MOGA

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OK. Lets start with which bands are available and which ones are more desirable.

Charles
Smyrna, TN
More desirable for what use? Would need to know how you plan on using HAM first. CW, phone, digital? Emcomms, ragchew, contesting, etc? How far do you want to transmit? Do you have acreage to put up an antenna farm or are you in an apartment or a home with a HOA that doesn't allow arrays? Do you need portable, mobile, or base comms? What is your budget? How much do you know about radio? You gotta help us out a little more.
 

n5ims

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While specifics on what you want to do is important, here are some generalized answers that should help out in nearly all situations.

Find a local amateur radio club and start attending meetings. While many of them no longer have equipment available for use, some do and will be happy to show you how to use them legally within your license class. Often they will have several stations available that are by different manufacturers so you can see which you like best. You should also be able to find members that will be happy to show you their station so you can get some 'hands on' use prior to spending any money.

Unless you're looking to get a fairly inexpensive VHF and/or UHF radio, start out by getting a used radio from a local ham. Generally these are good values and working as expected (since they're local you often can use them prior to deciding to purchase). A local hamfest is nearly as good a place to shop for used equipment but you may not know for certain if there's any hidden damage. If later you want to trade up or just don't like how that one works, you can probably sell it for nearly all you paid to get it.

While e-bay and other sites may have some good deals, you won't know what you're getting until it's paid for. All too often the pictures of "the radio being auctioned' are ones taken from other auctions or 'rig pics' sites that tell you nothing about what you're getting. While many of the auctions are legit and done honestly, if you end up getting junk, that 'good deal' ends up just being money thrown away on junk.
 

ki4rvh

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It is hard to answer this question becasue there are many ways you can go. Here is one scenario. Many of the newly licensed Techs in my area tend to start out with some sort of 2 meter rig. Assuming you have active repeaters in your area that might be the way you would like to go. I just looked on a map and you are not too far from Nashville. I know they have a good number of repeaters. Depending on how high a repeater you may have in your area you can get regional coverage with this ie, 50- 100 miles depending on the repeater. A decent 2 meter mobile rig can be had for $150-$200 new. Used of course cheaper. Then you need a power supply probably another $50. Antennas can be anywhere from $25 to $200 and on up. You can even build one yourself if you want. My first antenna was homebrew. I used stuff I got for free. It cost me nothing. You'll need some coax too. That'll all depend on where you put your antenna and how good a coax you can afford to buy. Of course you can put it in your vehicle you won't need a supply and your antenna will probably include coax.

Just what do you want to do with Ham radio? That will help people give you better answers.
 

crayon

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I am just wading in here to see what I should look for in equipment and price range if I decide to get one.
I usually start with my cash flow. Is it positive or negative? Then from there move into some fiduciary cost/benefit ratio analysis that would make credit default swaps look like childs play to come up with a decision.

:D

If money is no object, then get what you want.
 
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nexus

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Can't answer your questions until you tell us a little about what it is you want to do, and what is your license allows.

If you're into FM, then I would suggest a Yaesu FT-7900 dual band mobile, or a Yaesu FT-60r dual band handheld.

If you're insterested in SSB, I would suggest the Icom IC-7000 which is a compact full HF/VHF/UHF radio but it has many full size HF abilities. I really like this one, and I've owned/own many HF radios, it by far is my favorite.

You really need to be more specific on what you're going to use the radios for so we can give you some suggestions.
 

nexus

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OK. Lets start with which bands are available and which ones are more desirable.

Charles
Smyrna, TN

Study for your license, then GET your license and then come back and ask. Because no licensed amateur would ever or should ever ask a question like that.
 

elk2370bruce

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OK. Lets start with which bands are available and which ones are more desirable.

Charles
Smyrna, TN
Okay, its time for you to begin some personal research as a potential amateur radio operator. Your questions indicate that you really don't have a clue yet. Take a look at ARRL.org and get a copy of Now You're Talking. It will answer a lot of your beginner questions about licensing requirements, benefits, band privileges, and obligations. While on the ARRL site, click on clubs and find one close to you. You will benefit greatly from personal interaction with experienced hams. Its a great hobby and there are lots of experienced people around to help you get started on the right footing.
 

cpsTN

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Study for your license, then GET your license and then come back and ask. Because no licensed amateur would ever or should ever ask a question like that.[/QUOTE

If I don't know ANYTHING about it, and I can't ask questions LIKE THAT until I am licensed, and I can't get licensed until I know in which direction to go, then I should stop. I will look into some clubs or books for beginners and start there, as some people have suggested. Thank everyone for your time.

Charles
Smyrna, TN
 

N8IAA

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Study for your license, then GET your license and then come back and ask. Because no licensed amateur would ever or should ever ask a question like that.[/QUOTE

If I don't know ANYTHING about it, and I can't ask questions LIKE THAT until I am licensed, and I can't get licensed until I know in which direction to go, then I should stop. I will look into some clubs or books for beginners and start there, as some people have suggested. Thank everyone for your time.

Charles
Smyrna, TN
Charles, before I got licensed back in May of 1985, I asked a ton of questions. I was asked a ton of questions about when I was going to upgrade to Tech/Gen license to talk on repeaters. My main source of ham contacts was via my $100 hf radio bought from a club member. It involved a simple used 5 band hf antenna and some coax for under $50. Oh, and a gift of a navy straight key to QSO. So, ask questions, there are still some hams who will answer them for you. Include me in that group that likes to help, not hinder. I was lucky enough to 'Elmered' by a friend I fished and hunted with. The most common way to get into ham radio is on the Tech license, it requires common sense and a little knowledge of electronics. Rules are the most important. Plug in some local 2m and 73cm repeaters into your scanner and listen. You will get an idea of what and what not to do on the air. My first vhf rig was a 2m ht. Wished I could have gotten a mobile then, but, the ht allowed me portability and access to a lot of local repeaters. Radios have definitely more sophisticated in the last 25 years.
HTH,
Larry

Oh, by the way, did you get your scanner up and running on the trunked system??
 

kb2vxa

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"f I don't know ANYTHING about it, and I can't ask questions LIKE THAT until I am licensed, and I can't get licensed until I know in which direction to go, then I should stop."

WOAH! Easy there big feller, for one thing you're putting the cart before the horse. OK, you misunderstood his comment so here it is quite simply.

"I will look into some clubs or books for beginners and start there, as some people have suggested."

That's only common sense, the first step toward getting a license. In the process you'll learn what Amateur Radio has to offer. All your questions will be answered and you can base your decisions as to what you want to do with the hobby, the equipment you'll need and what you'll need to spend. The short version is license first, then equipment depending on what you want to do with it.

"Thank everyone for your time."

Oh you're quite welcome but next time please put a little more thought into questions before asking them. Unfortunately this is a common mistake that sends everybody scrambling trying to figure out what you mean. Perhaps a good preface would be "I don't know where to start but I would like to know..." so somebody can tell you where to start and you'll be off in the right direction with your next question, one thing leads to another and we have a discussion.
 

cpsTN

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"f I don't know ANYTHING about it, and I can't ask questions LIKE THAT until I am licensed, and I can't get licensed until I know in which direction to go, then I should stop."

WOAH! Easy there big feller, for one thing you're putting the cart before the horse. OK, you misunderstood his comment so here it is quite simply.

"I will look into some clubs or books for beginners and start there, as some people have suggested."

That's only common sense, the first step toward getting a license. In the process you'll learn what Amateur Radio has to offer. All your questions will be answered and you can base your decisions as to what you want to do with the hobby, the equipment you'll need and what you'll need to spend. The short version is license first, then equipment depending on what you want to do with it.

"Thank everyone for your time."

Oh you're quite welcome but next time please put a little more thought into questions before asking them. Unfortunately this is a common mistake that sends everybody scrambling trying to figure out what you mean. Perhaps a good preface would be "I don't know where to start but I would like to know..." so somebody can tell you where to start and you'll be off in the right direction with your next question, one thing leads to another and we have a discussion.
I am not upset but it sounded to me as though I was being blown off due to my ignorance. It is as though, I am being told to go fishing without knowing what water is. I will do some research and keep "monitoring" here. Didn't mean to get under anyone's skin.

Charles
Smyrna, TN
 

cpsTN

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Oh, by the way, did you get your scanner up and running on the trunked system??
Larry. I am still receiving the same transmissions from the same two freqs. I am on the road to hookingup with someone near me to "put this to rest". By reading it and doing it, I know it is not as complicated as I am making it. Thank You.

Charles
Smyrna, TN
 
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elk2370bruce

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I am not upset but it sounded to me as though I was being blown off due to my ignorance. It is as though, I am being told to go fishing without knowing what water is. I will do some research and keep "monitoring" here. Didn't mean to get under anyone's skin.

Charles
Smyrna, TN
Lighten up! You're not being blown off. Everyone is trying to point you in the right directiion. Books have been written about getting started and there is even more to be learned from experienced amateurs - hence the suggestion that you begin to read up and get some in-person guidance.Like anything else, there are no simplistic answers where previous knowledge is non-existent.
 

cpsTN

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Lighten up! You're not being blown off. Everyone is trying to point you in the right directiion. Books have been written about getting started and there is even more to be learned from experienced amateurs - hence the suggestion that you begin to read up and get some in-person guidance.Like anything else, there are no simplistic answers where previous knowledge is non-existent.
I know everything is cool. It just seemed like the one guy didn't want to talk because I didn't what to ask or even what not to ask. Maybe he didn't know how what he wrote sounded when it was read. I did get some good suggestions though.
 

ki4rvh

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