Amateur radio has been around since the turn of the 20th century, a practical hobby for tech-savvy people who enjoy building their equipment and communicating with each other. The hobby even survived a short-lived government ban after WWII, when authorities banned citizens from owning communications devices without a proper license. Fortunately, the ban was lifted in 1957.
New amateur radio enthusiasts can find themselves overwhelmed when trying to find the right equipment for them, especially since there are so many manufacturers to choose from. After all, they want something that will last for them (and their families) for years to come. For this reason, we have put together this buying guide for amateur radio equipment.
First, learn the language of amateur radio.
The best way to learn the language of amateur radio is to listen, listen, listen. The airwaves are full of conversations about everything from gear to news around town to emergency preparedness.
Here are some things to look for when listening:
- Looks like they all know what they’re talking about (when transmitting)?
- Are they talking about local news and events?
- Is their signal clear and easy to understand?
- Do they speak on a narrower band (higher frequency) or more commonly on a wider broadcast band (lower frequency)?
- Is the repeater talking (listen only) or is it open (listen and talk), or is one of these two more popular? As a general rule, the wider the band, the more open it is, while more congested bands can only be in communication.
The second step is to decide on the type of communication you want.
Amateur radio or “amateur radio” is a great hobby that can save your life in the event of a disaster. What many people don’t realize is that amateur radio can be used for more than just communication. It can also be used to monitor the Emergency Alert System (EAS), helping you know when to tune in to local TV or radio broadcasts after a major event. Amateur radio can also be used to monitor high-level government communications, allowing you to keep up with the news even if the internet is down after an event.
Great tip: The most important piece of equipment for amateur radio is the transceiver.
Third, consider your budget and your needs.
When shopping for amateur radio equipment, it helps to consider your needs and your budget. Will you be camping or hiking? Do you plan to participate in emergency preparedness exercises? Are you interested in using the equipment for maritime communications? If your answer is yes, take a look at this portable $ 600 setup that’s perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. Otherwise, go for something cheaper, like this famous $ 300 combo set. Confused About How Much Equipment You Will Need? Think about how many people you want to talk to at a time. Most CB radios come with two channels; however, four-channel models are available for around $ 400. Be prepared to splurge if you want more than that, as eight-channel radios cost a lot more.
A few points to note:
- A new amateur radio (amateur radio) is very expensive. For starters, you can buy an older model on eBay or at hamfests. This has the advantage of being cheap and having good used parts like mic buttons and clips.
- If you want a newer radio with all modern features, you can buy a brand new radio from a dealer. You will pay the cost of the new radio and shipping, but it may be worth getting a high quality radio with fast shipping and good customer service.
- A used amateur radio is a third option. You can find them on eBay or at hamfests for $ 50 to $ 100. A used radio will likely perform as well as a new one, but it may require spare parts and repairs. If you are planning to get involved in the hobby, investing in a good used radio might be the most profitable way to get involved.
- You will need amateur radio antennas to use your amateur radio. The most popular type for a new ham is a “cheap antenna” made up of a few pieces of wire stuck in a tree or fence post. You’ll want to invest in a beam antenna from a ham vendor for longer distances or hills between you and another ham.
- A great place to buy all of your ham radio equipment is a local ham radio club. They usually meet monthly and most have public “huts” where they store their equipment. They have technicians who can help you assemble your radios and antennas.
- The last thing you will notice about amateur radios is the number of different names associated with them. Some of them are just different terms for the same thing, while others are completely different. When you browse the brands, you’ll notice that one or two names come up more than others. One of them is Baofeng, which is probably the most popular brand right now. Another is Wouxun, which is also very popular. That being said, these aren’t the only great brands, so don’t feel pressured into choosing one of them. If you do decide to go for ham radio, you really can’t go wrong with which brand you decide to go with.
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