Thursday, September 17, 2009

What to Look for in Your First Radio

When selecting your first radio, you must first decide what you want to do with it. Everything else follows that question. If you only want to communicate part time over long distances as a hobby,then you will want a HF base radio. If you want a more reliable way to communicate in your local area then you need a 2 meter or dual band 2 meter/70 cm radio.
2 meter is the closest thing we have to a common band for all area hams to communicat with each other.  The equipment is fairly inexpensive, readily available. and in widespread use.
Check with your local ham club or repeater directoryfor the repeaters in our area. Most areas have plenty of 2 meter repeaters and some 70 cm.Buy a dual band if you can, as they are not much more expensive and 70cm repeaters are beign put up more rapidly. Cross band repeat is also a useful feature if your budget allows.
A decent antenna is a MUST! Even a slight amount of gain will make a big difference.
As time and money allow, expand or upgrade your system as your needs and interests dictate. Dont forget back up power for emergency use and grid power failures.
I like the Yaesu 8800 for mobile and base use. The Yaesu 70 is a good handheld dual band radio
Written by
Ken Tuning

To start with...

So, you want to get into Amateur radio?
Heres a quick introduction on how:
Go to the ARRL website and look up Amateur Radio clubs in your local area. There are thousands of clubs worldwide!
Find out when they meet, and go to the meeting. At this point, let the members know your interest in Amateur radio. Many of the "seasoned" hams  will be happy to help.
 The first level of licensing is the Technician license, next is the General license, then the highest is the Extra class. The Technician class license is good for 10 years. You do NOT have to take the Morse code test anymore to become licensed.
There are many study books out there to take the test. sells a great book to study from to take your first test:
.  This is Gordons Wests book. He tends to be not as technical as some of the manuals out there. You still learn but it really is simplified.
The test consists of 35 questions, drawn fro a pool if questions. You take the test at a qualified Ham club that is approved by the ARRL. The testers have to meet certain standards in order to be able to administer the test. After you take the test and pass, then the hard part comes: waiting for your call sign to show up on the FCC database! This takes about a week. Once you have your callsign, you can start using your new radio.
Which brings me to my next post: