Ham radio suggestions

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I am currrently preparing to take my amateur radio operator's test (no code technician). I have found the $12 or so test preparation manual from Radio Shack to be more than sufficient (and not unduely difficult!). Does anyone have a suggestion for a good radio (transciever) with capability on the 6 meter band (SSB), that isn't too expensive? I would consider a kit. Also, antenna hints, anyone? Suggested sources would be great! I live in a slight valley, and would need to get some elevation for adequate "view". My main concern is long distance communication. I'll also have marine band radio capability.

-- Mad Monk (madmonk@hawaiian.net), July 21, 1999


Welcome to the hobby!! :) Now get out your checkbook!!

I have used and been happy with rigs from ICOM and Kenwood. A good source for rigs, new, is Ham Radio Outlet. Another source for used equipment is the newgroup rec.radio.amateur.equipment. Get a 2meter rig as well is possible. Good for VHF line of sight commo if the local repeaters run out of power. Get a Ringo 2meter antenna, they are simple and last. Look aorund for a book by William Orr on building antennas. Great book to start with. You can build a set of dipoles and be on the air in no time. Just need some solid core wire and some coax.

If you want to spend the money look at a beam antenna. I have a Force12 that works great. I can cover 40 thru 10 meters with it. I use a dipole for 80 meters. Height is a big asset in a beam antenna. I'm up about 75 feet on my tower. Average height is about 50 feet which works well.

-- Freelancer (mercenary2000@yahoo.com), July 22, 1999.

Hit eBAY for radio equipment at great prices. Make sure whoever you buy from has a call sign, and check it against the on line databases. Few hams will try to gip another ham on equipment. They are usually painstakingly honest.

Also, try putting a 'wanted' ad in the local paper. Such an ad landed me an entire ham shack full of equipment, most top of the line if a bit older, for only $400

-- Art Welling (artw@lancnews.infi.net), July 22, 1999.

mad monk, if you live in a "slight valley" and you want HF, there shouldn't be a problem. VHF and UHF SSB would be a problem where you are, though.

-- jocelyne slough (jonslough@tln.net), July 22, 1999.

While it is true that with a technician license 6 meters is your best bet for long distance communications, but unfortunately it's really not that good for that purpose. You'll be much better off biting the bullet and learning Morse code so you can use the 40 and 80 meter bands. There are two problems with six meters: first, its propagation is very unreliable; and second, mostly for that reason, there is very little traffic.

-- Steve Heller (stheller@koyote.com), July 25, 1999.


By now you've probably scanned the thread started by BigDog -- has a lot of relevant stuff for you. Only other point to mention at this time is that you do NOT want to build an HF transceiver from a kit -- way too complicated unless you're a techie, and have loads of time. (I'm not talking about 'QRP' kits -- they're OK, and fun to build. Unfortunately aside from their flea power -- 5 watts & under -- they're CW only -- you NEED fone in post-y2k.)


-- William J. Schenker, MD (wjs@linkfast.net), July 26, 1999.

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