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New radio for a new user


Desperado, 785
Aug 16, 2013
Bangor, ME
I am just now starting on getting into the amateur radio. I want to get a radio primarily to listen in on. Then go on to getting a license if I like it. I have considered the Alinco DJ-V57T and the Kenwood TM-281A. What do you guys think would be a better initial purchase?



W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member
Dec 8, 2010
The Alinco DJ-V57T looks like a good choice. Instead of the Kenwood TM-281A, I would get a dual band.

But if there isn't any 70cm users in your area, the Kenwood would be a good choice.


Sr. Member
Nov 22, 2011
I agree with the previous post, but you also have some other options. Contact your local ham radio club and see which bands have the most activity. My particular area is heavy in two meters and 70cm, but other places are heavier in 220. If you buy a dual band 2M/70cm, you may be wasting your money if everyone is on 220 in your area. IF you find that 2m/70cm is strong in your area, a really cheap and easy way to listen is getting a Baofeng HT. The UV-5R has been discussed a lot on this forum. Easy to program with Chirp, and it's a free program. You can usually get the HT and programming cable shipped to your door for less than 50 bucks. Should you get your license, it's always good to have an HT!

BTW, the Kenwood TM-V71A is a really sweet dual band rig. I've really been enjoying mine for the last couple of months.



W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member
Apr 18, 2005
You could buy a Pol;ice scanner and do the same I have several police scanners and will be posting a few. If this would be something that may work for you let me know I would sell you one cheap and program it for your local repeaters ETC all Ide need is your state, Town and zip code

Only reason I bring this up is I have had friends tell me they were going to get their license and bought all this equipment and guess what? THEY NEVER DID and lost money on all they had they decided they no longer needed or wanted.

All in all its obviously completely up to you what makes most sense to you in how you would want to approach this just my 2 cents.


Aug 5, 2012
First of all, I would look at used gear for your first radio. It will save you money, especially if you aren't sure you will get into the hobby. There's less money lost when you sell it.
You only mentioned VHF/UHF rigs. Are you interested in listening to world wide communication on HF?
An HT won't hear much without an external antenna. You might mistakenly think there's not much activity in your area when really the little rubber duck just can't hear it.
Do you plan on listening from home or in a car?
I would start with a 2 meter mobile rig. you can find an older used one for less than $100. You'll need an antenna, either base or mobile. Anything cheap will work. You can even make you're own 1/4 wave antenna with not much more than 19" of copper wire.
If you want to listen to HF an old Icom 730 or something similar can be had for a few hundred dollars. You can make your own HF receiving antenna with most any random length of wire strung thru the trees.


W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member
Sep 13, 2012
I actually have the 281a along with other nicer rigs. I'm still using the 281 everyday mobile.


W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member
Aug 4, 2013
+1 what KD4UPL said. VHF/UHF is such a small slice of the ham radio pie. I started out with a dual band HT and ran with it until the day I visited a friend's shack and participated in some around-the-world HF! I was hooked and have never looked back. IMHO, HF and DX'ing are where it's at. But, hey, I know guys who live and die with 2M. The point is that in ham radio there's something for everybody.

Mark K7OWG


New Member
Nov 30, 2013
I'd buck the trend and go all out and buy an Icom IC 7000. I started off buying budget receiver's and then upgrading and lost a lot of money. If you break the bank and buy an Icom 7000 to begin with you will already have an all mode all band transceiver when you get a license[and in the mean time a very good HF/VHF/UHF receiver]. In the long run you will save money. Look on eBay for one in mint condition. Of course this may not be the best bet if you do not intend on sticking with the hobby although transceivers have a much better resale value.

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