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Technician's first radio

SuperDave

Active Member
Sep 10, 2012
157
9
28
Luling, La.
What do y'all recommend for a newly liscened technician as a first radio that is reasonable in price? Mobile and/or base radio that is.

I'm studying for my tech test but was wondering what radios to look at.

Thanks for the help
 

Grogan

W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member
Oct 1, 2011
1,122
329
93
Southern New Jersey
Sooooooo many options, New,Used, Got a trade. Whats your Budget. Also something to think about are you looking at a complete HF station. Coax, antenna and rig. Also a lot of fun on ten meters for a new teck. Handy talkie. So many directions! I hope I confused you????? :oops:
 
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SuperDave

Active Member
Sep 10, 2012
157
9
28
Luling, La.
Sooooooo many options, New,Used, Got a trade. Whats your Budget. Also something to think about are you looking at a complete HF station. Coax, antenna and rig. Also a lot of fun on ten meters for a new teck. Handy talkie. So many directions! I hope I confused you????? :oops:

Haha you didn't confuse me but I'm starting from scratch! All Ive ever owned is a CB!

I guess I'm looking for a radio in the $300-400 range and what ever antenna that accompanies it.

As for a specific frequency that I'm targeting to talk on, I have no idea. I'm just looking for action.
 

binrat

WDX Club Coordinator
Staff member
Nov 5, 2008
2,532
1,431
173
The Great White north
Get a dipole, simplest option but stay away from a G5RV. I've had very good luck with a DX-CC dipole from Alpha-Delta.
You can find many older but still good HF rig. My first was an IC-707 which was simple and fun.
 

kd-5-bgt

W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member
Nov 10, 2007
1,177
90
58
Joplin Missouri area
For local chatting a 2 meter/440 FM rig will fit the bill and you can build a Jpole for that radio for about 30$ or so that will work pretty well....

For HF,you have a small chunk of the 10 meter band ...28.300 to 28.500 for SSB voice...I have been hearing that 10 meters has been hopping the past couple of weeks.....can make world wide contacts there with 100 watts,there are nice little HF radios that can be had for about 300$ or so( or even a good old 2950 or 2970 would make a good 10 meter rig),and you can either use a retuned CB antenna or home brew a dipole for 10 meters and have at it !

Then go for the general class ticket and you are off and running on HF...I am a huge fan of 17 meters,I have contacts all over the world there running 100 watts and a off center fed windom antenna
 

Road Squawker

Sr. Member
Jan 19, 2011
1,954
1,497
173
What do y'all recommend for a newly liscened technician as a first radio that is reasonable in price? Mobile and/or base radio that is.

I'm studying for my tech test but was wondering what radios to look at.

Thanks for the help

well, I'm gonna go against the concept of a 10 meter only rig for a first radio.
you will be better off with a multi-band Amateur HF rig.

the $300 - 400 does kinda limit your posibilities tho. a 10 - 160 rig with the WARC bands, might be hard (but not impossible) to find

there a few older rigs on QTH.COM that fit your price range. a TS-130 for $275, a TS-140 for $350, ect certainly not the "best" rigs, but, for the price, you may want to consider them or other similar rigs as a "beginners" radio.

good luck
 
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Reactions: 1 person

SuperDave

Active Member
Sep 10, 2012
157
9
28
Luling, La.
For local chatting a 2 meter/440 FM rig will fit the bill and you can build a Jpole for that radio for about 30$ or so that will work pretty well....

For HF,you have a small chunk of the 10 meter band ...28.300 to 28.500 for SSB voice...I have been hearing that 10 meters has been hopping the past couple of weeks.....can make world wide contacts there with 100 watts,there are nice little HF radios that can be had for about 300$ or so( or even a good old 2950 or 2970 would make a good 10 meter rig),and you can either use a retuned CB antenna or home brew a dipole for 10 meters and have at it !

Then go for the general class ticket and you are off and running on HF...I am a huge fan of 17 meters,I have contacts all over the world there running 100 watts and a off center fed windom antenna

That sounds pretty fun! I'm always on the look out for a 2950 or a 2970.

well, I'm gonna go against the concept of a 10 meter only rig for a first radio.
you will be better off with a multi-band Amateur HF rig.

the $300 - 400 does kinda limit your posibilities tho. a 10 - 160 rig with the WARC bands, might be hard (but not impossible) to find

there a few older rigs on QTH.COM that fit your price range. a TS-130 for $275, a TS-140 for $350, ect certainly not the "best" rigs, but, for the price, you may want to consider them or other similar rigs as a "beginners" radio.

good luck

I was waiting on some one to say get a multi band! During my "google" search I ran across a guy who was recommending a multi band receiver if you can afford it, but once I saw the $1,200 price tag I almost choked! :laugh: I know you gotta pay to play trust me, but my other addiction is fishing and I've got some things to upgrade on my Merc 250 Pro XS first!

Maybe I'll stumble across a used multi band for a good price... Oh wait, I need to pass the test first! :laugh:
 

cycleguru

W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member
Aug 4, 2013
34
5
18
When I first got my tech ticket I bought an ICOM T70A dual band HT for $239 and had a ball ragchewing on local repeaters. When I got my general I started out with a borrowed Kenwood TS-130 and power supply, a G5RV, and a cheap antenna tuner (which I still use every day) and talked all over the world. Total cost to get started on HF was about $200.

73 and have fun! :D

Mark K7OWG
 
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unit248

Active Member
Nov 26, 2010
134
29
28
If you're looking for an HF radio, a lot of the older Kenwood rigs go for around $300 to $400, including the TS-430S, TS-440S and TS-140S. The 440 is the only one that has a built-in antenna tuner though, and it's a bit more to the high end of the scale (around $450).

Another possible option, if you can stretch a little more, is to pick up a TS-480:

QTH.COM Ham Radio Classified Ads: Ad# 1093484 - Swap amateur radio HF VHF equipment buy sell trade on line

You get a rig that's great for either base or mobile (though you'll need a power supply to use it as a base), with built-in tuner and 6 meter coverage. I know a couple of guys who have them for mobile use and they swear by them.

The only down side is that's a lot of radio to have for just a technician license, so you may be constantly tempted to upgrade to general. Though maybe that's not such a bad thing. ;)

-Bill
 

KD4UPL

Member
Aug 5, 2012
51
9
18
45
My first "HF" rig was a Radio Shack HTX-100. There a great little 10 meter radio with 25w. I had that radio hooked to a 3 element beam and I talked all over the US and South America.
For a low cost first HFmulti-band rig try an Icom 730 or 751A. For 2 meters you can pick up an older mobile for $100 to $150. You can get an older model 2m/70cm mobile for $150 to $200.
Personally I've had very poor experiences with Kenwood products. All the other brands have served me well.
 

4ZERO99

Member
Jun 25, 2013
50
8
18
SuperDave, I am/was in the same position as you as I just got my Tech and I purchased a Yaesu 2900 2 meter and love it but am looking at getting a Yaesu FT 450D or something close to it already so I can use it after I hopefully pass the General either next week (I don't think I'm ready yet) or next month when I'll be more ready, I have a couple of local hams keeping an eye out for me for something I may be interested in as there is so much to choose from. The biggest problem I have is where to string the multiband dipol as space is a premium.
73's
 

2RT307

Sr. Member
Nov 22, 2011
2,326
793
223
Texas
300-400 bucks is tough to do. I see you're fairly close to a lot of repeaters for 2M/440. 10-18 miles from Luling. You could probably hit the 2M ones with a HT and J Pole. Or you can get a decent mobile antenna with some gain for your vehicle. The Baofeng UV-5R can be had for about 38 bucks shipped to your front door. Easy to program with Chirp (free program), but you'll need the cable to hook it up to your computer. They run about 10 bucks on the internet, or again... borrow one from another ham. You might find a club member that would even give you an old mag mount mobile antenna or a J pole for the house. Get an adapter for the HT and you're on the air for less than 50 bucks. I'd lean more towards a used HF rig than an export radio, unless you come across a killer deal on a President or Ranger. The Yaesu FT-747 and Kenwood TS-430S usually fall into the 350 or less price range. Make a dipole for 10 meters out of whatever wire you have sitting around, or use an extension cord (HomerBB described how somewhere on the antenna forum). Next problem is a power supply... but I'm assuming since you've been a CB'er that you already have one. A good 20-30 amp one will run an HF rig. 10 meters has been HOT, and contacts into Europe seem to be pretty easy right now.

Best of luck, and let us know how you make out!

73,
RT307
 
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2RT307

Sr. Member
Nov 22, 2011
2,326
793
223
Texas
Superdave, I forgot to ask where your interests lie? Do you want to play on 2M/220/440 FM? Or are you more interested in working DX on 10 meters, with plans to get General? Some guys are completely happy with their Tech privileges, and don't care to move up. I didn't think I'd like 2M and 440 very much, but I've found it to be pretty fun and interesting. But, I still want to get General. :)

73,
RT307
 

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