I'm brand new to amateur radio. I got my license over a year ago and haven't done a single thing with it since. The reason is that I don't know what equipment to get, and I don't even know where to begin. I don't even know whether to go HF or VHF/UHF. I don't know anything. What questions do I need to ask myself before getting the equipment I need?
At this time I think I have a price range of up to $1000 or so, for everything.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
If it were me I would pick up a cheep 2 meter rig on eBay, you should be able to find one for around 100$ and buy some coax and make a vertical antenna. There are lots of plans out there for a Jpole (not a bad antenna and easy to make) or a 1/4 wave.
Scan the band and listen, find some local people and get to know them. they will be able to give you glues about used equipment in your area and help you lean to make your first HF antenna (normally just a wire) coax will be the most expensive thing you will need at first in the antenna department.
Once you get a idea from talking with your new friends of what HF rig you would like start looking. I have had better experience on eBay than I have had on Ham Classifieds or Swap and Shops. On eBay you have the persons feedback to look at and if you pay via paypal they have a guarantee if things go wrong and you cant get the seller make it right.
I have purchased on eBay in the last 5 years when I got active again, a ICOM 756 Pro III, Kenwood 2000, Kenwood 480 sat, ICOM 2820, 2 Ameritron ALS-600 Amps, and lots of other stuff I just dont remember now. I have had good luck but and this is important you MUST READ every word in the auction!
Your best resource will be the local gang, you will have to scan for awhile, In my experience you will find the people that have been doing it awhile and willing to help you on Simplex.
Have fun, I hope to catch you on the bands someday. if you are a computer nut download echolink software (its free on the web) you will have to register (prove you are a ham) and give me a call on echolink (KA8OCN-L) we have a echolink simplex link on 223.420 and there is a good group of guys on that freq.