by KI4HBX on July 3, 2005
"I passed my tech test now I want to build my station, VHF UHF only since that is all my ticket allows me to do. What should I get, radio, antenna, etc. I will be buying all new equipment, Thanks alot KI4HBX "
I'm not going to go into specific brands and model numbers of equipment - you're going to get better replies from others on that.
I am going to suggest a few things for you to think about.
First, while you are still in the 'study for the exam' mode, keep right on it - move right on up to the General Class license. Check out the G4FON free software for learning/practicing CW. http://www.g4fon.net/
There is a reason for encouraging you to upgrade asap.
Read this: http://www.eham.net/forums/Misc/3507
That is a real shame.
Meaning, whenever newcomers are deflated. They experience one tiny facet (FM repeaters) of ham radio, and become discouraged. There are many message threads here on eHam about this phenomenon.
This is NOT to say that there is anything wrong with repeaters. They are great! - - but there is a LOT more out there, and to experience it, you need to upgrade.
If I were you, I too would want to get on the air - now.
I encourage you to do so. Even if that is FM repeaters only, for a while. Just please do it with your eyes open. Look at it for what it is - just a little piece of ham radio.
You might meet some friendly local hams. You might make new friends and gain some Elmers. You might learn about a local ham radio club. These are all excellent things that can happen to the newcomer with FM repeaters.
Back to your request for info: If possible, locate some local hams, and a local club, before you buy any equipment. It may not be possible, but try.
These hams, familiar with your locale, may be able to tell you about local on-the-air activity - especially if you can talk with a VHF enthusiast. If there is activity on 2M SSB, you will enjoy that. Same for 6M, especially if you catch a band opening.
The point is, don't limit yourself to FM only, without at least asking around to find out more about other VHF modes.
Devote some serious thought to antennas! You can easily devote some serious money to them too. The higher and bigger, the better - and this is especially true at VHF. This is another trap that can add to a newcomers discouragement - not enough antenna height at VHF WILL limit one's ability to enjoy. It would be very good if you could get lucky and visit a local VHF enthusiasist, so you can see his shack and antennas, and get a feel for what it can do.
If that nice local ham will let you get your hands on his equipment, this is a great way to discover a brand/model number that you like too! Do not hesitate to ask local hams if they have, or know someone that is selling a piece of gear. Hands on testing on the air is by far better than buying sight unseen via the internet.
Spend some time reading old message threads here too.
There is lots to be learned from them. You'll see.
You'll read almost as many different opinions as there are hams to post them.
If nothing else, they will be food for thought, and you'll be back here with more questions.