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Author Topic: Good First Radio  (Read 1996 times)
WH7DX
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« on: July 29, 2013, 12:25:58 PM »

I did a search for "Good First Radio" and didn't see anything recent.. last couple of years.

A friends son is thinking about Ham Radio.   I gave them my Tech License Book to look it over.  They'll come over and check out my QTH.

He wanted to know the COST.   Smart man. 

I told him I started and still have my TS-570 from eBay for $600.   He can use some of my coax and make a dipole or two.  Comes to a little less than a $1000 with power supply, shipping, miscellaneous etc..

I was wondering if there was a good starter radio that might work that I don't know about that's $500 or less, or something on eBay that I should look at.

If it can do UHF/VHF and HF that would be nice, but UHF/VHF isn't very active in Hawaii so it's not that important.

I just pulled this up from eBay.   Something like this might work?   

Any suggestions.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Yaesu-FT-100D-Mobile-all-Band-All-Mode-Ham-Radio-Transceiver-/400539661680?pt=US_Ham_Radio_Transceivers&hash=item5d42063570

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N6AJR
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« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2013, 12:42:22 PM »

See if he can find a local club.  I have met new hams here in the local club either on the repeater or at a club meeting and have loaned radios to new hams to get them on the air, or have given them a radio, or sold them a radio with " send me $ when you have it extra, don't hurt your family to make payments to me" and have always gotten my $ back.  my only caveat is that some where down the road, they do the same for another new ham. 


go to arrl.org and go to find  local ham exams. all those have a contact listed, and most of these  are from a local club.  call the contact number and find out about the club.  and then when you get to a club meeting , ask around
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AA4PB
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« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2013, 01:26:15 PM »

He also doesn't have to start out with an all-band, all-mode, 100W radio either. He could get on the air and make contacts with a QRP transceiver for under $100. If VHF/UHF is not very active in Hawaii then with a tech license he's going to be limited to CW anyway. I'd think that 15M or 20M CW would be most useful. Try a search on "QRP transceiver" or "QRP kits".

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W8ATA
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« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2013, 01:31:32 PM »

Without the studying done, the exam taken and the license in hand there is little use for any radio, except maybe to listen. One of the clubs to which I belong put on a Technician class course. I recall that 15 passed the exam and became licensed. Most then purchased one of the Baofeng 2m/440 HT's for around $50 and are spending real time on the air developing good operating skills. Some are already getting close to taking the General exam. It's turned out to be a good sensible approach.

Something else to consider is to buy an inexpensive shortwave receiver and just listen for a while. That's what got me interested.

Just my 2 watts worth,
73, Russ
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WH7DX
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« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2013, 01:54:54 PM »

Yes, I explained to him about the Tech license and in Hawaii, you really need a General to get into it.   He can get on the afternoon nets and even the Win System but that's about it here.

Yes, I can ask my Elmer for the simple radio and power supply he first loaned me.   I used a simple dipole to listen in.   He didn't give me the mic.

QRP in Hawaii would be to frustrating for him to start I believe.

So, if he wants to pursue his interest in Amateur Radio - what might be a cheap used radio to look for to own?

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AC4RD
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« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2013, 02:00:06 PM »

See if he can find a local club. ... and then when you get to a club meeting , ask around

Absolutely the best first piece of advice you could get on this!  Kudos to N6AJR for suggesting it.  Get to know some of the locals--even if none of them have anything to offer (loaner, low-price old backup rig, whatever), they'll still be invaluable in checking out potential rigs the new guy finds elsewhere.  It doesn't happen often, but every now and then I see perfectly good HF rigs, reasonably modern and perfectly good radios, in the $300-500 range.  And having some local guys to help you check it out will be helpful.

Just about any reasonably modern HR rig that is in good working shape will be a fine starter.  Heck, that's all I had for many years, and I still had a world of fun. Smiley  GL!  --ken
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AA4PB
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« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2013, 03:07:28 PM »

Hawaii to California is about the same distance as the East Coast U.S. to California. The Hawaii path has the additional advantage of being over water. I think one of his primary considerations should be the installation of a decent antenna, which could be as simple as a wire dipole installed properly (i.e. not in the attic).
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WH7DX
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« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2013, 04:19:54 PM »

I understand what your saying about QRP - but going straight to QRP is like riding a large mountain bike compared to a small kids bike with training wheels.   I don't want to handicap him from the start and frustrate him...  Grin   

I know/have met the guys in the local clubs here.  I'll check it out.   I can start with my elmers extra radio and power supply / no mic etc - dipole.

For me, I didn't mind spending $1000 to get started. 

I was wondering if there is a radio a step below the TS-570 which is a great starter / intermediate radio.

The TS-140?  Is there something with UHF/VHF and HF that's old an was a popular model I could look for on eBay etc..
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KQ6Q
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« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2013, 06:02:38 PM »

A good wire dipole, and a classic used TenTec Century 21 transciever - 50 watts, 80-10, CW only, AC power supply built in, and no SWR foldback, no antenna tuner needed with low impedance antenna. Get the original single paddle keyer if possible, otherwise straight key and a modern keyer to go with it.

Fred, KQ6Q
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WH7DX
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« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2013, 07:26:51 PM »

I kinda like the 15 year old kid... I don't want to blow him out with QRP or CW only  Grin

With his location on a ridge 1000ft up, he should pick up all pacific and mainland with dipole up 10 ft like I did 200ft near ocean.

Basic simple radio just under the popular Ts-570 to save a couple hundred when he's ready etc.
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VE5EIS
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« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2013, 08:40:41 PM »

If you can live without VHF/UHF the Alinco DX-SR8T is a great starter radio.  It's around $500 and it's what I went with.  There is also a great external tuner available for it if you need one, that has greater range than the built-in tuners in a lot of rigs.  I added a used $70 Icom IC-2100H to do 2 metre work and I can listen to 2 metres while working HF if I like.
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AF5CC
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« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2013, 09:06:02 PM »

There are quite a few decent radios in the $300 to $500 range. Probably the best would be a Yaesu FT450. They tend to come in at $450 or so without the internal tuner.  An Icom 706 original can be had for less than $400 if you look around and it is a heck of a radio for that price.  Some of the older Ten Tecs also fall into that price range.  I was just at a Hamfest Saturday where there was a mint condition Yaesu FT757GXII for $275, and a Ten Tec Argosy with the NB, CW filter, and SSB filter for $250.

John AF5CC
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AB2RC
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« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2013, 08:46:56 AM »


Just about any reasonably modern HR rig that is in good working shape will be a fine starter.  Heck, that's all I had for many years, and I still had a world of fun. Smiley  GL!  --ken

One thing to beware of - the FT100D you found on ebay is a fine radio (I have one myself), but if the finals ever go - you can forget about getting it repaired. The transistors used were specific to the unit, and are currently unobtanium. you should research the repairability of any radio that they end up buying.


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W4KVW
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« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2013, 08:49:59 AM »

Well be very careful with the ICOM 706 series radios since there are no known replacements for the HF/6 meter finals.That goes for the original 706,706 MKII,& early versions on the MKIIG.They could become a receiver only should the finals fail.I am an ICOM Man but would not consider any of those that the finals can't be purchased for at most any price.There are many articles on the web talking about this issue if you would like to search it.I think for the price that a Kenwood TS-50 is a great choice & from what I can find most of the parts are still available.I currently own TWO of them & they are simple to operate because of the lack of menus.Great audio & a small compact footprint but very dependable communications on 10-160 meters mobile or base & the MARS mod is simple should you also desire to operate on 60 meters or the MARS frequencies.I have owned one other TS-50 many years ago as well & it was my 1st HF mobile along with a matching AT-50 auto tuner it did a great job. {:>)  Grin

Clayton
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« Last Edit: July 30, 2013, 08:52:19 AM by W4KVW » Logged
KG4RUL
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« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2013, 09:22:25 AM »

If you can live without VHF/UHF the Alinco DX-SR8T is a great starter radio.  It's around $500 and it's what I went with.  There is also a great external tuner available for it if you need one, that has greater range than the built-in tuners in a lot of rigs.  I added a used $70 Icom IC-2100H to do 2 metre work and I can listen to 2 metres while working HF if I like.
I am using one of these rigs as a mobile with a Lil Tarheel II.
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