T R A N S C E I V E R S
This section contains:
WHAT RADIO ?
For general ham radio use, the features and performance of most of
today's radios are good enough to get on the air and have some fun.
In this case, the choice will probably be made based on price and personal preferences.
Some people like small radios, some people like large radios, etc.
Some people operate more from home, other people operate more from portable locations
and some people want to have one radio to do both.
MOST HAMS are antenna-restricted and the lack of good antenna dictates the type of operation they do. In this case, the choice of radio is not going to make a huge difference.
WHERE THE RADIO BEGINS TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE:
The radio begins to make a difference when:
- You develop a serious interest in working DX
- You develop an interest in serious contesting (meaning you are not satisfied with 2nd place)
- You have successfully been able to erect very good antennas for several bands
- You develop special interests in continuous-duty modes such as RTTY
- You place high emphasis on certain modes (e.g., CW, digital modes)
- You get into high quality audio (i.e., wide SSB)
- You want to have an effective real time bandscope in your radio
- When you get old (like me) and develop poor eyesight
- You win the lottery and can afford to buy anything you want (hi)
Once you go down one of these paths, you will find that certain radios are better suited for your needs than others. PRICE IS NOT REALLY IMPORTANT. In many cases, lower cost radios will work better than expensive radios. Unfortunately the really cheap transceivers are not particularly good at any specialty.
IF YOU ARE A NEW HAM:
- Don't spend a lot of money on anything.
- Get yourself a good used radio and spend the first year trying different things, in order to find out where your favorite area(s) of focus is/are.
- AFTER you know for sure what your favorite interests are, then (and only then) can you begin to choose "your" radio. If you buy a new radio and it is the wrong one, you will lose a lot of money when you sell it.
- If you don't have a lot of money to spend on ham radio, remember one important point:
The ANTENNA, NOT THE RADIO,
is the No. 1 factor in building a good radio station.
My favorite saying: "It's the Antenna, Stupid."
ANTENNAS: BEWARE OF FALSE GODS!
It is astonishing to read the ridiculous claims of some of the antenna companies!
- No single antenna does it all.
- No all-band specialty antenna, and especially no smaller than normal antenna is anything more than a POOR COMPROMISE. These crooks are only after your money. BEWARE!
- Vertical antennas which are claimed to "not need radials" are a farce, unless they are twice as long as a normal vertical. If it's not a half wavelength long, it's probably not very good . . . or . . . it needs radials to be a good performer. PERIOD.