Jan 13, 2010

Choosing HAM/Amateur Radios : An Insight

Need Help in Choosing Your First Amateur Radio?

RADIOS: There are so many to choose from. For the new Ham, it would be best to stick with a reliable, time proven, name brand: (Alphabetical Order) Alinco, Icom, Kenwood, Yaesu. Offcourse now there are few Chinese brands which are coming out with good quality sets at affordable prices. WOUXUN is one of them and have some good products which are value for money as per global user feedback/reviews.

Base, Mobile, Mobile used as a base or an HT (Hand Held Transceiver) is the question lingering in a new HAM's mind???

HandHeld Transceiver/Walkie Talkie : It all depends on your lifestyle and budget. If you are on the go a lot and on a budget, an HT might be a good choice. A 2 meter or 2 meter/440 might be your best choice. If you want to use it in your vehicle, a 1/4 or 5/8ths wave magnetic mount antenna for the outside of the vehicle might be the best bet. You can also get a second antenna for home use. More on the antennas is there in the blog. The good thing about buying an HT is that is it portable. The drawbacks are that they have limited power output, and batteries must be recharged. Popular brands like Yaesu/ICOM/Alinco including accessories would cost approx Rs.14,000/-.

Chinese make WOUXUN HT model KG-UVD1P including accessories can be got in India for Rs.6000 approx incld accessories/customs duty and is good value for money. Recently HAMS in Chennai came together and imported 30 of these directly from China . We hope it would give VHF/UHF activity in Chennai a boost.
Base Station: Most new Hams start out with 2 meter operation. A fancy base station has a lot of options, but most are not necessary to Hams who use 2 meters. They are also expensive and are rarely used by new Hams. Cost is approx Rs.20,000/- for VHF/UHF Dual & Rs.30,000+ for HF rigs.

An all band HF/VHF/UHF base radio from Yaesu.

Mobile radios: An excellent choice for permanent mounting in a vehicle and what many experienced Hams use on a daily basis while in their vehicle. There are few drawbacks and many advantages. The Mobile runs off the car battery (and the cables should run directly to the battery for best performance), the Hand Microphone is easy to use and, most of all, there is a lot more power available than with an HT. The only problem one might encounter is "noise" from the vehicle electronics, which can usually be resolved with the installation of a commercially made filter.

Mobile radio mounted inside a vehicle in vertical position.

Mobile used as a Base: This is the rig you see the most for in-home use. It has the power needed, the features most used and runs from a 12 Volt power supply. This is also a good option as, if the A/C power fails, a 12 Volt backup battery can be used to continue transmitting in emergency situations, a primary use for Ham Radio. I have used this type of rig for years and have yet to find a drawback. You will need a 12 Volt power supply: For 2 meters, a 12 - 20 amp filtered supply should do very well.

SUMMARY: If you are on the go and will operate some from home on a tight budget, a 5 Watt HT Hand Held is your best starter radio. If you will operate from your home most of the time, a Mobile used as a Base is the best choice. New Hams with more resources should by an HT, a Mobile used as a Base and a Mobile for each vehicle. This is what most Hams end up doing during the first years. Remember, you still need a power supply and antennas!

Tip: New Hams with young children should be careful to not let kids play with the new "toy". Disconnecting the Microphone works well.

1 comment:

  1. My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

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