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 First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations

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caspian40
Ivy Mike
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TheReverend
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Equipment Used : CRT SS9900, CRT ONE N, CRT Electro, UV-5r, B550p, HP-202, Sirio 4000, T2lT, Sharmans X-50, Diamond A430....and many bits of wire.

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PostSubject: First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations   First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations Icon_minitimeThu Feb 17, 2022 12:57 am

Hi all,

I'll be doing my foundation exam next week (eek!), and I'm looking for your steer please on what should be my first home based radio (or mobile) as a licensed operator?  The world of Yeasu/Icom etc. is completely lost on me from a knowledge point of view, as I see sooo many models.  As such, I'll need your help please chaps!!

Cheers

Simon.


Last edited by Victor on Thu Feb 17, 2022 6:31 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Admin post retitling)

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PostSubject: Re: First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations   First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations Icon_minitimeThu Feb 17, 2022 6:17 am

Hi Simon. Firstly, good luck again. Secondly, do you know what bands you might be interested in getting involved with first, what your budget would allow, and if you like fixeruppers or if you want to buy new? It might help steer members towards best answers for you.

I only have a few transceivers so will let others who have used more guide you on this one mostly, but just a few notes on the G90 I use.. it is a great radio if you:
- Want to work the main HF bands
- Want to buy new, but on a tight budget
- Like or plan to work portable (fairly small with awesome inbuilt atu)
- Has punchy big rig audio with its speech compression turned on
- Is very easy to open up to 11m (some shops are even offering new sales with it opened up)

That said, if going portable is not high on your list then an IC-7300 might be better for you. It covers all the above (except I read that the atu is not quite as good out of the box) and has a tonne more features and power than the G90. Loads of people have them and I haven't heard anyone unhappy with theirs.

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PostSubject: Re: First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations   First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations Icon_minitimeThu Feb 17, 2022 6:27 am

Hi Simon,

I don't envy your position of looking for your first Amateur Radio transceiver!  Shocked
You're bound to have as many different recommendations as there are or ever have been manufacturers & models!

Just remember that even the most expensive or apparently 'best' radio in the world is totally useless without an antenna. Worth spending a bit of time considering your antenna options too. 

Getting your 'ticket' and becoming a Ham is going to be overwhelming with all that lovely radio spectrum you'll be able to access. You'll probably be feeling like a kid in a sweet shop wanting to try everything! As such there are many radio models that are a 'shack-in-a-box' covering every band possible from HF through to VHF and UHF.....but again, access to the bands will be dependant on your antennas to cover them.

You can spend a little, (maybe a second hand set), or spend a lot. By a 'lot' I mean sums of money that could be grounds for divorce/separation should you lie about it to your better half! Wink

You're decision will also be swayed on whether you'll be setting up at home, if you want to go mobile, maybe try field operations such as SOTA, (Summits On The Air), or any number of Radio Amateur interest paths available to you. In which case you could very well be asking for 'recommendations' once again in the future as you 'trade up' or add more radios to your collection.


Whatever you finally settle on, make sure the decision is your own and be happy with your choice. No matter what make/model of radio you own the most important aspect of any Amateur Radio station is the operator behind it all. First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations 1f44d 


I wish you luck!

All the best,
Victor

(I'll edit the posting titling just to make it clearer for what you're asking and hopefully gain better responses from others.)

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PostSubject: Re: First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations   First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations Icon_minitimeThu Feb 17, 2022 7:32 pm

Over the years I have had gear from most of the big firms, never had a duff one from any of them.
At the moment I use ICOM gear but still have a Yaesu FT817 and my kit built Elecraft K2.
I have had HTs from all the big firms as well, again not a duff one amongst them.

When I came back to radio in 2018 after a ten year break I bought an ICOM 7100.
Great remote head all bands HF to 70cms, smashing rig to start back with.

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PostSubject: Re: First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations   First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations Icon_minitimeFri Feb 18, 2022 7:54 pm

How about the Yaesu FT-891, covers HF + 50MHz, is easy to wideband, small and good receive performance. Good resale value and pretty cheap to start off with.
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Equipment Used : CRT SS9900, CRT ONE N, CRT Electro, UV-5r, B550p, HP-202, Sirio 4000, T2lT, Sharmans X-50, Diamond A430....and many bits of wire.

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PostSubject: Re: First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations   First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations Icon_minitimeSat Feb 19, 2022 12:36 am

Thanks for your responses chaps.  You're all absolutely right....I need to look at what antennas I can install at home first, and then look at how I can take the radio mobile.  I live in a valley about 8 miles from Swindon, however I can activate the local 2m repeater using the UV-5r, and several others within a 5 minute drive, so all is good with repeaters....no such luck on 440 though.  For a home set-up, I think I can get away with a vertical antenna of about 2m above the roof-line at the back of the house, however anything else will be in the loft.  I have a neighbour a few doors away who has carefully and professionally run a long-wire around his house and into his back garden, and I'm well impressed!! I might stop by and ask him how it's going?!
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PostSubject: Re: First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations   First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations Icon_minitimeSat Feb 19, 2022 8:27 am

TheReverend wrote:
  I live in a valley

Me too! V-UHF may well be difficult but 50MHz should be surprisingly OK. Otherwise HF will be good, particularly NVIS propagation (there's discussion elsewhere on this forum) for which, a wire like you mentioned may be quite good.
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PostSubject: Re: First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations   First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations Icon_minitimeSat Feb 19, 2022 11:02 am

I'm in a valley as well although my qth is open to the north round to the east.
East to west are mainly Downs upto 600feet.
On VHF/UHF I do get across them but have to wait for the right conditions.
HF I do ok with the Hustler 6BTV for 80 and 40 and the Cobweb is ok on the higher bands.
Again waiting for the right conditions is the norm here.

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PostSubject: Re: First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations   First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations Icon_minitimeSun Feb 20, 2022 10:49 am

Icom ic7300 so intuitive really is a cracking radio to use if your budget allows great reports on air, but then not everyone likes an Icom. Yeasu do what look to be great radio's ive owned three  Yeasu's but prefer icom build quality.  Your quest begins do you want a shack in the box HF 2M 70cm or HF only there are plenty to choose from i own the ic7300  it does what i want it to do and its a great radio.

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PostSubject: Re: First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations   First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations Icon_minitimeSun Feb 20, 2022 11:10 am

I own both the Icom 7300 and the Yaesu 991a.
I use the Icom quite a lot more than the Yaesu but wouldn't part with it as handy to have everything in one radio.
But as said it is all down to your budget.
A Yaesu 450d was my first hf radio and again a good radio to start with then came the 991a.

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PostSubject: First radio   First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations Icon_minitimeSun Feb 27, 2022 1:50 pm

Well depends on your budget and what antenna you intend to put up but I went for a qrp radio as your licence only permits you to max 10 watts or a nice little icom or yaesu 7300 or 991a. I've got 4 radios xiegu g90 nice little radio and max of 20 watts variable or a yeasu Ft817 very good qrp radio for the starter which is what I have out of my 4 radios.
Anyway good luck on the exam 
73s.

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PostSubject: Radio   First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations Icon_minitimeSun Feb 27, 2022 1:55 pm

Oh I'm running a wire antenna and a vertical if you need any help just checkout YouTube plenty of stuff on amatuer radio stuff and advice always helps me out.

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PostSubject: Re: First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations   First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations Icon_minitimeWed Mar 02, 2022 12:45 am

Thanks gents!!  I've now passed my exam, yay!, and I'm thinking of breaking the spectrum up a bit based on my location, and what I feel I need.  I've been drooling over the FT-991a being the 'shack in a box' this last week, but the price is (to me) is a bit rich for my needs?  As such, I think I've decided to start out with a portable 2m/70cm transceiver which I can use from either home or mobile, and a second home based unit for the 6m - 80m bands......a penny for your thoughts please!?!

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PostSubject: Re: First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations   First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations Icon_minitimeWed Mar 02, 2022 6:37 am

Hi Simon,

Amateur Radio means different things to different people and as such there are many, many choices and options of how you want to progress. I would definitely say that it's great to listen to advice but then best to carefully think about what you really want from the hobby. (Which may well change with the passing of time.)

A mobile VHF/UHF set is a great choice for when you are out and about in your daily life and I hear most activity on the repeaters & simplex channels during commute times. Simply people having a chat to accompany themselves on their drive, hear about traffic conditions or grabbing a moment to enjoy the hobby in their otherwise busy schedule.

For those circumstances even a cheaper dual band radio will provide everything you need and is a great way to keep up regularly with fellow Hams. I have a Leixen VV-898 which although I use as an additional home base unit is fantastically small, convenient and cheap that it can easily be fitted almost anywhere within a car and left permanently installed. 

Pretty pointless having an all singing/dancing multi-mode that you may forget to put in the car in the morning, fearful of it being stolen/damaged during the day and having to turn the car into a porcupine of antennas to use different bands! 

But a multi-band-mode radio could be awesome for when you have the free time to drive off high and clear and set up either for field operations or a spot of "/mobile" action. In which case so long as the radio has the ability to hook up to the car's battery system it doesn't matter what it is.

The 'ultimate' (and more expensive) in radios will be a HF set or all-singing and dancing 'shack-in-a-box' in which case you have plenty of choices and there have been many suggestions made already. It'll mostly be down to your budget and always best to be clear headed about such things as you'll only kick yourself should you never have the opportunity/time interest or motivation to use it. They can be expensive ornaments/dust collectors!

Also be aware of grabbing that 'bargain' second hand radio in desperate excitement.....many have been ripped off with faulty radios with the "due to the nature of the hobby" type of sales nonsense! Shop carefully.

Try also to think of the future, you may have 10 watts of pure Foundation bliss at the moment but may progress up the Ham ladder in the quest for more power....you can easily turn down the power on a rig with more watts and crank it up with a newer licence.


I've got gawd knows how many radios in my collection, (only started with one!), and although I'm happy with my lot if I had to start all over again it would have to be the venerable Yaesu FT-818. The shack would be cleaner, the wife would be happier and I'd only have to learn/remember how to operate one radio! Smile

(I tried unsuccessfully to power on my old Yaesu FT757gx the other day.....panicked....then realised I'd inadvertently pushed the 'MOX' switch on when I'd moved it so the protection circuit obviously wouldn't let it power up....Doh!!! Very Happy )


Above all have fun with it all Simon. If it isn't fun then you're doing something wrong. First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations 1f44d 

All the best,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations   First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations Icon_minitimeWed Mar 02, 2022 8:06 am

Some really good advice already given 

Yaesu ft450d would be a great first hf rig these are hand chiselled from granite lol , now discontinued but you should be able to pick up a minter on the secondhand market 

As for UHF/VHF  I would go for a duel band handheld , I started with one and used it from home / in the car and out on the local SOTA’s very cheap way of getting into the VHF scene , something like the Yaesu ft65 would be a great choice 

Good luck 

Craig

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PostSubject: Re: First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations   First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations Icon_minitimeWed Mar 02, 2022 8:07 am

Great advise from Victor as usual. Worth taking on board everything he has said.

For HF, I mentioned a couple of radios in my previous post and don't think you'd go far wrong with the very popular tried and trusted IC-7300. But as Victor said.. carefully think about what you really want from the hobby first.

If the Xiegu X6100 was on the market when I purchased my G90, I may have gone for that one. Capable of the full power allowed at foundation level, has the addition of 6m which I don't have, and can easily be used portable. With it's inbuilt ATU, battery and microphone it's possible to attach a whip and use it has an all band HF walkie talkie. But that's me, you need to think what you want to do/get in to.

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PostSubject: Re: First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations   First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations Icon_minitimeThu Mar 03, 2022 8:00 am

7300 all day long
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PostSubject: Re: First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations   First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations Icon_minitimeThu Mar 03, 2022 8:09 am

chazwozza wrote:
7300 all day long
Got 2 of them and just the 1 911a now had to split the twins up lol.(old joke)...

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PostSubject: Re: First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations   First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations Icon_minitimeThu Mar 03, 2022 11:51 pm

Hi Gents, and thanks for your advice, which I'm sifting through tonight.  I have a bit of an issue with my shiny new M7 callsign, whereby I managed to connect to the net on the local repeater, and the other operators couldn't verify it? Crying or Very sad  I must admit, when I applied for my licence with Ofcom, I decided not to have my details added to the call-sign batabase, which may have been a mistake?  I've also registered with QRZ.com, which was great, however I 'don't have the privileges' to edit my own entry?  As you can tell. I'm a bit confused.....can anyone offer any pointers please?

Many thanks

Simon.

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PostSubject: Re: First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations   First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations Icon_minitimeFri Mar 04, 2022 12:10 am

Hi Simon,

I wouldn't worry about it too much mate, just that some individuals can be a little defensive especially as there have been examples of operators using 'pirated' call signs. We're all innocent until proved guilty! Wink

Your QRZ entry will be more than enough to quell such concerns so make sure that has been approved by at least one of the voluntary moderators over there so that you can personally edit your profile.

When I first got on air I was confronted by similar issues and it was a Spanish operator that approved my QRZ to whom I was very grateful to. In the mean time I played down any on-air 'concerns' or quizzing which eventually fell to the wayside.

You might run into other things on occasion but overall you will be welcomed into the Radio Amateur community so don't worry too much. I took it to heart the first time uncertainty was placed on my using 10 watts and when I was forgotten to be brought into a repeater net.....in the end it was probably down to geriatric memory simply forgetting to write my call sign down on the round table list! Very Happy

Keep at it mate, enjoy that spangly new M7 and more importantly get yourself on air come what may. First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations 1f44d 


All the best,
Victor

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PostSubject: Re: First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations   First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations Icon_minitimeFri Mar 04, 2022 1:39 am

Thanks Victor, all taken on-board chap!!  I've been on the QRZ forum and logged myself properly with them I think, just to be sure.  For my sins, I've also just ordered the Intermediate Licence Manual from the RSGB.....just for sh*ts and giggles I'm sure.....as my quick look at the RSGB questions last week was deemed as waaay too technical for me, but an interesting read nonetheless I think.....God help me and my addiction to this fantastic hobby!

Best regards

Simon.

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PostSubject: Re: First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations   First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations Icon_minitimeFri Mar 04, 2022 7:13 am

Simon
Think this happens to most new stations and as Victor says not for long.
I found that once i had got talking to one station then the rest sort of joined in but it was only the local stations that where the problem well not a problem for me as the rest of the world where ok.
Did you manage to get back into qrz as you might want to put something in it lol.
Enjoy radio and take no sh1t of the locals so to say.

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PostSubject: Re: First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations   First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations Icon_minitimeFri Mar 04, 2022 7:32 am

No worries at all there Simon. First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations 1f44d 

I just took another quick look at QRZ.com and noticed that your call sign pops straight up so I think you'll be all good now. Wink

Some operators keep meticulous log books and it might freak you out a little, (it still does me!), when just from your call sign they give you your own name, location, whether this is the first time they've worked you and if they've worked you before when they last did!! This usually happens on HF though sometimes promptly followed by a "5/9 QRZ" and that's the end of your, ahem, QSO.  Rolling Eyes

It's all horses for courses though Simon and as I mentioned before everyone will take up one or many of the various fields of interest Amateur Radio has to offer.

The Intermediate definitely is a jump up and would require some much harder study than the Foundation but don't in any way feel any pressure to do so. You can take your time and really learn the ropes before thinking about further exams or if Amateur Radio is for you. (Some unfortunately give up the hobby, maybe through expense, lack of interest, etc.)

Sometimes you may feel badgered to 'progress', I know I did, but the decision should be your own and taken in your own time. No point in taking an exam where you didn't have enough time to absorb all the information required to pass and failure can be a real set back to us.

For some it may be a different story and just for me personally I'm quite happy at my Foundation it fulfilling my own desires and interests. Some have driving licenses and drive a car, not many progress onto PSV or HGV licenses nor have any interest to do so either. I never went 'further' than a motorcycle licence.....but have never once been stuck in a traffic jam! Wink


You've definitely got the radio bug there Simon and its been great to see as well as share here at Charlie Tango. Your travel into the Amateur Radio interest may well spur on others who'll be reading these words & postings and that can only be a good thing.
I still think the best Radio Amateurs are those willing to help other people with their radio interests regardless of what they may be and always applaud those that help others which we see great examples of here. 

Amateur Radio numbers grow if we take the time to help each other ensuring its place in the world.


Keep enjoying yourself mate and never let anything knock back that enthusiasm you so obviously have.

All the best,
Victor

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SangueG
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SangueG


Call Sign : 26-CT-3971 / M7TDV
Posts : 631
Times Thanked : 30
Join date : 2021-01-30
QTH or Location : Cirencester, Gloucestershire
Equipment Used : Little radios, home-made antennas

First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations Empty
PostSubject: Re: First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations   First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations Icon_minitimeFri Mar 04, 2022 7:39 am

Hi Simon. The "local" group are pretty friendly, but are a varied lot of all ages. You've probably gathered by listening. There's some highly technically minded people and some (including hams with very old callsigns) that appear to know very little and some that have never worked any HF and have been quizzing others about setting antennas up for because they never have done before.

A few times I've called in to say I am there for the net but just listening as out walking the dog and may lose signal. All times they've asked me to confirm my call. I wouldn't worry about it. I am sure if we became regulars on it that would stop, but that's difficult for me currently as sometimes I'm working on Monday evenings.

I bought the Intermediate manual straight after passing too. I also spoke to one of the Swindon group on their Summer 10m net and he advised me; if I was thinking about doing the Intermediate then to go for the Full straight after so everything was fresh in mind. I read through it, then put it away. Reason being that compared to the Foundation I would need to study hard, and the main benefit of passing was the increase in power.. which I have no interest in using. I might do this one day, but am more than happy with what I have now. If you go for it then best of luck to you.

Looks like your QRZ is up and running now. When I joined I needed to ask for them to look at activating it a second time, but all was good within a couple of days.

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TheReverend
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Call Sign : 26-CT-3921 / M7GDA
Posts : 122
Times Thanked : 6
Join date : 2020-12-22
QTH or Location : Lambourn
Equipment Used : CRT SS9900, CRT ONE N, CRT Electro, UV-5r, B550p, HP-202, Sirio 4000, T2lT, Sharmans X-50, Diamond A430....and many bits of wire.

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PostSubject: Re: First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations   First Amateur Radio Transceiver Recommendations Icon_minitimeFri Mar 04, 2022 11:46 pm

Thanks for your replies Gents!!!  I'm glad to see that my QRZ entry is now live, as this will help when I'm on the local repeater group....they're a great bunch.  I'll also add more info to QRZ as required.

I'm looking forward to receiving the Intermediate manual, if only to read it and pop it in the bookcase for a while, as my Foundation journey has a long way to go yet!!

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