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Where to start?


KN4YPH
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I just received my license and have absolutely no experience. I would like to start with an inexpensive initial set up to explore my technician authorities. Please provide recommendations to get me on the air. Thank you

John KN4YPH 

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ELMER

Welcome to the forum and ouch, you start off with the toughest of the tough 😎 It's like saying I just got my driver's license, which car should I get? This said, it's a super valid question and one that all newcomers to the hobby face. So I'm going to ask you a couple of ultra simple questions to get going.

  1. Do you live in an apartment, a house, or something else?
  2. Are you technical by default, i.e. do you build things or buy things more often?
  3. Are you more interested in - initially - talking to people within a 25 mile radius, or are you impatient to talk to someone in England or California?
  4. What class license do you currently hold?

Back to you...

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ELMER

All right, so step one is that you're going to have to get your General license. You can do some limited HF on the Tech ticket, but not enough.

After you get your general license then it'll be time to start thinking about a setup at home. The good news is that even in HOA settings you can set up some form of HF antenna.

Your next challenge is going to be budget. My personal advice to you is to get a first, entry level HF setup with a fairly straightforward antenna. Get on the air. See if you enjoy SSB/Phone, CW, or digital the best. Operate with that more modest setup for a few months. If you see that you're hooked, then you keep what you have as backup and you invest in a bigger/better station.

In summary:

  1. General
  2. Modest HF setup (antenna depends on space and HOA regs, if any)
  3. Test
  4. Decide
  5. Get something bigger and better...

If you like this approach, then we can start talking about entry level HF gear and antenna.

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Thanks for the information. I did purchase a BaoFeng UV-5R radio so I can get on the air. I do intend to take the General Exam and would like an inexpensive base station to experiment with all the above. Thank you for your time.

John KN4YPH 

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It depends on what you want to do. Just like cars, you buy for what you want to do with it. You wouldn’t by a Prius to go off-roading. 
 

On a Tech ticket, if your budget allows, you can look into digital modes. D-Star, Fusion, DMR, etc. I use D-Star. With a 5 watt HT and a hotspot, I’ve talked across the pond. The radios can be a bit on the pricey side, but it’s lots of fun. 

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ELMER
13 hours ago, W3ICK said:

It depends on what you want to do. Just like cars, you buy for what you want to do with it. You wouldn’t by a Prius to go off-roading. 
 

On a Tech ticket, if your budget allows, you can look into digital modes. D-Star, Fusion, DMR, etc. I use D-Star. With a 5 watt HT and a hotspot, I’ve talked across the pond. The radios can be a bit on the pricey side, but it’s lots of fun. 

Good call! Indeed, for techs who want to do some DX, they can do so with digital voice 😉 In fact @W3ICK, don't forget to weigh in on my latest (and first) The Wave post here, I ask the question: which mode and why?

 

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