Cost of getting into Ham Radio / Amateur Radio
 Share
The version of the browser you are using is no longer supported. Please upgrade to a supported browser.Dismiss

Comment only
 
 
 
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
1
Cost of getting into Ham Radio / Amateur Radio
~ Cost
Cost range
2
3
4
Book to support you in passing the Ham Radio Tech test
$35.00
$5 to $36 based on book you get or free if you borrow a book
5
Cost of the Test $14.00
$0 to $14 dollars
6
A starter Duel Band Handheld transeaver$70.00
$26 to $350 - From Cheap Chinese to quality brands
7
(OR Echolink ) $0.00
FREE for Windows or App
8
Estimate total cost ~Total$119.00
9
10
Upgrading to a Mobile Radio
11
Background:In December 2018, I passed my Technician and immediately got on the air with a UV-5R after recieving my callsign. That Baufeng HT served as my mobile radio for 6 months, the only addition being a mag mount antenna and SMA Female to SO-239 adapter.
12
13
14
Baofeng UV-5R$20Ebay
15
Mag Mount Dual Band Antenna with adapter
$29Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B016SIJX28/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
16
This combo worked well for me, but I was spotty on transmit and recieve for repeaters 15-25 miles from my home.
17
18
Purchasing to a mobile radio:The following items are purchases I made at the 2019 RARSfest.
19
Icom IC-2100 50 Watt 2 Meter Radio$60
20
21
22
Astron RS-12A power supply$35
23
24
2 Meter Wire J-Pole from a kit at a RARS club sponsored booth$5
25
26
27
Summary:The night of RARSfest, I raised the J-Pole 10 feet up in a tree and ran my coax into my house through a window to the radio. I could tell an immediate difference and had no trouble hearing or talking on local repeaters. My furthest conversation was around 50 miles into an repeater in Oxford (from Rolesville). The IC-2100 was in used but fair condition and the PS-12A was in used but good condition. My Elmers from my local ham club walked with me to help me find working equipment at a reasonable price.
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
One item to add would be a run of coax with connectors already installed (I had purchased one previously).
35
20ft-50ft of RG-8X coax
$17-$26Ebay
36
37
Total for a 2 meter base station:
~$117
38
39
Budget Friendly Mobile Radios (caution: These are the UV-5R of mobile radios. They do the job of getting on the air, but could be better.)
40
QYT KT-8900D 25 Watt Dual Band
$79.99Amazon
41
QYT KT-7900D 25 Watt Tri Band
$89.99Amazonnote: the KT-7900D is marketed as a Quad Band, but American Amateurs only have privileges on 2 meter, 1.25 meter, and 70 centemeter bands. Also requires a Tri Band Antenna.
42
43
BTech UV-25X2 25 Watt Dual Band
$114.89Amazon
44
45
46
Getting Started in HF
47
Homemade Multiband Half Wave Fan Dipole
48
49
After upgrading my license to General and purchasing a new to me Icom 7100, the next step for my QTH was installing an HF antenna. My hope was to extend beyond the limited amount of 6 meter SSB experience I have had and to begin making distance contacts. As a low cost solution to get on the air, I planned to build a wire dipole antenna and hang it from the pine trees near my house in an inverted V configuration. After some discussion, I settled on building a multiband half wave fan dipole for 20 meter and 40 meter with a 1:1 balun.
50
51
52
53
One of my Elmers recommended I check out a youtube series created by Dave Tadlock KG0ZZ with detailed instructions (Links Below) on winding a 1:1 air core balun with enameled magnet wire and PVC pipe. Dave goes through the entire process of wrapping the wire around the PVC pipe form and building the outside housing for the balun using larger PVC pipe.
54
55
56
The project required I purchase some PVC pipe caps and some hardware, but most of the materials were available at my local hardware store. For insulators and spreader bars, I am using small sections of PVC pipe with holes drilled perpendicular to the inside diameter. Another Elmer recommended I tune the wires for the lower frequency band first, then tune the wires for the higher frequency. After the 20 meter wires in this case were tuned, the antenna needed to be checked on 40 meters to ensure the tuning did not change and adjustments can be made as needed. Repeat this process as needed until everything settles out.
57
58
59
60
61
The antenna now sits in an inverted V with the peak about 40 feet in the air. My wires are tuned near the digital end of both bands and I use an antenna tuner for voice. With 95 watts of TX power my furthest contact on FT8 thus far is Australia with a 10,250 mile QSL on 40 meters. My time to try SSB has been limited, but I have logged contacts in South Carolina and Illinois. I plan to continue exploring digital modes and maybe try out more voice operation in the near future. For the moment, I am happy to see how many states and countries I can make contact with through digital operation.
62
63
64
65
66
1:1 Balun Series: Dave Tadlock KG0ZZ
67
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poqG0IfY8z4&t=235s
68
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PU0jsePctGM
69
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pC1UzxiMOE
70
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ojmsg19WVio&t=209s
71
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nC8zyHE38vk&t=1s
72
73
Multiband Dipole with Wire Separators: James Maness W4AOX
74
https://youtu.be/zwHfHXVI0vs
75
76
Half Wave Dipole Online Length Calculator
77
http://www.westmountainradio.com/antenna_calculator.php
78
79
Materials for the Balun14 AWG Magnet Wire$8.35
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01BD80NLI/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_U_xTdAEbV44JR1F
80
1 1/4" diameter (or larger) PVC pipe
6" long$3.18
81
2 flat PVC caps for 1 1/4" pipe
$2
82
3/4" PVC pipe2 1/2" long$2
83
SO239 Connector$3
84
Stainless steel hardware
$12
85
86
Antenna Wires
14 AWG Stranded Copper wire (length dependent on band)
$21.77for 100'
87
3/4" PVC pipefor separator bars~5'$3
88
Paracord150 ft$12
https://www.walmart.com/ip/HT-550-PARACORD-BLK/723218884?wmlspartner=wlpa&selectedSellerId=0&wl13=5254&adid=22222222227121325496&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=c&wl3=233138329135&wl4=pla-385011252151&wl5=9009718&wl6=&wl7=&wl8=&wl9=pla&wl10=8175035&wl11=local&wl12=723218884&veh=sem&gclid=Cj0KCQjw9ZzzBRCKARIsANwXaeLUAcrLw-Tf6GKW9Ht2BbnwB59BNIItJxT6aOjgyjvCt1XDQ9clKlQaAo9-EALw_wcB
89
Total$67.30
90
Purchasing an HF Radio
91
4 Questions Before Purchasing and HF Radio
92
1.) What brand/style radios do you currently have?
93
2.) What would you like to be able to do with the radio?
94
3.) What is your current budget for an HF radio?
95
4.) Are you comfortable with an older radio or do you want the newest features?
96
97
HF Radio Cost$200-$1000
depending on age, condition, and features
98
99
100