Ham radio equipment for base and mobile operation

In an earlier post, I introduced you to amateur radio. Here I’d like to review the ham radio equipment I own.

How much and what type of ham radio equipment to buy is one of the great mysteries–some say pleasures–of becoming an amateur radio operator. With so many models of radios and antennas to choose from, not to mention all the accessories available, outfitting your “shack” (ham radio room) can seem like a daunting task.

It need not be. You can enjoy ham radio with a bare bones setup if you wish, or you can go all out. It’s totally up to you. (Within reason, of course. Budget, space constraints, and even building covenants also play a part.) Your Elmer or another experienced ham can help you in this area.

I own two sets of equipment: An HF base station with a multi-band vertical antenna, and a VHF mobile radio whose mag mount antenna permits operation indoors as well as in the car.

ham radio operator, how do I get a ham license

This picture shows some of my equipment. The radio is a Kenwood model 820 (circa 1980). The black box on top is a power supply for the power/SWR meter to its right. If you squint really hard you can make out the telegraph key just behind the microphone. It’s on a block of wood, which is the brown item. The pink sheets are pieces of scrap paper. I was operating during Field Day that year, and needed lots of scrap paper.

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Ham radio is alive and well in 21st century

Amateur radio is popular with young and old alike

“The reports of my death,” Mark Twain once famously quipped, “are greatly exaggerated.”

If you listen and read the comments offered in recent years, you’d swear that ham radio is on life support, or worse. Kids just aren’t interested in becoming ham radio operators the story goes, and why should they be? With the Internet, smart phones, and computer games, young people have too many other “fun” things to do and can communicate with just about anyone in the world instantaneously. Where in the world does amateur radio fit anymore?

amateur radio equipment, ham radio frequencies

Good question. True, the hobby has gone through great changes in recent years. The advent of sophisticated amateur radio equipment has eliminated the need for building one’s own station. Plug and play is the norm today. (Although many amateur radio operators—“hams” to us—still build their own mini radios, antennas, and other equipment.)

No, the days when a young boy—and it often was a boy back then—built his simple Morse code radio, tossed a wire into the nearby tree, and sent his dits and dashes all over the country are pretty much over. But amazingly many young people, boys and girls, are getting a ham radio license. Sure, they still tinker at home, but these spirited young people also contribute to their communities, and in the process derive as much or more satisfaction as before. (Shown is some of my ham radio equipment.)

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