Ham Radio

Kenwood M-V71A 144/440

When shelter in place started, I complained about how isolated I felt and just wanted to get out. Now I’ve gotten so comfortable with it I was thinking about what interesting hobby I could take up. Besides getting a Harley and riding up and down the coast — which my wife tells me would in no way be fun for me —

I started thinking about, for the first time in my 60 years on this earth, becoming a ham radio operator. I know absolutely nothing about it, but the idea of setting up my office to be my “ham shack” (is that a thing?) just somehow sounds very appealing. The first thing I started doing was looking at ham radios, because that’s a lot more fun than studying for the exam which apparently I need to take and of course pass. So far I’ve saved 9 radios into my Amazon cart:

  1. Kenwood TM-V71A 144/440 MHz Dual-Band Amateur Mobile Transceiver
  2. Kenwood TM-281A 144MHz FM Transceiver
  3. Yaesu FT-8900R 29/50/144/430 MHz Quad-Band FM Ham Radio Transceiver
  4. BaoFeng BF-F8HP (UV-5R 3rd Gen) 8-Watt Dual Band Two-Way Radio
  5. Baofeng Pofung GT-3TP Mark-III Two-Way Radio Transceiver, Dual Band 136-174/400-520 MHz Power Two-Way Radio
  6. BaoFeng UV-82HP (RED) High Power Dual Band Radio: 136-174mhz (VHF) 400-520mhz (UHF) Amateur (Ham) Portable Two-Way
  7. BaoFeng UV-5R Dual Band Two Way Radio (Black)
  8. FT-70DR FT-70 Original Yaesu 144/430 MHz Digital/Analog Handheld Transceiver – C4FM / FDMA
  9. Yaesu FT-60R Dual Band Handheld 5W VHF/UHF Amateur Radio Transceiver

To find these I duckduckgoed ((I refuse to use G***** (“do no harm” my ass)) “best ham radios”, “best ham radios for beginners”, “best ham radios for bored old men about to enter their dotage”. The only manufacturer on this list I’ve heard of is Kenwood. Back when I was a teenager, I really wanted – and really could not afford – a Kenwood KR-9400 receiver.

Apparently there are many many decisions that go into purchasing a ham radio:

  • What do you want to use it for? (no idea)
  • How much money can you afford to spend (I have to ask my wife)
  •  Do I want only the higher frequency bands like 2 meters and 440? (speak English dammit)
  • What bands on HF do I want to use? (what?)
  • What do I want my ham station to do? (Make me breakfast in bed?)

I have much to learn…

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