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Wes          WS6Z

A few good links are often more useful than a bunch of links.

A bunch of links can be highly useful afterward.

Choosing a Radio

Once you get licensed, choosing your first radio can be a daunting task. There are SO many to choose from. So where do you start?

Step One

decide what features are important to you, and what bands you'll likely want to talk on the most. If you just got your technician license, it's likely the 2m and 70cm bands will be the ones you're going to use the most.

Note for Sacramento, CA area residents: there are no active 70cm repeaters because of air force restrictions in the 150mi radius area surrounding Beale Air Force base. So 2m is much more important in our area

You may want to consider an HF radio so you can talk on 6m and 10m as well, but many wait until they become a General class before heading for HF, which is where the fun really kicks in.

Your other likely parameters include:

Step Two

Search through the many choices for the radios that meet your criteria. And since this is hard, I've summarized a few popular options below. But there are so many more to choose from, you should certainly find one that is close to your needs below and then go see what similar radios there might be which might be an even better fit for you.

Note: There are almost always discounts on each of these, so this is likely the most you'll pay.

Radio BandsReceivers
ReceiveWaterproof?Keypad?MemoryList Price
Yaesu FT-252 2m 1136-174Y N200$105
Yaesu FT-250R 2m 1140-174N Y209$139
Yaesu FT-270R 2m 1137-174Y Y200$142
Yaesu FT-60R 2m/70cm1Y108-999N1000$143
Yaesu FT-6R 2m/70cm/610.5-998Y Y900$269
Yaesu FT-8GR 2m/70cm
built-in APRS
built-in GPS
2108-998N Y900???
Yaesu FT-8DR 2m/70cm/6
20.5-998Y Y900$429
Baofeng UV5RA 2m/70cm265-108
NY128$108 ($36 on sale
Baofeng UV-5RE+ 2m/70cm265-108
NY128$49 ($39 on sale

note: I need to list ICOM and Kenwood choices still ; they make great radios too

Step Three

Decide what accessories do you want? Most radios comes with the bare essentials, but make sure you consider the following (which may or may not be included with the radio

Step Four

And finally, where should you buy it? There are a number of ham radio vendor choices, and no bad ones IMHO:

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