an expensive hobby

Looks like this amateur radio thing is going to get expensive.

The rig I was looking at — the Yaesu FT-8900R — appeared to be considerably cheaper than all the other multi-band units. It appears that it’s FM only, which is rarely used on the HF bands. The considerably more expensive FT-857D is the cheapest unit that will do 10m/6m/2m/70cm, which I reckon is pretty much where my interest lies.

Then there’s power supplies. Yeah, these beasts need external power supplies. Great big honkin’ 13.8V DC power supplies; about $200 for a rig of this size. Yet more desk space taken up; more cables, more clutter.

If that weren’t enough, there’s the antenna issue. I appear to live in a Faraday cage surrounded by overhead TX lines. Something’s going to have to go on the roof. Well, actually two somethings, as the chance of getting an antenna to work even roughly well on HF and VHF (unless I splash on the expensive and fiddly looking Maldol HVU-8) is close to nil.

So basically, I’m looking to drop a couple of grand on this. Eep.

In better ham news, last night I received my first radiogram, welcoming me to the hobby. Thanks, Paul (VA3PB)!

One thought on “an expensive hobby”

  1. I too am a new ham, and I understand the feeling entirely. When I first got my ticket, I dropped about $400 in a Yaesu FT-60r, a hustler mag-mount, and various accessories. I can’t spend like that again.

    I found that radios are pretty much completely divided into HF and VHF+ models. That 2900 is clearly a VHF, even if it goes a bit lower. A true all mode like the 857 is always an option, but like you said, $1K for a radio + $200 for a power supply + Antenna Tuner + antenna + …. adds up very darn quick.

    Some things that I’ve tried. Get in touch with a local club. See if they have a HF they will loan you. Many do. Get on the air and find what you really want. Cut some cheap homemade dipoles (<$20), spend a bit for coax, use a deep cycle battery for a power supply. Once you are more aware of your chosen operations, see if you can find an older HF rig via a swap meet, hamfest, or your local club. Then it gives you time to update and upgrade as budget and time allow.

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