Top products from r/amateurradio

We found 265 product mentions on r/amateurradio. We ranked the 1,138 resulting products by number of redditors who mentioned them. Here are the top 20.

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Top comments that mention products on r/amateurradio:

u/badon_ · 1 pointr/amateurradio

No matter what you do, it's always better to start small. Start small, make small mistakes. Start big, make big mistakes. The important thing is to experience a little of everything while spending as little as possible. Then, you can make your money go further, to maximize your fun and experience.

Don't get all-in-one radios. They're expensive, and if you break something, nothing works. It's better to get a bunch of separate radios that are a lot cheaper, so if something breaks, you're not off the air.

u/ElectronSpiderwort recommended a Kenwood TM-D710GA:

  • Kenwood TM-D710G, Kenwood TM-D710GA APRS Mobile Radio

    Absolutely consider getting this radio. Even if you get other radios, you will still love this one. You can do so many different things with it, it will keep you busy for a long, long time, even if that were the only radio you got. My favorite feature is the ability to send text messages. You can even send to cellphones via email. Each phone company has an email alias for SMS messages, so search for the SMS email address for the particular phone (phone company) you want to reach, and you can send text messages to that phone even the user is not licensed. They can watch your travel on a map if they want to see where you are.

    It's an expensive radio, but you can save a lot of money buying it used. People take care of these things, so you should have no trouble finding one in near-new condition. Buy two, one for your vehicle and one for home.

    A Mirage B-320-G 200 watt 2 meter amplifier is the only amplifier you will ever need, if you need one at all. It will work equally well with a handheld, or a mobile radio, and at 200 watts, it's not in the price-capability region where it's cheaper to just buy a dedicated high-power radio. You can buy it for a mobile, or buy it for a handheld, and eventually use it for both. It actually puts out about 240 watts at full power. That's impressive, and way more than you will ever need. If you put lower input power, it outputs lower power, so it basically covers everything, which is awesome.

    One HF radio I would like to have is a Motorola Micom 3, because it can work any HF frequency, and it does a great job of it, but it's almost $8000 with no accessories:

  • motorola micom - Google Search

    Marine is a big part of life in Maine, and having access to marine frequencies could be helpful. I have forgotten if a Micom is type accepted for marine used, but if it is, you might save money by getting one. It's as good mobile as it is at home, and there's even a backpack version if that's your thing.

    A Motorola APX 8000 handheld costs about as much as a new Micom at $7000+, but you get 4 bands and lots of features. I would prefer to get a Yaesu FT-60R with the AA NiMH pack. It's cheap, works great, and it's designed for AA NiMH batteries! I currently use a Kenwood TH-F6A, which is much more expensive with amazingly fast scanning speed on 2 receivers simultaneously, but the radios I use the most are Motorola MT352R FRS radios I can buy nearly new after holidays for about $23 each (people return them and they get sold as "open box" or refurbished for half price). The performance beats any ham radios I have ever used, and they're so cheap you can loan them out like candy. I keep them in plastic bags so they're always clean and new, and nearly waterproof. They are also designed for AA NiMH! AA batteries are important. See r/AAMasterRace.

    I have a nice selection of fine quality BNC telescoping antennas tuned to all the frequencies I care about, from Smiley Antennas. Put a low profile BNC adapter on your new radio as soon as you get it, and get those big antennas from Smiley. The Kenwood TH-F6A goes down to 0.050 watts, so with a big antenna, you save battery above all. People think of antennas as being for a lot of various purposes, but they don't often think of battery life, because most radios can't go as low as the Kenwood TH-F6A. With the big antenna, the low power gets out just fine, and no matter how rich you are, batteries are bulky and heavy and it's always better if you don't need more of them. I got the biggest 2 meter and 440 MHz antennas Smiley makes. I got their tri-band antenna, and antennas tuned for FRS, MURS, marine, and probably a few other things I have forgotten. Be sure to mark your antennas so you know what frequencies they're tuned for.

    An ADS-SR1 simplex repeater with the larger memory option will get a lot more use out of all your handheld radios and mobile. It runs on AA batteries, and it has a voicemail system. It's not a lot of money to greatly expand your capability.

    I want an MTR3b_LCD, because it's the only radio small enough to EDC that can go around the world, on 40, 30, and 20 meters. Nobody else has a smaller, more capable radio. The radio, the antenna, and batteries, will all fit in your back pocket. Ridiculously amazing.

    Contact K1EL and tell him to make a Morse code keyer that emulates a USB keyboard, so you can practice Morse code in your routine PC usage at 45 WPM. You will become an expert very quickly that way.

    Begali Adventure Mono will work equally well portable as it does on a desk. If you buy one key, this will do it all. Don't get a 2-lever iambic key, they suck. All the fastest Morse code operators use single lever keys. NOBODY codes faster with an iambic key. NOBODY. I have no idea why people think they must have this useless feature. Palm Pico Single, N3ZN-SL (single lever), American Morse Equipment Mini-B, and any nice touch key, would round out your collection of keys. Again, avoid iambic 2 lever keys like the plague. They are poison.

    An Elecraft KX3 (10 watts) with a KXPA100 (100 watts), and a KPA500 (500 watts), along with all the other accessories like a PX3 (SDR waterfall display) etc, will cover all of your regular ham radio HF needs, from portable QRP, to high power at 500 watts. You will have a lot of flexibility with this setup, and it's not super expensive. The best part is Elecraft gear has a high resale value, so you will have no trouble dumping it if you decided it's not for you.

    If you like luxury gear, take a look at Elecraft's other radios. You might decide to buy nothing but Elecraft. A lot of people do, and Elecraft has rightfully earned that loyalty.

    Airspy HF+ SDR. It's the most bang for your buck, and outperforms most radios at any price, but it only costs about $160, if I remember correctly. You can never have too many inexpensive, high quality receivers.

    RTL-SDR. It's $30, and does everything up to gigahertz range with mediocre quality, which is what you would expect from a receiver that costs 5 times as much. This thing is versatile. When you just need to test something, or monitor something extra on the side, these are handy. Many people own 2 or more. I like to dedicate mine to monitoring FRS frequencies, because I wouldn't want to dedicate a more expensive receiver to such a low job. An RTL-SDR is probably the smartest first purchase you can make, especially if you believe in my "start small" philosophy. Even when you go big, you will still find uses for these things.

  • AmazonSmile: RTL-SDR Blog R820T2 RTL2832U 1PPM TCXO SMA Software Defined Radio with 2x Telescopic Antennas: Electronics
  • AmazonSmile: BlueRigger USB 2.0 Type A Male to A Female Active Extension/Repeater Cable - 32FT (10M): Gateway (get 2 maximum for each RTL-SDR)

    You need test equipment, like dummy loads, watt meters, SWR meters, antenna analyzers, etc. And power supplies. You need to know what your equipment is doing or not doing.

    Get a nice antenna system. You don't need to spend a lot of money at first, but antennas should be on your mind while you're selecting radios. Antennas make or break your station, regardless of what radios you have.

    That's all I can think of for now. I'm sure you will have a lot of fun shopping for new gear!
u/TheSwami · 17 pointsr/amateurradio

I hope folks on this Sub aren't sick of me trotting out this list when homebrewing comes up, but here's my go-to selection of resources for Ham Radio homebrew. (Plus there's new links every time!):

I think the most extensive book for learning about radio homebrewing Experimental Methods in RF Design. It covers everything from basic direct-converstion recievers to phasing SSB transceivers. It's not super dense with information on newer DSP techniques or older regenerative receivers. But it's a wealth of practical information for the modern homebrewer.

That said, the EMRFD is dense, complex, and a little wandering. Not a great first book, but a book I keep coming back in homebrewing projects. A more approachable place to start might be reading the blogs of other homebrewers, not that these are all ideal starting places. Here's my go-to list:

u/lirakis · 7 pointsr/amateurradio

hey friend, i recently wrote a "how to" setup APRS with a HT, Direwolf, and YAAC on linux. copy paste is below ...


If audio is getting from the radio to direwolf, check the volume levels on the radio output, and check the mic gain on your computer. These are really the only two settings that will affect how direwolf can rx and decode. Direwolf logs out when it receives something, and it tells you on a scale of 0-100 the volume level. I try to shoot for 50-60 and I get very consistent decode.

Tutorial: APRS software user interface, with software based audio TNC, and RF gateway


APRS is a tool that was designed to convey information about objects, telemetry, and reporting, as well as communicate between individuals and groups with direct, and group messaging. Many people have the experience, or mindset, that APRS is used primarily for location tracking. This is partially due to the limitations on many hardware implementations of APRS that vendors have provided. One way to learn more about APRS as a broader, and more powerful system is to utilize software to visualize, and interact with other stations, and objects. This short tutorial will discuss how to setup a software based user interface (UI) for APRS that will provide you with mapping, messaging, and object manipulation abilities, as well as how to connect that UI through a software based audio modem, or TNC, directly to a radio, so that other users within your immediate range, as well as the range of any digipeaters will be able to interact with the same local APRS data without any reliance on the internet, or internet gateways.

User interface:

There are several different user interfaces available that have been designed for APRS.

UI-View is a popular piece of software which is no longer being maintained as the original author has passed away.

YAAC is a successor/replacement to UI-View which is cross platform (Java) with a intuitive interface, and many capabilites. We will be using YAAC for this tutorial.

Xastir is primarily a Linux application built on the X windows library system. It is quite functional, but is less intuitive and is currently less activly developed than YAAC.

Audio Modem (TNC):

TNC's originally were AX.25 packet assembler/dissasemblers with the addition of a modem to convert baseband digital signals into audio tones. In the case of a software TNC, it has the same capabilites, encoding and decoding both the AX.25 layer, and data layer to and from audio so it can be transmitted or received from a radio.

Direwolf is the premier audio tnc, which is documented to run on Windows, OSX, Linux, and single board computer Linux environments such as Raspberry Pi BeagleBone Black etc.

RF Gateway:

The RF gateway is probably the simplest piece in the equation. You need only a radio that supports audio in, audio out, and VOX. There may be some complexity if you choose to make your own cables, however there are ready made cables for popular and inexpensive radios (Baofeng) which are available for under $20 from amazon, which feature isolation to protect both your computer, and your radio.

Here is a link to a high quality cable available on Amazon, which works for Boafeng radios:


It can be very helpful to have a radio that is capable of broadcasting an APRS beacon to test your setup as you go.

Your laptop may have a single plug for both headphone and microphone (TRRS) or it may have two seperate plugs. If you have two seperate plugs, you will need a splitter to seperate the microphone, and headphone connections from the cable linked to in the above RF gateway section. The cable linked below will split the two should you need it.

System setup:

We are going to build the APRS system from the ground up, starting with Direwolf, the audio modem/tnc and the RF gateway. If you are a Linux user, there are packages for direwolf in ubuntu/debian as well as yum based systems:

sudo apt-get install direwolf or sudo yum install direwolf

For Windows and OSX go to and follow the instructions to download the latest release and run direwolf from a command window.

direwolf does not need any configuration for our initial setup, simply run direwolf, connect the audio and microphone jacks between the computer and your radio, and tune your radio to 144.390.

Be certain that you do not have any rx-CTCSS or DCS tones setup. Set your squelch as low as it will go, and enable vox with the lowest setting possible on your radio. Now is the time when it is handy to have a HT that is capable of beaconing APRS data. If you have one, set it to beacon and you should start see data coming in on the terminal where direwolf is running. You may need to adjust the volume on the output of your radio, the output of your computer, as well as the microphone gain on your computer to get everything decoding properly.

Once you can reliably decode becons from a local HT, or from a digipeater within range, you can move on to setting up the YAAC user interface, and connecting it to direwolf.

YAAC, the APRS user interface software we are using, is a Java program and requires that your system has the Java runtime environment installed. For Linux users, be certain that you install the full JRE, and not a "headless" JRE, as the headless versions do not come with the graphical libraries that YAAC requires to run. Also as of this writing YAAC did not work with Java 9, however I experienced no problems using the OpenJDK Java 8 JRE so be sure to check the version you are installing.

After you have the Java Runtime Environment installed, download the self upacking binary for your operating system from the YAAC website at

For linux users, the file was not set as an executable, so I had to chmod +x YAAC_linux_x86.bin before running ./YAAC_linux_x86.bin

NOTE: YAAC does not extract itself into a directory - so you likely want to create a directory first, then move the self extracting file into that directory so that you dont end up with a bunch of files all over.

After the package has extracted, simply run the YACC.jar program. You can do this from the command line with: java -jar YACC.jar

YACC will ask you if you want help configuring it, select yes and walk through the steps configuring your call sign, latitude/longitude etc. When you get to the part about adding and configuring interfaces, select the option to "Add AGWPE Port". YACC will create a new window with default information populated - you MUST add your callsign, and change the transmit dropdown from "disabled" to "enabled". Click finish, and on the next screen you can decide whether you want to beacon or not (I chose yes) along with any free form comment you want, then click finish.

That is it - you have a basic APRS software station set up that can transmit, and recieve via RF link. You should see objects start to appear on the YAAC map view, and the direwolf command line output should match up with data YAAC is displaying.


From here you can learn how to create message groups, chat directly with stations, place objects on the map so that they are only visible to other local RF stations, or so that they propegate out through the internet via a digipeater I-Gate (if one is in range) so that they show up on the APRS-IS backbone (e.g.

u/kmc_v3 · 1 pointr/amateurradio

> Murs doesn't require part 95 to my knowledge

It says so right here on 47 C.F.R, Part 95.

Every radio service besides amateur radio (governed by Part 97) requires equipment to be certified for that service. Hams have the unique privilege of using whatever equipment we can get our hands on, including homebrew stuff. But of course that only applies within the ham frequency ranges, and we are responsible for ensuring the equipment meets the technical requirements for clean output, etc.

> how is one to tell the difference of the radio I'm using by listening.

Well, I said it's illegal, not that you'd get caught. I personally don't get my panties twisted about people using Baofengs on FRS/GMRS/MURS. I believe in being a good neighbor, not in following the law for the law's sake. But I also believe that you should know what the law is before you break it :)

That said, building repeaters is riskier both in terms of getting caught and in terms of causing issues for others. All the more reason to get a ham license.

> Yes I would love to get a ham license. And a gmrs license so I can make use of other gmrs repeaters in the area. I just don't know where to start.

To get the GMRS license you just fill out some paperwork and pay the FCC. I haven't done it, but this looks like a reasonable walkthrough.

The ham license involves passing a multiple-choice test. For VHF/UHF you only need the lowest grade of license (Technician) which is not very hard to get, and there are tons of study materials available. It's possible to cram for the test in just a few hours, but a lot of the material is actually useful stuff that will help you use radios more effectively, so I recommend learning it properly. I read through the ARRL book, which is very comprehensive, but there's also a free No-Nonsense Study Guide. has you covered for practice tests. I also got the "Ham Test Prep (New)" app for Android so I could drill on exams while I was on the train.

You can find an exam session here. The test is a lot cheaper than the GMRS license, somewhere between $0 and $15 depending on which VEC is running your session. Once you pass Technician, you'll be given the opportunity to attempt General right then and there, at no additional cost. Some people pass even without studying. If you think you might want to get into HF bands (good for super long-range communication) then even a little General studying could pay off, since General is required for almost everything on HF.

Some other links:

u/tmwrnj · 2 pointsr/amateurradio

Listening is a vital skill in amateur radio, so I suggest starting now. You don't need any equipment to do this - online SDR receivers allow you to tune in to the amateur HF bands using your web browser. This handy chart shows the frequency bands available to amateurs and lists common callsign prefixes. Just tune around the bands and listen in to some contacts to get a feel for things, even if you don't understand what's going on.

I'm assuming you're in the US, but if you're not then let me know and I'll try to provide advice more relevant to your country.

I'd recommend joining your local amateur radio club as soon as possible. You don't need to have a license to join a club. There's a tradition in amateur radio of informally mentoring new hams - we call these mentors "elmers". A good elmer can be a huge help when you're learning the hobby and working your way through the exams.

There are online video courses for the US Technician test available from KE4GKP, KE0OG and KB9OKB. These courses cover pretty much everything you need to know for the exam. The ARRL License Manual is a very good guide and will remain a useful reference book after you've passed. You can see the entire pool of questions for the technician exam or take a practice exam via the ARRL website.

When you think you're ready, take the technician exam. The exam fee is typically no more than $15, so don't be afraid to give it a try.

Once you've got your technician license, you'll want a radio. Technicians mainly have access to the VHF and UHF bands. Baofeng radios are a very popular choice for these bands - they aren't the best radios, but they are incredibly cheap, costing as little as $30. If you have a bigger budget, take a look at the handheld radios from Yaesu and Icom.

Don't stop at the technician license. The more you learn, the more you get out of the hobby. The HF bands are crucial for making international contacts, but technicians only have access to a small fraction of it, mainly the morse and data only bands. Moving up to the general, advanced and extra licenses will give you increasing access to the most exciting aspects of the amateur radio hobby.

u/threeio · 3 pointsr/amateurradio

Honestly if you are on a stock UV-5R, you may want to consider a few things.

Getting a better antenna for the HT itself.. the UV-5R's stock antenna is pretty lacking. Most people seem to end up with a Nagoya antenna such as: (shorter)
or (longer)

Going with a rooftop antenna... Depending on the height of your roof and the risks involved getting up there you could try a simple JPole antenna that you could build ( or or buy ( or you could do a commercial antenna if like in my initial case, climbing to the top of the roof involves risking life and limb. I'll defer to others for suggestions on antennas, the Diamond X-30 and X-50's appear to be very popular.

In my early days as a ham I got a commercial dual band vertical which served me very well, but it was also up an insanely high pitch roof so I wasn't going to go up there again anytime soon. In my current setup, I'm quite happy with a simple Ed Fong Modified Jpole design in some PVC pipe on top of a 1 story roof.

Sometimes its a fun project to start building one even if you go commercial, its good to know your base antenna is of good quality and will last, but there is some joy in building it yourself and getting on the air knowing your handwork is the cause of your good signal :)

u/stratoscope · 2 pointsr/amateurradio

The radio is an AnyTone AT-D868UV, a dual band (2M+440) with analog FM and DMR. Very popular with the DMR crowd, and even for analog it's a nice step up from the Baofengs.

The color display probably caught your eye. It was one of the reasons I bought the radio; I'm a sucker for nice displays. In DMR mode it shows you the callsign, name, and city of whoever is talking. In analog mode it shows the repeater name or frequency, so not so special in that mode.

This pretty TFT display does have a downside in that it's less usable in direct sunlight than the simple LCD in the Baofengs. (BTW don't be misled by the beautiful looking display you may see in listings for the BF-F8HP or RD-5R. That's not what it looks like; the display is actually identical to the honest photo of the UV-5X3.)

Audio quality for listening on the 868's speaker is nicer than the 5X3, with one exception: there is a "click" in the audio once per second if you're listening to a 2 meter analog repeater or station with a weak signal. AnyTone releases firmware updates about once a month, and they have fixed a number of other problems in those updates, so there is hope that this may be improved. (It's actually a hardware problem - the CPU emits radio frequency interference - but I think they could just wake up the CPU less often.)

Another interesting thing about the 868 is that it takes the same antennas as the Baofengs, and also the same accessory cables/microphones/etc. You don't need the FTDI cable that I recommended in another comment for the Baofengs though; the 868 comes with its own cable.

The 868 sells for about $170, so quite a bit more than the Baofengs but still well within the budget you mentioned.

Regarding the Diamond antenna vs. Signal Stick, each one has advantages and disadvantages. You can coil up the Signal Stick and tie it in a knot so it stays coiled for a nice little pocket-sized package. Its hand-made quality has a certain kind of amateur charm, and buying it supports the excellent site. The Diamond is more professionally made, still flexible but not nearly as wiggly as the Signal Stick, and you can't tie it in a knot. Both seem to perform equally well.

u/Whoknew72 · 3 pointsr/amateurradio

The Kenwood is going to be a higher quality radio but it won't like gain you much as far as distance on the TX. Gotta start with a better antenna.

the Baofeng is a fine enough radio and at such a cheap price it's hard to go wrong. A buddy has the UV 82 and the earlier one, the UV5. The difference is really minimal as far as output and general performance.

If it were me, for my type of use, I'd go with the cheaper UV 5 and a decent Nagoya antenna. Even better, this UV82 is cheaper yet.

If you're going hand held the Nagoya will be best. If you're inside build a copper J-Pole and put it on your home somewhere high for even better performance. If the J-pole is too much a simple ground plane can be soldered together super easily and will get you great performance as well.

Summary, the HT performance for distance is more about ANTENNA!

u/slick8086 · 2 pointsr/amateurradio

>I have a Baofeng UV-5R, and I really liked the learning curve of it all: CHIRP, the site, discovering I can't do IRLP (stupid "D" tone doesn't work on the new Baofeng firmware).

I'm new too, passed my test on 5 July, got my callsign less than a week later. I got the BF-F8+ (which is supposedly the same as a UV-5R).

On my local repeaters there is IRLP, but it isn't set up so that just anyone can use it. You have to have permission. That said, the most popular repeater in my area is connected to the reflector in Denver all the time pretty much.

My community is pretty lively and active in the ARES and other emergency services. I'm listening to how they run nets every week, and actually last night there was a forest fire and they ran a standby net. I'm thinking of volunteering for that too. We have events that the local emergency organizations help with, like recently the Eppie's Great Race. All that you need to volunteer for stuff like that is a HT and a license.

Another thing I did was make an antenna following this tutorial.

I haven't been able to try it over simplex yet. I did try it with my local repeater (N6ICW) but I guess I'm close to one of the receivers because I get reports that I'm full quieting with even with my Nagoya NA-771, so my home made antenna didn't sound any different for better or worse.

It looks like you have a fair number of 2M repeaters in and around Atlanta (I'm guessing that's where you're near). Maybe try listening on a few different ones.

Also I found this:

On the second page it list a bunch of nets, more than one every day of the week, try listening to some of those to see if there is something that piques your interest.

Also if you are still using the duck antenna, get rid of it and get one of these:

u/[deleted] · 8 pointsr/amateurradio

If you're just looking into radio to see if it's right for you, which it seems like you are, your first port of call should be finding a radio club. It's easy, just go to this page from the ARRL. They'll help you get your license (seriously, wives of hams often have licenses they never thought they'd get), they're some of the nicest guys you'll ever meet, you can go over to their house and they'll let you try their radios out (you can operate a radio even if you're unlicensed, there just has to be a licensed operator with you), and in my experience, they're really generous and will let you borrow radios or just straight up give old ones to you that they don't use anymore. If you find out that radio isn't really for you, they're usually great friends overall and you'll probably be glad to have met them. They're also really great question-answerers.


Now, if you're already licensed and are looking into getting on 2 meters with a Baofeng, here's what I'd buy:

  • This Baofeng UV-5R.

  • This programming cable (Baofengs are notoriously hard to program from the keypad).

  • This improved rubber duck antenna, since the stock one is a piece-o-shite.

  • And finally, this cable that will allow you to connect the uncommon (in the ham radio world) SMA connector on the top of the baofeng to the infinitely more common PL-259 connector.

    All in all, you're looking at spending about a Benjamin or less on a proper Baofeng setup.

    Hope this helps!
u/zachlinux28 · 2 pointsr/amateurradio

Yeah its pretty sick. I've not tried for the ISS, but have had middling luck with listening to ham radio satellites with a handheld. Your best (and easiest, cheapest) bet would be to purchase a new radio. While the Baofeng type radios are pretty decent for that, if you are into bang for your buck fun, try your hand at rtl-sdr type receivers. I have one I bought for 15 bucks and hacked it up and had a heck lot of fun! With the radio you have, you are best off getting a local ham that is into tech to hook it up to a signal generator and check the alignment and sensitivity of it for you. It's not super hard, but you sorta need a bit of experience.

u/Buss1000 · 1 pointr/amateurradio

This is definitely what ham radio is made for.

You didn't talk about the terrain or the area you need to cover, but for local stuff a simple VHF or UHF setups cover that.

If simplex can't cover it often repeaters go unused like in my area, and can be happily used like I do from my basement 10 miles away with a handheld radio. I've heard of people using it over 30 miles eaily with a mobile setup.

If that doesn't cover it I do know a few people that do HF mobile, but I don't have much experience with that. It has some challenges, but is similar to a mobile VHF/UHF setup.

Look for local clubs, and see where repeaters are. Get everyone licensed; general if you want to do HF stuff for fun later, but IMO just go as far as you can as the license is for life as long as you remember to renew it. HT Boafangs are pretty cheap to get started with, plus at least one programing cable to use with Chirp software, then some better antenna can help too.

A mobile setup is similar I'd say to a CB one. You have a unit that you put in your car and then have fun trying to mount the antenna (drilling vs magmount). Universal radio, DX Engineering, and Ham Radio Outlet are common places to buy equipment.

Anything else?

u/cuweathernerd · 3 pointsr/amateurradio

Just launched a balloon this week using this set-up. It worked beautifully. I'm assuming you're following the makezine article? If so, be careful to adjust the values of a couple of the surface mount resistors in the software because the trackunio expects values of like 10kOhm and the article lists like a 6.x kOhm one. There are variables to do so either way.

A few quick notes: learned the hard way, it's better to over-inflate your balloon than under inflate it. A difference in 1m/s ascent rate can have big effects on your time to go retrieve things. It pushed us into a really heavily forested area and made retrieval hard. I'd make a complete dummy payload that you attach to your filling apparatus, so when that lifts off the ground, you know you have the right mass + free lift. Then remove the dummy payload and attach your real flight line. It can be hectic at launch but our transmitter worked for much longer than the 4 hour duration of the flight (used disposable AA lithium batteries) so you've got some time to go. Likewise, our CHDK hacked camera worked well past landing. Patience at launch will save you frustration later.

Secondly, the trackunio code we used wasn't well configured when it comes to repeats. I thought I had fixed it but apparently I didn't flash the most recent code over to uno. Anyway, we ended up asking for repeats through the whole flight, and not just when we were less than 5kft above the ground. I feel pretty bad about this because balloons cover a big area and I don't want to clog up 144.390. In hindsight, I should have tested this by setting my threshold below my current altitude when I was driving around.

For recovery, i found typing the exact lat/long (in hours, min, sec) into and putting it in pedestrian mode to work beautifully. Got us to within 50 feet of the balloon, with a countdown of how far away we were. This was great.

While I used aprs droid to decode things out of my 2m radio, I actually got better performance from a cheap sdr receiver and gqrx. We didn't fail to decode a single packet with that set up and a cheap magnet mount 2m antenna, while APRS droid + the dedicated radio missed a couple. I'd highly recommend the little dongle if you don't have one. They're loads of fun outside the ballon.

Finally, just in case you've not seen them balloon performance calculator and landing predictor.

u/VA7EEX · 3 pointsr/amateurradio

Welcome to the sub! Congrats on passing your Tech.

First up pick up an RTLSDR, these are great little receivers that will cover 30MHz-1700MHz which covers a tremendous swathe of spectrum. Definitely check out the different types of antennas you can make over on Antenna-Theory, the RTL-SDR blog and /r/rtlsdr

Then if you want to transmit on the post popular amateur bands for techs (which are local to your area) pick up a VHF/UHF Baofeng radio like a UV-B5, UV-82 or UV-5R. Not a whole lot of difference between any of them; I think the UV-B5 is the better one, since it has a better antenna and a rotary encoder. But it's very much up to you as to what you get (style > substance after all :) ).

Now from there its a question of what where you are. City? Rural? Nearby airport? Ports or ocean?

Edit: I should start linking to the wiki more often: Baofeng radios and Your First Radio are good places to start.

u/soawesomejohn · 1 pointr/amateurradio

I posted below, but if you're looking for a solid switching power supply for ~$30, here you go: <- I have specifically purchased this one from this vender several times to great success. There are a number of people in my go kit group that have tested these as well and they provide clean 12VDC.

  • You'll have to wire up an electrical plug and 12V out.
  • Always exercise caution when dealing with household current.
  • Make sure you understand household wiring (black =hot, white = neutral, green/bare = ground).
  • Don't trust the colors to be correct.
  • Make sure the power supply is set to match your house (115 in US)
  • Use a multimeter to check each wire before attaching to the power supply.
  • Use a power strip to test plugging in, they have their own circuit breaker
  • User a multimeter to check 12V is coming out.
  • There is a screw you can turn to adjust output voltage. I suggest you keep it above 12V, but as low as will run your equipment. If you find equipment turning off on transmit, raise it up. The higher you raise it, the more the fan will run. I optimize for quiet because these run on my desk. If you don't mind the fan noise, set it at 13.8V.

u/bsdboy · 1 pointr/amateurradio

Here's where you can find a testing center near you:

The test is based off of this book:

You can practice at a number of sites, this one helped me years ago:

This is a newer collection, created by a user here (Sorry, I forget who):

Cost of the test is $15, and there are 3 different levels (see below). If you pass Technician you can take General for free, and if you pass General as well you can take the Extra exam at no cost as well. Your $15 pays for as many tests as you can take in a day, until you fail one... and there are only 3 level of tests. If you fail the test, you're free to pay another $15 to try again but please be mindful that the people giving the tests are just us ham radio operators, we're not paid and we're taking the time to try and get others certified. If there aren't a lot of people there and the VE's seem okay with you trying for General (if you haven't studied) after you pass your Technician, ask them and they'll likely tell you to go right ahead. If it's busy and you haven't studied for it, please be mindful or others time is all we ask.

  • Technician (1st level, pretty easy) gives you UHF/VHF and some HF to play with.
  • General (2nd level, also pretty easy) gives you most of the HF frequencies.
  • Extra (Very difficult if you don't know electronics, can be moderate if you do know electronics) gives you about 10% more than General. Not a lot, except for a few perks. Better call signs and you don't have to worry about where you are in the band you're talking in.

    Any questions please ask. We love this hobby and it's really no bother.
u/its_bananas · 1 pointr/amateurradio

I've been playing with 2m antennas for my UV5-R so I'll list some options I've played with starting from cheapest on up.

First get the antenna outside and as high as you can. Seems like a no brainer but it really increases your range. More so than a better antenna.

Add a counterpoise (aka tiger tail, rat tail, etc). Really just a piece of wire connected to the ground of your existing rubber duck and will cost almost nothing. If you search you'll probably find mixed reviews. I've noticed a marginal increase in range and reception.

Nagoya NA-771 is an inexpensive ($17) whip that is definitely better than the stock antenna you're using. No guarantees but it may have the extra gain you need to hit that repeater.

N9TAX roll up slim jim is portable antenna that you can throw in a back pack and deploy anywhere you can hang it - in your bedroom, from a balcony, etc. I've taken fishing line and a weight thrown them over a tree branch and hoisted it 10 feet in the air. Way better than your rubber duck and only $30 delivered with 16ft of feedline.

Building your own j pole will probably run you more than any of the previous options unless you have all the tools (torch, solder) and have scrap copper pipe laying around. That being said you might be able to make the slim jim yourself for a bit less (but not much). Building your own is lots of fun and you can learn a lot. It isnt always cheaper though. Try([this] if it you're interested.

u/getpoked · 1 pointr/amateurradio

Agreed BUT the whole reason I purchased the thing was to monitor APRS. This kind of goes to what original is saying, its a nice feature but its not done well for the price you pay.

If I have GPS off, beacon off, and APRS on. What does that use 3-4 times the battery of just listening to 144.390 on audio? Its absurd that the radio's power usage shoots up reading the few bytes of the aprs packet compared to driving a .75w speaker.

Throw that aside, just money wise.

TH-D74A was recently on sale for 479.99. Compare it to a kit to make the baofung comparable functionally. TriBand, wide recieve, aprs even assuming you have no phone.

Triband uv-5 $35

Audio Cable $19 complete rip off but whatever

Amazing SSB/AirBand/AM/FM wide reciever to compliment it $170

Cheap android $40

APRS Droid, Repeaterbook Proximity Search - Free

260 bucks gets you the same functionality, granted in pieces. Is 200 bucks really worth DStar it being bundled into one piece. You would arguably get better AM/FM/SSB reception with this setup and could load a dozen books onto the android phone to use as reference on the go.

u/Pyrallis · 2 pointsr/amateurradio

The numbers stations you can pick up depend a lot on your location. I love my little Sony ICF-SW7600GR, and have listened to numbers stations on it. The numbers stations I hear are Cuban ones. A shortwave will let you listen in on pretty much anything. I've heard aircraft navigation beacons, conversations between hams, Morse code chatter, world band international programming, and Coast Guard contacts with distressed boaters. If you do get a shortwave before getting licensed, the book Passport to World Band Radio is well worth getting. It contains guide charts to international broadcasts you can tune in, and includes reviews of various shortwave radios you might consider purchasing.

You do know that in a properly executed numbers station, the code they use is uncrackable? Not uncrackable as in really difficult, but as in mathematically impossible. Don't let that detract from your desire, though. Listening in is still fun, and I think the uncrackable nature makes the code that much more mysterious. It is fun to spend an evening listening to the code, and let your imagination run wild as to what message, if anything, the spies in the field are getting. I've done it.

Have you heard of the Conet Project? It's a 4 CD recording of categorized numbers stations! The publisher has made it freely available for download, and encourages P2P distribution, so you can grab it from The Pirate Bay, or directly from the publisher's site. If you download from the publisher's site, don't forget to grab the PDF booklet, too.

u/GiggityWoo · 9 pointsr/amateurradio

Ignore reddit subs. There's not a lot of info out there. Incidentally I spent a good couple of years researching this and bought about 20 books on the subject in the end. Most of the textbooks are complete drivel. The books I list below are notably different. I assume you want focus on Amateur Radio as part of it so I have included only books which treat it in context to that.

Experimental Methods in RF design. Covers literally everything, relatively up to date and relevant. Expensive but fantastic book on so many levels. Comes with a copy of Solid State Design for the Radio Amateur which was a good predecessor from the 1980s on CDROM:

Practical RF Design Manual. Covers blocks and individual system components. Nice book but old. The techniques are still valid however. Very accessible and well written:

The Electronics of Radio. Covers a full system level engineering of a transceiver, and all electronics fundamentals. There are practicals in it and you require some half decent and therefore relatively expensive test gear. It is focused around the Norcal 40A transceiver designed by the guy who runs Elecraft now. If you want to learn in steps rather than from a reference, this book is gold:

The first title can be obtained from Library Genesis if you want to trial it before buying.

Not sure what country you are in but the above are available from or amazon in EU as well.

u/bengals02 · 1 pointr/amateurradio

I need help choosing my first radio. I want to get it just after my exam in late December (after Christmas) so that I can order it right after I get my license (hopefully!). I've narrowed it down to 4 radios. I'm on a bit of a budget, so that's why I'm going really cheap.

  1. [Baofeng UV-5RA] (

  2. [BaoFeng UV-5RE] (

  3. [Baofeng UV5R] (

  4. [BaoFeng UV-5RB] (

    This list is in no particular order but I would prefer to get the UV-RE because I want the emergancy alerts and the flashlight (I'm not sure if any of the other ones have those).

    I have also found what seems to be a [good, cheap antenna] (, an NA-771, but I would like to know if there are any better, cheaper ones out there that connect to the radios I stated above.

    My price range for everything is about $45, but I will go to $55 if I have to. I would also be open to any better radios out there that are within my price range. Thanks in advance for your help!

    Tl;dr - I need a $45 radio and I need you guys to help me decide on one, or lean me towards another one.
u/N9SJA · 1 pointr/amateurradio


I would recommend something like a Tecsun PL-660 if you don't want to spend too much money. Check

The Sony ICF-SW7600GR is also nice.

If you can spend money like in the $300 - $500 range look for a used Kenwood R5000 or Icom IC-71A or Icom R-75. Those are all really good recievers as well and many times you can find them for a bargain under $500. It all depends on your budget. I would recommend reading about them a bit first before you decide so that you can get the features that you want. But those radios are my general recommendation.

Hope that helps! 73! de Nick N9SJA

u/Sky_Lobster · 1 pointr/amateurradio

Thanks for your feedback! Here's another one I was looking at that is a bit pricier but claims to have a greater wattage output:

I did some searching on Amazon for a 50W mobile radio, but there aren't many options. Any model in particular you recommend for this use case? Ideally something I could pick up from a Best Buy or order from Amazon one-day shipping.

I don't plan to use these regularly until licensed, but want something in case of an emergency this weekend during the hurricane.

Thank you so much!

Edit: another one I was eyeballing -

u/IntHatBar · 3 pointsr/amateurradio

Wow, Thanks for all of the great information! So it sounds like I can get better reception with my SDR by purchasing an "upconverter" like this one from amazon?

The SDR antenna I have is tiny. Is there an antenna I can buy and put in my attic that could give me better reception?

u/SniffMarkers247 · 2 pointsr/amateurradio

>What modes/frequencies are you looking at using?

I really have no idea. To be honest, looking at the band allocations, I genuinely don't understand the difference between the bands. Is it basically just if there's people on a particular frequency, then you find another in your band allocation? I suppose it would be difficult to listen to the higher bands without having a huge antenna?

>Are you comfortable with used equipment?

Sure, but the only issue is that since I have no idea what to look for when buying amateur radio equipment, I don't know whether something is trustworthy or not. Since it's expensive electronics and stuff, I feel like that can easily go wrong and I might need a warranty/return, and used equipment scares me a bit. Nevertheless, if there's a way to make an educated decision when buying used equipment that you could help me with, I'd appreciate it.

>Are you near a city/town that has a club presence and possibly a club rig you can book time on?

There's a club presence but it's basically just a bunch of old guys who meet once a month to talk about ridiculously complicated electronics stuff which I don't really understand yet. I think (???) my university has an amateur radio club, so I'll try to visit them, but other than that I have no other contacts.

>Are you interested in exploration/listening/making contact? (SDR dongles can be a huge cost saver if looking at passive comms).

Not really too concerned with making contacts, more about learning about the equipment/science/electronics so that I can make projects of my own in my dorm/college so that I can talk about it to job interviewers. I have an SDR dongle, but I still really don't understand it that well. Can it basically receive everything that a regular transceiver can, but more? Or are there limitations? I understand that it can't transmit and that's cool, but I really get confused by the software aspect. Also, apparently my dongle has a direct sampling feature that can be accessed via software, but to get to the HF frequencies, do I need to actually buy/make my own special antenna just for the HF frequencies or can I use the little telescoping antenna included?

The big question I have is that there are so many frequencies/bands but I don't know what the difference is/what they're used for. All I'm doing now is just going up and down the regular FM bands while also slowly going through the RTL-SDR manuals to understand it. I just think it might be nice/helpful to actually have a hardware transciever that I can play with and hopefully learn about the hardware side when making my own systems/projects (which again, I don't know what I can do, maybe make some repeaters or something no idea) that I can talk about to employers in the telecom/networks field.

u/funbob · 16 pointsr/amateurradio
u/NoahFect · 1 pointr/amateurradio

I'd probably use a toroid in the tank circuit instead of the old-school plug-in coil, and an AC supply to save 'A' and 'B' batteries. Maybe add another audio stage so I could hear signals from more than a few feet away. It never worked very well and I was probably lucky not to electrocute myself, but it was pretty cool nonetheless.

For a newbie? Well, I wouldn't recommend using tubes, to begin with, unless you're just hyper-interested in older technology. The whole thing will fit on one chip, of course, but that's going too far in the other direction IMHO. I'd probably recommend building one of the simpler receivers based on JFETs and bipolars in Wes Hayward's book, to build some intuition about what happens when you put your fingers on the wires. Where you go from there is wide open, but start simple.

/didn't read post, probably should've

u/mwilliams · 7 pointsr/amateurradio

Sounds like an HT would be a good first addition.

  • Baofeng UB-82 - Dual band HT, great for local communication, repeater access, etc etc. You can also monitor other public service frequencies/weather band. $37.50
  • Handheld mic for the Baofeng - Nice if you keep it on your desk in a charger, or if the radio is clipped to a bag or something, you can still access the mic (it's also a speaker). $6.37
  • USB Programming Cable - Easily program memory channels with your computer. $20.46
  • Upgraded antenna for the HT - This one is pretty big, plenty on Amazon of various size which will vary in performance, but anything should be better than the stock antenna. $16.99

    Well that's $81.32. Remaining could be spent on an extra battery, a power cable for the car etc etc.
u/Kadin2048 · 3 pointsr/amateurradio

I'm not that much further along than you, so perhaps others will chime in and in that case I'll defer to their recommendations.

I'd start by buying a receive-only SDR "dongle" which will let you start playing with some of the software. They are repurposed DVB-T (European digital tv) tuners, and the better ones have some additional heatsinks and stuff to make them more frequency-stable.

I have this one, and have given a few similar ones to friends:

The major limitation is actually the bottom end of its frequency range... if you want to use it to listen to HF, you need an upconverter. But you can add that later... there's a lot of stuff to listen to just in the FM broadcast band and up through VHF/UHF.

The software I'd start with is "Gqrx" and it's available for multiple platforms, just don't run it on an old beater PC because it's reasonably processor intensive. (Personally I would get a dedicated machine and run Linux on it, because once you get near the actual cutting edge of SDR development, where you'll be pulling random code from Github, that's where the interesting stuff is. Windows means you're going to be stuck waiting for someone to make you binaries or dealing with a toolchain that's different than most of the devs, so they're going to be less likely to be able to help you when you have an issue. Mac OS is seemingly okay but there are some things that are a pain to build.)

Anyway, Gqrx will let you poke around and see/hear what's going on in the spectrum around you. You'll be able to see all the FM and TV broadcast, pagers, cellphones, garage door openers, utility monitors, wireless thermostats, etc. Gqrx doesn't demodulate that many things natively, but you can see and hear them (put it into CW or SSB mode to listen, the digital modes sound very distinctive).

From there... there seem to be a couple of routes. One is to play around more on the software side. The heavy hitter for SDR software is GNURadio, almost all the other software is based on it in some way. It's got a fair learning curve to it, though—this is where I am presently. But it allows you to write modules to demodulate various signals, and if you are a programmer you could start contributing to the cutting edge by working on new modules (they're mostly written in C with glue code in Python, from what I can tell).

To start transmitting you'll need more hardware, because the cheap RTL-SDR dongles don't transmit (well, there are some hacks to make them transmit, but they're real hacks). I haven't settled on what device to get, and it feels like buying a PC in 1996—every few months there's something better/faster/cheaper. If I were going to buy one today I'd probably get a "HackRF One" (about $300) but mostly because I know a couple of guys in my local club who have them, and they seem to be pretty popular—but there are definitely cheaper options around, I'm just not sure how well-supported they are.

Beyond that... it really depends what you want to do. There's some really neat stuff going on right now where cybersecurity overlaps with radio stuff... GPS spoofing and anti-spoofing, for instance, is a big area of research (like you could probably put in 6 months of hard effort and be on the cutting edge of this stuff, I think, at least outside of the military labs). But within traditional amateur radio there's some really neat new digital modes that do slow data rate / low power comms, basically letting you send data over distances at crazy low power levels just barely above the noise floor. I think that stuff is cool—and it doesn't duplicate stuff that your cellphone does. Sky's the limit really.

u/eclipse75 · 7 pointsr/amateurradio

My ideas:

u/ad6dm · 2 pointsr/amateurradio

For mobile 2m/440, I simply picked up a unity gain TRAM NMO mount mobile antenna with a trunk lip mount. I'm sure you could quickly find a NMO lipmount or front hood mount or fender mount. It's an unobtrusive short antenna that I easily hit repeaters with upwards of 50 miles away on 5 watts (I live in a valley so the repeaters are all line of sight on mountaintops.)

If you're looking more for HF antennas, your options grow narrower since it can't be "ugly" and HF antennas, even the loaded coil hamstick types, tend to be fairly conspicuous. A self-tuning antenna is the best compromise in those situations (e.g. a ATAS-120A). But I think you're looking for a normal VHF/UHF antenna.

I have seen antennas mounted between the cab and bed, and I cannot speak for their loss, but I imagine it's best to get it on the roof of the cab or on the edges of the vehicle somewhere for optimal performance.

u/hamonwholehf · 2 pointsr/amateurradio

Let's see if I can help...

Two cables exist for USB to serial control to the radio. One has the FTDI Chipset and one has the Prolific Chipset. The difference between the two is that the FTDI is bullet-proof reliable and will be one less headache for you as a ham. The Prolific is hit or miss. Some people have luck with it, and some people don't. As a new ham, I wouldn't want someone to get too frustrated which is why I recommend the better cable. The bonus is it works with Kenwood and Wouxun radios as well.

Good luck!

u/VeryShibes · 16 pointsr/amateurradio

Lots of us like HamStudy as the admin is a member of this sub and takes feedback/suggestions from us from time to time. It's focused mainly on practice tests although there is a good amount of explanatory information alongside the questions.

Some aspiring hams still like paper books... the most popular one is the ARRL License Manual which has a lot of the underlying theory, I also like the Gordon West books which are basically a paper version of

u/kawfey · 6 pointsr/amateurradio

So, is your mission is to, telemetry, etc from a drone? If you want to send video, this changes things and you're muuuuch better off buying off-the-shelf FPV kits. Telemetry and command/control is a lot easier.

This thing is one hackish way to get what you want but as is, all it does is send position and telemetry at predefined time or position intervals for use on the APRS network.

An even more hackish way is building an audio interface between a Cheap radio with an arduino (using Trackuino software) that lets it transmit AX.25 packet data. It's only going to be 1.2kbps, i.e. very, very, very slow.

Upgrading to a faster amateur radio data system that can send digital video and fast telemetry is basically going to be an DIY approach, either brewing circuits yourself or putting COTS parts that aren't designed to be put together, together, because more-or-less, ham radio has been left in the dust when it comes to high-speed data radio tech. Either way requires a fair bit of EE and/or programming skill. Just check out FaradayRF. Those guys have been working on that data radio for 3 years before selling product. That's why I'd recommend an FPV setup for video, and data radios built for your purpose.

Disclaimer: Before you do any of those things above, you do need a technicians amateur radio license. Start here (lmao i took that photo), then skim through this, and take practice tests here, and use this to find a license exam in your area. It costs $15. the real point of needing a license is to educate users that there are regulations on radio emissions, such as transmitting things willy-nilly is a bad idea (because it interferes with other users of radio spectrum); to help cultivate a common interest in radio technology, and also that ham radio is pretty fuckin cool.

If you don't get a license, you're stuck to super-low power off-the-shelf things (of sometimes questionable legality) and stuff that operates in the same band as Wifi (aka ISM bands).

u/d3sl91 · 0 pointsr/amateurradio

+1 just get a new magmount with the proper connections that can handle 50W. (If you are not yet prepared to drill a hole...which is the "best" option).

Personally a huge fan of getting an NMO magnet mount and an NMO antenna.

  1. You get a good NMO magnet mount capable of a larger antenna if desired (Ive used the exact mount with a beefy 40" antenna with zero issues).
  2. You get a mount with NMO which is a standard mobile mount, compatible with many antennas.
  3. You get a good dual band antenna, which is also an NMO mount.
  4. If you get a permanent or lip mount in the future, you can use this antenna since it is NMO. I personally have done this very thing, and have this antenna as my primary VHF/UHF antenna on an NMO mount on the roof of my SUV.
  5. If you get a permanent or lip mount in the future, you can keep the NMO base and use it for road trips in rental cars, the spouse's car, etc.

    Basically, you get many options down the road.
u/grendelt · 1 pointr/amateurradio

Does he have a handheld radio?
If not, Amazon has the Baofeng UV5R or Baofeng UV-5RA for less than $35 each (same radio, just different styling - I have the UV5R).
May we (I) also recommend getting this $7 programming cable so he can program it from his computer (easier than doing it by hand). And this $8 antenna will allow the radio to perform better than the one it comes with.

If he does not already have a radio like this, such a gift would surely surprise him and keep him busy all during Christmas.

u/speakeasyboy · 2 pointsr/amateurradio

I originally thought it'd be fun to be able to talk with my friend who lives in a neighborhood about a mile away from me. After scratching the surface of two way radios, I soon found out that might not be so easy. I've looked at Midland, Uniden, Motorola, etc. And I just can't decide which would be a good option. So, my question to all you folks is, what two way radio should I be considering? I would love the option of NOAA access in the event of an emergency but it's not necessary. I'm also not looking to spend too much.

This keeps coming up as an option. Should I be reluctant or just go for it? Any better options?

Thanks in advance for at least reading.

u/kc2syk · 2 pointsr/amateurradio

Awesome list!

So to talk to people local-ish, I would suggest a mobile radio on your vehicle. See this list of mobile radios, and this list of mobile antennas. See for info on installation and hardware selection.

You may want a VHF (2m) or VHF/UHF (2m/70cm) radio, depending on local activity.

See here for some kits you can build:

u/WB6GSE · 1 pointr/amateurradio

So couple things here. As far as the mast collapsing to "reasonable size" is very open ended. To me in my big SUV 6 foot is reasonable. So someone in a Toyota Yaris, 6 foot is not so reasonable. :-)

While hanging a wire from a tree might be feasible in some area's in others it isn't. (Ask me why I bought a buddipole to use portable in Las Vegas hahaha)

You might want to look into a crappie pole, I found a 20 footer on Amazon that collapses down to like 39 inches. It's less than $29.00 and the first two 5 star reviews are about using it for a wire antenna support. ( Then you could either use it for a low inverted V or even a sloper type antenna. While you may not break any distance records with an antenna this low, it will be better than no antenna.

Good luck and let me know when you are headed out this way and maybe we can try a QSO on VHF/UHF and maybe even try HF. I laughingly talk to a neighbor of mine on 6/20/40M anytime I hear him on as he is all of 1 mile away. :-)

u/cdwilliams1 · 4 pointsr/amateurradio

You can make contacts with just a standard “rubber duck” antenna and a cheapo Chinese radio. Checkout this video to See this in action. This radio is usually around $30 on Amazon.

Of course a better antenna will help tremendously. Better radio would help too. Depends on how deep you get into the hobby :-)

u/DiabloKing · 6 pointsr/amateurradio

Welcome! Nice to see that your interested in the hobby I myself just got licensed about 2 months ago now. I recommend picking up a cheap Baofeng UV-5R from amazon for about 35$. Then hop on over to and look for repeaters in your area to program and listen away! That's what I did before I got my ticket just don't key up the repeater.

u/HeegeMcGee · 1 pointr/amateurradio

I have a Grundig G3 Globe Traveler that I like a lot. It's a very simple but versatile multiband receiver. Covers the popular HF frequencies as well as shortwave, am and fm. AND it can rx ssb. Catching a few qsos and psk rag chews with this little guy got me back into radio.

edited to add: Looks like the G3 isn't in production anymore, but this little sony number seems to be about the same:

u/10MeV · 3 pointsr/amateurradio

My first radio was a Baofeng Uv-82. Their quality is variable, and I was lucky to get a good one. They're cheap, but may not be the best choice for a new ham just due to the potential frustrations.

The repeaters in many areas are pretty quiet, though I understand southern CA to be more active.

The Yaesu FT70DR is a good choice, quality for price. Any of the major radio makers (Kenwood, Icom, Yaesu) make decent HTs.

The Baofeng (and other value-price Chinese radios, like Tytera), offer a lot of value for the dollar. Their sketchy quality can be frustrating for a new user (you may have a bad radio but just think you're not doing it right). Having said that, my first radio was a Baofeng UV-82 and it works fine.

I program it with Chirp (free programming software used by many), via a programming cable. If you go that way, buy the real programming cable from Btech, not one of the cheaper (<$10) clones. It's not just a simple cable, it has a chipset in it, and Windows drivers are an issue with the clones.

Oh, and if you're already studying for the Technician, go ahead and review the General material too. It's not a big stretch from Technician to General, and if you pass the Technician ask them to take the General right after. No extra cost to you, and you may pass it! The HF digital modes are quite popular and not real hard to get into. My next radio was an Icom IC-7100 since it could do so much at a reasonable price. It's still my primary base station.

u/Remingtonh · 1 pointr/amateurradio

This is a knockoff?. It's sold by "Baofeng Tech." Seems legit.

I have bought and checked with meters and it seems to be good. I'm pretty sure a diamond antenna I've bought in the past was a knockoff, actually.

u/TheChemistAstronaut · 1 pointr/amateurradio

Good day everyone!

I just have a quick question about the "accuracy" of the Tx frequency shown on a radio display.I'm planning to purchase the Baofeng UV-5R (Link below) as my first handheld transceiver.

I was wondering, if I select 453.212 MHz as my transmission frequency on the display, what frequencies am I actually transmitting on? Would someone on 453.213, 453.222, or 453.312 be able to hear my transmission?

In other words, what is the accuracy of the transmitter?


Link to Amazon page for the UV-5R that I am planning to purchase.

u/neilenzukit · 4 pointsr/amateurradio

I started with a Baofeng UV5R, programming cable and a Nagoya 771 antenna upgrade.
Scroll down a little and you'll see all offered for $49.58.
Where do you live? We can help you find a local club, the folks there will be more than happy to welcome you.

u/Fubs261 · 2 pointsr/amateurradio

I was reading some of the questions on the the Baofeng Amazon page. Some were saying that although they could broadcast on FRS, it is considered illegal to because they are higher power than FRS? So, I am under the impression that the Baofeng isn't exactly a simple handheld to handheld option. Having the ability to listen in to local police/fire/EMS and other information has piqued my interest.


Would it be possible to have legal handheld to handheld communication like during caravans/convoys/general use for around 1 mile with the Baofeng? The more that I'm trying to look into it, the more it seems that If I want to listen in to the above and/or find other things to listen to, get the Baofeng, but I won't ever be able to use it to transmit. I'm under the impression that I would never be able to transmit because of this thread from 2 months ago on this sub. I see several posts saying that all the frequencies are in use and should never be transmitted on. How and what do you guys transmit then, if all frequencies are in use?

To meet my physical needs, I'd need to purchased something like the Midland GXT1000VP4

u/EltaninDraconis · 1 pointr/amateurradio

If you just want to receive, then a $20 USB stick like this is a good place to start. From there you can experiment with antennas and see what you can pick up. Here is a Hak5 episode covering it.

If you want to transmit, you will need to get your license and a transceiver. You can get a dual-band Baofeng handheld on amazon for about $30 if you want to just try the hobby out. has the question pool for each license class (start with technician), then you need to find a testing session in your area when you are ready to take the test. Sessions usually cost $15.

Also check out the links on the sidebar. The IRC channel is also a good place to ask specific questions.

u/bites · 1 pointr/amateurradio

Well looks like it should work, you may need to route through digital audio though software like dsdplus to decode digital audio. I'm not seeing anything about it being encrypted.

If you don't have one yet I recommend this rtl-sdr. There is also a version that comes with an okay antenna for about $5 more.

You will want two of them, one that only listens to the trunking control channel and the other to do the voice frequency.

u/IKanSpl · 4 pointsr/amateurradio

Gecko45 is that you?

You'll be the guy/girl at work that is "too good" for the standard equipment and your coworkers/boss might react badly. Do you really want to be "that guy"?

FRS frequencies are 0.5 watts from a handheld, not 2 watts. You'd be using 10 times the legal power. It also means the battery will go dead 10 times faster while transmitting.

MURS would go through walls better then FRS. CB would go through walls better then MURS, but CB needs an 8 foot tall antenna to be efficient so it isn't practical.

My suggestion, get this:

It is the only Baofeng that is type accepted by the FCC for MURS. It's also cheap.

You won't need the programming cable as these are set correctly for MURS out of the box.

Amazon has trouble keeping them in stock because they are powerful for a handheld and US-legal without a liscense.

It will only work to other MURS radios, so you'll want 2 of them.

u/deeperror · 2 pointsr/amateurradio

check out /r/rtlsdr lots of friends, advice and links to cool things that can be done with them.

There are cheaper ones out there that are most likely exactly the same chips...but this is the one that I purchased:

If you want to cover even more bandwidth (ham bands) I also have one of these:

And depending on your OS of choice there are a few different free programs you can use to give you a front end.

windows: sdr#
mac: gqrx

u/nvertedflyer · 1 pointr/amateurradio

Here are some pics of mine. I run an Icom ID-880H and Yaesu FTM-100DR and love them both. I am running the I am running the Diamond NR73BNMO antenna on the ID-880H and get great range on it. On the FTM-100DR I'm currently running the Tram dual-band because I cheaped out. Don't do that. I will be swapping it for a Diamond NR770HBNMO this weekend.

u/devnulling · 5 pointsr/amateurradio

There is a setting in gpredict I think to that will update when a satellite has AOS, so you might want to just disable that so you can select a single satellite and not have it switch on you automatically.

In that video K7AGE does switch the polarization, most tripod heads will flip from horizontal to vertical -

Edit: You might want to try picking up some of the NOAA APT weather satellite birds, NOAA-15, NOAA-18, and NOAA-19. They have really strong transmitters, but you'll get a feel of the polar orbits and timing of chasing LEO birds. There is also 3 of them, and you can get multiple passes in each day with them. Just make sure to not transmit at all on the freq (lock out your radio, or use a SDR like a $20 RTL-SDR )

u/washerdreier · 1 pointr/amateurradio

Thanks a ton for the advise, I didn't even think about possible counterfeits on Amazon. Are the NA-771s from NAGOYA on Amazon also possible counterfeits or should they be fine? If there's a risk I can go with the BaoFeng but is almost twice as much (which also makes me wonder about a fake...).

I looked into the programming cables some more as well and will likely go with the more expensive one to avoid any hassle.

Thanks again!

u/Jenkins26 · 4 pointsr/amateurradio

One big thing that no one else has mentioned is that even if all of the staff did get amateur licenses, you cannot use amateur bands for commercial purposes. I would strongly consider a MURS radio in your case if a commercial license won't be considered by your employer. I use MURS radios frequently and I've had a lot of luck with them. Check out this handheld:

You may also have luck dealing with a local company that can sell you better radios. We use commericial Kenwoods that have been locked to MURS Blue Dot.

u/znark · 3 pointsr/amateurradio

I think that has fiberglass main shaft and aluminum extensions.

You might look at fiberglass fishing pole like [Shakespeare Wonderpole]( Advantage is collapsed length is 4ft vs 8ft. I was looking at painters pole until realized that 8ft is annoying length to transport even in car.

The painters pole can hold more substantial antennas and would work better for DIY Buddipole or Yagi. The collapsible fiberglass poles are great for wire antennas.

u/StillLearning2 · 6 pointsr/amateurradio

This. It is all about timing. During the day, when there are no solar storms affecting us, 20m tends to be open, and fairly well-used. You have to watch reports and then just spin the dial to see.

But yes, the bigger issue seems to be your set up taking so long. My portable setup takes 10 minutes tops. Get a pole like this that is light to carry, and put your antennas up quickly in an inverted V.

Even faster, attach a heavy object, like an adjustable wrench with a hole on one end, to the end of some paracord and toss it over a tree limb. Untie the wrench, and attach the line (with an egg insulator) to the middle of the antenna, then pull the paracord to lift the antenna into an inverted V. That takes about 2 minutes, mostly to unwind the antenna and power cord. Depends on how accurately you can throw the paracord. Using this method, you can leave the poles at home. Everything fits in a backpack.

You can get solar reports on these sites, among others:


    Edit: whoops, it looks like you already have a 20 ft pole, now that I re-read your post. Sorry about that. Yep, I'd leave the heavy larger pole. You shouldn't need it. I never take something taller than the 20 ft fishing pole, and get plenty of activity on CW. So to answer your question: lately, 20m and 30m have usually been Iclosed by sundown, often before. It has noticeably gotten worse over the last 6-12 months. But 20m is still used a lot during the day.
u/5k1ttl3 · 1 pointr/amateurradio

Yeah, I really dont either. The Baofeng (pofung now) HTs are very inexpensive for what they are. You can get a pair, with mics and USB programming cables for well under $100. You'll then be able to hit local 2m and 70cm repeaters and do simplex between the two. This is my starting point. My next exam session is about 2 weeks from now. I hope to go 0 to general

If you're not familiar, check here:

you'll want an aftermarket antenna and the USB programming cable as well

u/rem1473 · 3 pointsr/amateurradio

Powerwerx from HRO


Samlex from DXE


If you want to go cheap, you can try one of these from Amazon. You'll need to add things such as wiring up a power cord and putting it into an enclosure, twisting the pots to get the exact voltage you need, checking that voltage periodically, etc, etc. It does take some more work to make it all work. I have one of these, and it works. However, I also have a Powerwerx and I like that better.


Personally, I'd recommend the Powerwerx. You can optionally pop the cover off and bolt the TM-V71A bracket right to the PSU and wire the TM-V71A to the posts on the back. That leaves the powerpoles on the front to power other things.

u/Son_Of_A_Diddley · 2 pointsr/amateurradio is basically the best website for studying to get the test.

There are 3 license levels- Technician, General, and Extra. Technician allows you to use VHF/UHF and higher frequencies on a radio like this. On VHF/UHF, you usually use a repeater to extend your range.

General lets you use the HF bands, which are propagated all over the world by the ionosphere. Extra just allows you a little bit more use of the HF bands.

Keep in mind that once you pass Tech, you can also take the General and Extra tests right afterwards.

u/CQ40CQ40 · 3 pointsr/amateurradio

The Retevis radios look like Baofengs with different branding. The one you mentioned looks a lot like the Baofeng UV-5R.

Side note - Looks like they spelled the word "Professional" wrong on this radio.

Edit: Just thought I'd mention that if the Baofeng radios pique your interest, there's a whole sub dedicated to them.

u/K1WDY · 1 pointr/amateurradio

You didn't say which country but I'm going to assume USA. The ARRL technician license manual is really good and explains everything really well.

The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual

u/K1RKX · 2 pointsr/amateurradio

I would add this flexible antenna

And if you want a magmount, this.

I have the second one(ut-72), and the 771r which is retractable but not flexible. If you want to hold it on your belt, a flexible antenna is better.

u/bloons3 · 1 pointr/amateurradio

I've been having some fun with /r/RTLSDR too. It's amazing how far a crummy little antenna can get you.

35$ for the SDR and the whip antenna, ~20$ for a bag of SMA to big 'ol radio connectors.

u/tausciam · 0 pointsr/amateurradio

Then you're wanting 2 meter. You're in luck! You get access to the 2 meter band with your very first test!

A good place to start is the ARRL website. They're the big ham radio club.

But, as far as studying for that test? What I'm doing is going through all the flashcards and practice tests at and reading the book The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual. The book tells you all about ham radio and explains everything you need to know to pass the first test.

u/starnixgod · 2 pointsr/amateurradio

800mhz is usually trunked digital radio encoded using P25. Looking at the radio reference page for your county confirms that:

Roanoke City / Roanoke County (Project 25)

Virginia Statewide Agencies Radio System (STARS)

If you have time to tinker you can pull in and decode P25 with an RTL dongle, this will save you a couple hundred dollars. Depending on your technical ability this route will take anywhere from 6-40 hours of work to get to the point where you're listening to those frequencies.

OP25 is a great piece of software and the error correction code it has is amazing. You could probably pull in an intelligible signal using a coat hanger for an antenna. The only downside is that it can be rather difficult to get setup and decoding.

There's another project that I've used which is a lot easier to get running but more difficult to configure is SdrTrunk. This project will run in Windows, so you won't need to try to get it running in a VM or install linux on a machine to get it running; But I find the interface to be confusing and lacking features that OP25 has, like Skip and Lockout for channels that are overly chatty (automated fire calls, ambulance dispatch, etc.)

Hopefully this is enough to get you started, If you need clarity or more information just post.

u/pinguspecker · 1 pointr/amateurradio

Something like these would probably work best for you. Or other GMRS/FRS radio

u/millzner · 1 pointr/amateurradio

Using a Nagoya UT-72 Mobile Antenna) with a Baofeng UV5R

I bought this antenna to improve my reception for when transmitting inside my apartment. It is 19" high and has a 14' feed line. Basically, I mount this thing outside my window so that I can transmit and receive freely without the physical interference of being inside. It is, however, still on the side of a building. I have tested all of the repeaters stored in my radio(in or around Portland) and I can hit about 9 of them, all located either 1 or 2 miles east or west of me. My question is, is this expected given the mounting location(on the south side and second story of a 4 story building), or am I experience significant losses from the feed line. I have not tested transmitting with the stock antenna, but it almost seems that reception is better with it.

u/ethernaut85 · 2 pointsr/amateurradio

I'm on my phone so I can't really link it, but I posted a while back about a cheap power supply. It's the one I use daily and works great. For $23 I don't see how you could beat it.

u/icanseeuseeingme · 3 pointsr/amateurradio

I recently purchased a btech cable that I can directly connect to an android using aprsdroid into a spare baofeng I have. It works but not as full featured as my D74. It sure is cost efficient, though. And I have two baofengs that are just sitting here. I was able to put one into service again.

BTECH APRS-K1 Cable (Audio Interface Cable) for BaoFeng, BTECH BF-F8HP, UV-82HP, UV-5X3 (APRSpro, APRSDroid, Compatible - Android, iOS)

u/ewood87 · 3 pointsr/amateurradio

I've been using RTL-SDR with the Ham-It-Up. You'll need to get one of these SMA to MCX to connect them. After that I just built a simple wire dipole and strung it up in my attic. I can now do Rx on all bands. Furthest signal I've received so far was from Pakistan and I routinely listen to the shortwave broadcasts out of Cuba and the Bahamas. Best $100 I've ever spent in the hobby for sure.

u/throw0901a · 1 pointr/amateurradio

Are there particular models that this would apply to?

From a comment on Hacker News:

> The trouble is this thing: "BaoFeng BF-F8HP (UV-5R 3rd Gen) 8-Watt Dual Band Two-Way Radio (136-174Mhz VHF & 400-520Mhz UHF) Includes Full Kit"[1] This cheap radio is sold as a "ham radio", and requires a ham license. Large numbers of non-hams are using it in the GMRS service at higher power levels than allowed. It's popular with "preppers", even though it's not very rugged, is complicated to use, tends not to put out as much power as claimed, and the battery tends to come loose.[2] The FCC's concern is that it allows 8 watt blithering over a wide range of frequencies by people with no clue how to use it properly. There are GMRS radios made for hunters which are much more suitable for wilderness use - waterproof and easy to use.[3]
> [1]
> [2]
> [3]

u/ItsBail · 1 pointr/amateurradio

Yes it will get you on the air. I am not sure about the external antenna they show but you can always build something.

I noticed it's not a buy it now auction. If the price gets any higher, I would head over to Amazon Instead and buy the radio and programming cable. You don't have to get a hand mic but it's up to you.

u/ToSeeOrNotToBe · 2 pointsr/amateurradio

"A scanner (also referred to a police scanner, police scanner radio or radio scanner) is a radio receiver that can automatically tune, or scan, two or more discrete frequencies, stopping when it finds a signal on one of them and then continuing to scan other frequencies when the initial transmission ceases. The terms radio scanner or police scanner generally refer to a communications receiver that is primarily intended for monitoring VHF and UHF landmobile radio systems, as opposed to, for instance, a receiver used to monitor international shortwave transmissions."

Example: Bearcat Handheld Scanner

A key difference is that scanners are receive-only, where other types of radios can receive and transmit on public safety frequencies. And other types, like the cheap Baofengs, can receive but not transmit on public safety frequencies, even though they can transmit on amateur radio frequencies.

u/vegasmacguy · 1 pointr/amateurradio

I have The UV-82 and I love it. It's currently <$30 on amazon right now

u/my_kimchi_is_spoiled · 1 pointr/amateurradio

Fiberglass telecoping pole + two wires meeting at a feedpoint insulator. This will allow you to configure an antenna as a dipole for US stations or a vertical with a single elevated radial for DX.

If you want a solution on the cheap look at one of these:

The 20ft fishing pole is rigid enough to hold a very lightweight wire dipole at about 15ft.

My favorite portable antenna is the single radial vertical though. A vertical with a single elevated radial will perform like a dipole at high radiation angles (regional propagation) and be nearly omnidirectional. In the direction of the single radial it performs like a vertical with 120 buried radials and will allow excellent DX reception too.

If you go with 20ft pole this would allow a vertical element ~17ft and a 17ft radial elevated 3 feet above the ground at the feedpoint. Then you can stake the pole into the ground and extend the radial at an angle towards the ground. The radial would be mounted with a light insulator (like a plastic tube from a pen) at the end of the radial with a rope leader that gets staked into the ground. For the feedpoint, mount the wires to a chassis box female BNC or SO-239 connector. Then you just need ~10ft of RG58.

u/molo1134 · 8 pointsr/amateurradio

This is better suited for /r/rtlsdr, but the R820T2 has better sensitivity/noise characteristics compared to the R820T. Get one in a metal enclosure and with a TCXO for additional stability and noise protection.

u/chandler404 · 3 pointsr/amateurradio

If you're in for a little challenge, you can get this UHF HT for $17, and this cable for $6, then install chirp and use it to hit UHF repeaters.

If you wanna really treat yourself, you could trade up to this $31 radio and throw in VHF as well as UHF repeaters.

u/NCommander · 1 pointr/amateurradio

VOX to 1 on the radio.

Make sure phone volumes are all set to zip, make sure APRSdroid is set to use AFSK, VOX delay to 800ms-1s (some trial and error required), and it's using Call for the media source. Hit Start Tracking, then adjust handset volume (it should show as "In Call" on the volume screen).

A few phones sometimes won't work properly like this, and have to be set to use Ringtone mode, but the Galaxy S6 was happy as a clam in this configuration.

u/jinkside · 2 pointsr/amateurradio

I've got (one of these)[] powering my VHF radio and it seems to work well. It's easier to connect things to and supplies plenty of power for most anything. I also have on that powers my MTW MiniMax.

You will need to sacrifice an old PC power cord to hook it up though, so if you don't have one lying around, order one.

u/VE6XVK · 5 pointsr/amateurradio

You could build your own Raspberry Pi Mumble server over WiFi and have everyone in the group run a Mumble client on their smartphones...a couple issues though might be range (probably no more than 50-100 metres unless you get a good wifi antenna setup and having your smartphone associated to an access point that isn't internet connected might screw with your phone's data connection at the same time. You could however, build everyone a Raspberry Pi client too or have them dig up an old no-longer used smart phone just for that task....


Edit: Have you considered simple GMRS/FRS radios with a headset and VOX (voice operated transmit)....they'd fit the bill too. For example: $60 for a pair with everything you need

u/bigcrab · 2 pointsr/amateurradio

if you look in this sub you will find most of what you need. i dont know how much of this will translate to the b5 but might help -

and get this + data cable to program via pc -

there are a lot of "fake" data cables that can cause issues, cant go wrong with this one -

u/Sedorox · 2 pointsr/amateurradio

BF-F8HP is upcoming. 'Tis the one I have and like it a lot better than a UV-5R

EDIT: It's live, and for $45.

Edit2: It's done.

u/ThisGoesWithoutSayin · 5 pointsr/amateurradio

I think the first question you have to answer here is: do you and your wife have tech licenses? If not, then it's illegal to transmit on a UV-5R. Now, having said that, there are unlicensed two watt radios available for about $50.
They also allow external antennas like the UV-5R. Two watts might be able to get out 30 miles if you are, as you say, transmitting from an elevated position. At any rate, it's hard to imagine 3 more watts getting you there if it doesn't.

u/pleione · 3 pointsr/amateurradio

Have you checked RadioReference for your area to see what frequencies your local agencies use? If your area uses VHF/UHF, it'd be a decent radio to use, but a Baofeng would be pretty much the same, performance-wise, while costing about a quarter of the Wouxun.

Many cities and counties are moving to trunked radio, which require either software, or a trunk-tracking scanner to listen.

u/wizoatk · 3 pointsr/amateurradio

A simpler alternative to a SDR plus computer (wonderful toy) to consider would be a handheld scanner/receiver. A good example that includes alpha tagging (ability to store names along with frequencies) and the ability to listen to both civilian and military air frequencies is the Uniden BC125AT.

u/SoulShaker · 3 pointsr/amateurradio

If you're really on a tight budget, why not consider the Baofeng UV-5R? Great radio for the price and a wealth of online information to make up for the poor programming manual.

u/KD2GPA · 2 pointsr/amateurradio

eTopxizu 12v 30a Dc Universal Regulated Switching Power Supply 360w for CCTV, Radio, Computer Project

This one will work great, has more than enough power for you.

u/drewmoney05 · 3 pointsr/amateurradio

I've used a couple of these for a few years now, and am happy with their performance... Less than $20.

Tram 140MHz-170MHz + 430MHz-470MHz Dual Band NMO Antenna

u/John_McFly · 4 pointsr/amateurradio

For the ham that also loves messing with computers:
RTL SDR dongle for $20

u/XPCTECH · 3 pointsr/amateurradio

>I live in Washington so bringing a nice radio for calling when out hiking on the various ridge's and mountains

You want a VHF or UHF Radio, this type of communication is line of sight, which complement those activities. I would get a Btech UV-5X3, would get you on 3 bands, 2m-1.25m-70cm, a better antenna, and programming cable.

u/yiersan · 2 pointsr/amateurradio

I went to a the Mike & Key Hamfest in Western Washington last weekend and have never seen so much old ham equipment in one place. It was 2 floors in a giant convention center, with rows and rows, as far as you could see of old ham stuff on its way to die. Lots of the people selling the stuff just aren't into ebay, etc. that much. So I'd look to see if you can find a local hamfest. They're epic.

But what you really should do is get on Amazon and buy a brand new $30 BaoFeng 2-bander (or the newer one for $50). They're actually pretty good!

u/velocibadgery · 2 pointsr/amateurradio

For the UV-5R a Nagoya 771 as it is good and has the Female SMA that Boefengs require.

Be careful of counterfeits however. You should pay over 15-20 dollars for a real one.

Also this is good for the BF-F8HP as it has a maximum of 10 watts and the F8 puts out 8 watts.

u/Besca · 1 pointr/amateurradio

Buy this one...add your own power cord and you are good to go. Less than $20

u/gemivnet · 1 pointr/amateurradio

Just an FYI, I see you mentioned
> few hundred for a power supply

If you're buying the power supply in the US, they should not be that expensive at all. Watch the QRZ swapmeet if you want to buy something used, even new they are not that expensive.



If you're handy with electronics, I've even seen people use these $25 units to power their radios, 30A switching, you just need to supply your own power switch and cord and enclose it some how so its safe.

u/beartwig · 8 pointsr/amateurradio

I would suggest a SDR, in all honesty. No risk of accidentally transmitting anything and causing interference. Something like a RTLSDR it's cheap enough, and you can rig up an antenna pretty quickly.

u/dlf420 · 2 pointsr/amateurradio

I highly recommend this thing:

User guide here:

SDR# (SDR 'Sharp') Software here:

Picks up from ~170khz to 1.7Ghz without modifications. Even has a built in bias tee that can be enabled by software to power LNBs and the such.

Also you are not limited to that software. There are many that will work with that dongle. That's another thread, though.

u/Giric · 2 pointsr/amateurradio

I'd check this with /r/RTLSDR as well. If you have an up-converter or an receiver like this one, which has been modified for direct sampling for HF, (or, really, and modified RTL-SDR set up for direct sampling), then any antenna that will get you outside the steel and concrete box you're probably in is a good choice.

Apartments are hard for radio, especially since some of them only have one wall that's to the exterior. I had a balcony the last time I lived in one, and my receive was much better out there. I ran a random wire out through the sliding glass door and connected it to the telescoping antenna I connected to my SDR. It worked pretty well for anything. After all, I was just receiving.

I'm not really sold on the idea of active antennas. I have one, but it doesn't seem to really do much for me. Of course, this was a kit antenna, and my soldering skills are still abysmal, so I may have wired something in wrong.

u/manifoldmandala · 1 pointr/amateurradio

It looks like this doesn't need a liscense. Do you think that's accurate?

u/Robertltisdale · 2 pointsr/amateurradio

This a good idea, if you have something creating a lot of nose. This should help you identify it.
This will also let you know if your radio is dead and is need of repair.
Here is a link to a srd dongle

RTL-SDR Blog R820T2 RTL2832U 1PPM TCXO SMA Software Defined Radio (Dongle Only)

u/DutchTerror · 2 pointsr/amateurradio

The 20' pole is a Shakespeare Wonderpole. Funny how most of the Amazon review are not in regard to fishing.

The Sotabeams pole is 33' fully extended, and 26.5" compressed. There are some other comparable poles on the market, but most in this price range don't compress this short.

u/bobtbuilder · 1 pointr/amateurradio

It could be true that the Baofeng brand ones use Prolific, but the cable you want is this one which uses FTDI.

u/peteonrails · 2 pointsr/amateurradio

I have an extra programming cable for that radio that you can HAVE. In fact, I have an extra UV-82X that you can have if you promise to pay it forward later when you upgrade. It is 2m/1.25m, not 2m/440. But it's yours if you want it. Find me on QRZ and send me a message and I will mail it to you.

I use a Nagoya 771 with my Baofengs. It makes a big difference.

u/dasguy40 · 1 pointr/amateurradio

Something else to consider. Most radios spec 13.8 +/- 15%. So you have until 11.73 when you’re out of spec. When you start at 12.6, your less than a volt away from the bottom. That’s why the majority of people use power supplies. Batteries work obviously, just not the ideal thing to use all the time. You could buy one of these and an extension cord and probably be way better off in the long run.

u/ElectronSpiderwort · 3 pointsr/amateurradio

This is the one I just replaced my older one with. It is totally worth $5 more for the TCXO option.

u/caffeined · 1 pointr/amateurradio

I have a Macbook Pro and bought this cable recently. It was plug and play, as the Mac really likes the FTDI chipset in it. I've messed around with other cables with the Prolific chipset in the past and got them working, but this one worked out of the box with both my Mac and Windows devices.

u/1--__-- · 2 pointsr/amateurradio

Get the Nagoya NA-771, a dual-band 70cm/2m whip antenna which will greatly increase your transmit once you are licensed:

Check out and add in all your local first responders (police, fire, etc.). You can add in a ton of other things to monitor as well that CHIRP has available, like the weather channels, FRS, GMRS, Marine bands, etc. While you cannot legally transmit on any of them (this radio isn't certified for those bands), if it were a life or death situation, you can use a local repeater, FRS, GMRS, or Marine band to call for assistance, and you can monitor them as well to provide assistance.

u/diachi_revived · 7 pointsr/amateurradio

VHF stands for Very High Frequency, it consists of radio frequencies between 30MHz and 300Mhz. Learn more about the different frequency bands here:

Note: Hams break up the bands listed there even further, naming them by wavelength. For example, at VHF there's 6m (~50-50.1MHz),4m(~70-70.5Mhz),2m(~144-148Mhz) and 1.25m(~220-225Mhz). At HF we've got 80m, 75m, 60m, 40m, 30m, 20m and 10m (plus some more bands I left out). These are the bands used to communicate around the world without satellites or repeaters.

$30 VHF Handheld - Keep in mind that if you buy it you must have a license in order to transmit with it, you can listen just fine though.

As for getting started with your license, what country are you in?

u/bmlbytes · 1 pointr/amateurradio

I got this really dodgy one for $18 on Amazon, and it has done well for over a year.

u/N5tp4nts · 1 pointr/amateurradio

I have one of these.

I also have a 19 inch copper wire with a ring terminal on one end attached to one of the screws that holds the belt clip on. Full wave length. sort of. Works great though.

u/drtwist · 1 pointr/amateurradio

I use this one with with my BF-F8HP. I've never had problems with it using CHIRP