What Radio(s) should I buy?

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Introduction

As the old saying goes, "Ask ten hams which radio to buy and you will get 11 answers." It really depends on which parts of the hobby interest you the most. Rag-chewing on VHF/UHF repeaters? Amateur Satellites? Chasing DX on the HF bands? Let your interests guide you.

Your First Transceiver

Many newly-licensed Technicians start with an all-in-one, mobile radio called a "Handie-Talkie" or HT for short. This allows most operators to monitor and transmit to at least a few repeaters in their area. If your budget allows, your first radio can be brand new. If you remain active in the hobby, it can be a good investment. (Even if you find that you do not use your equipment as frequently as you thought, the resale value on gently-used gear is quite good.)

Another way to get your hands on your first radio is to enter the used market. There are websites like QRZ.com, QTH.com, and eBay that other amateur radio operators use to sell equipment. Ham fests and other radio club events are also a great way to find equipment and try before you buy.

What Next?

Upgrade your license; upgrade your gear

A Technician license restricts you to VHF and UHF (with some exceptions) frequencies. Upgrading to higher license classes allows you to operate on the high frequency bands ("HF bands"). Operating on these additional frequencies requires new equipment.