HAM Radio Gear
Lets look at some good, entry-level gear, that can be modular, and will support your needs even as you become a HAM radio ninja!
Shack Gear (Base Station)
The key player in most new Ham shacks will probably be a 2 Meter radio. The radios I list below are mobile radios, designed for automobile use, but make great base stations. As a prepper I’d prefer a bit more than just 2 Meter, so a 2 Meter & 70cm radio would be preferred.
- Yaesu FT-2900R -75 Watt 2 Meter
2 Meter + 70cm
- Yaesu FT-7900R (or a FT7800 if you can locate one) – Mobile Dual-Band Amateur Ham Radio 50W/45W VHF/UHF Transceiver. In addition to being able to transmit and recieve on both 2 meter & 70cm, this radio has a 1200/9600 bps Data port (Packet Jack). This means you can send digital data to other HAM radio operators or connect to the internet via a HAM network!
- Yaesu FT-8800R – VHF/UHF Dual Band Amateur Radio Transceiver – 50W/35W. Simultaneous Receive of 2 Frequencies & Cross-Band Repeater Capability! I don’t think this has a data port.
These radios are designed to be used as a mobile radio, therefore to use them as a base station will require a DC power supply. A DC power supply, similar to the Pyramid PS15KX 10A 13.8-Volt Power Supply with Cigarette Lighter Adapter, can fully meet these needs. This is great because it can provide power via wire leads, but also has a 12v DC outlet (cigarette lighter outlet). If you add 12v DC plugs to your radios, you’ll be able to quickly move them between your HAM shack and your vehicles. Based on this methodology you could use a CB or HAM radio in your Shack, or car, as needed.
A HAM radio is only good, if you have an antenna. The Falcon 2 Meter Dipole Amateur Ham Radio Antenna will give you some flexibility for mounting and positioning. This antenna can be hung from a hook, dangled out a window, or even strung up between 2 trees. This is a great option if you need flexible deployment options, or may need to move it to new positions quickly.
To connect a mobile radio to the Falcon 2 Meter Dipole Amateur Ham Radio Antenna you’ll need a proper antenna cable. The 18′ RG-58/U Coaxial Cable With Pl-259 Connectors is perfect for hooking up to the Falcon antenna and gives you 18 feet of cable length.
The car, being metal, is pretty much the equivalent of a Faraday cage, so if you want any type of good distance, an external antenna will be needed. There are many 2 meter and 70cm antennas. I’ve had great luck using the 2 Meter / 70 cm 144 – 148 & 440 – 470 MHz MAGNETIC Mobile ANTENNA
Handheld Radios (Auto and Travel)
A handheld radio would also work for base station, vehicle use or backpack carry.
To connect to a mobile or base antenna, an adapter is needed because handheld radios use SMA connectors and not PL-259 connectors.
BaoFeng UV-5R + is the workhorse of the budget HAM radio world. 2 Meter and 70cm (and more)
- To connect to an antenna you’ll need a Reverse SMA to “PL-259″ Adapter Cable - Female/Female for Wouxun Baofeng, (BaoFeng requires a SMA Female connection)
- If you just want to upgrade the antenna on the BaoFeng unit, you can upgrade it with the ExpertPower 14.5″ DUAL BAND 144/430Mhz U/V SMA-F Antenna For BAOFENG UV-5R WOUXUN KG-UVD1P for a great increase in distance for transmit and receive.
TYT TH-UVF1 -2 Meter and 70cm
- To connect to an antenna you’ll need a “SMA” to “PL-259″ Adapter Cable, (TYT UVF1 requires a SMA male connection)
- If you just want to upgrade the antenna on the TYT UVF1 unit, you can upgrade it with the ExpertPower 14.4″ Dual Band Two-way Radio Antenna SMA-Male for a great increase in distance for transmit and receive.
Now I should be able to use either of my mobile 2 meter radios in the car.
Links to help you get up to speed on Budget Ham Radio Gear: