What Should be your FIRST Ham Radio?

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by VK7HH, May 10, 2021.

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  1. VK7HH

    VK7HH Ham Member QRZ Page

    With some many radios out there it can be confusing which one to know what to purchase? IC-7300, IC-7100, FT-991A?

    What do you need to get started? What do you recommend for the starting ham?

    HB9IIH, KO4ESA, M1WML and 1 other person like this.
  2. WB2PMC

    WB2PMC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Mine was an Eico 723, upgraded to an Eico 720 then a Swan 500 and now a Yaesu 450-D. Not top of the line, but I like it and plan on adding an amp some day.
    F8WBD, KO4ESA, M1WML and 2 others like this.
  3. W9FL

    W9FL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well it depends on your license class and what you like to do.

    The IC-7100 and the FT-991A are shack in the box type radios, so those two are probably good, but there are a lot of choices if you include used radios.

    I would not recommend a QRP type radio as they can be disappointing to a new operator.

    The FT-991A would be my top pick, unless you prefer only HF/50 mhz operation. Then I would choose an IC-7300.

    If money is a concern, the IC-7100 is good.

    (edit) Sorry, I guess that is not the answer you were looking for.
    Last edited: May 10, 2021
    W1KRI, KO4ESA, KC3PEZ and 4 others like this.
  4. W9FL

    W9FL Ham Member QRZ Page

    My first Radio purchased in the early 90's when I got general class was an Icom IC-751A. They were on closeout at that time. The 751A was an excellent radio. I still have a 751A, although not the original one that I purchased.

    My first Novice rig in the 70's when I was in High school was an Elmac transmitter that my Uncle gave me, and a National NC190 receiver that I purchased through the newspaper classified adds.

    F8WBD, KO4ESA, K1KTF and 5 others like this.
  5. AG6QR

    AG6QR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I was licensed in 2012, and my first ham radio was a Rockmite. I don't claim it's the best first radio for everyone, but I have no regrets. I had the satisfaction of building it myself, it motivated me to learn code, and it wasn't much of an investment. I even managed to make a contact with it, though not for quite some time. There are many good hams who got their start with a crystal-controlled CW radio they assembled at home, I was just later than most of them.

    My second radio was an FT-60, and it was the radio I made my first contact with.

    There are many facets to this hobby, and no prescribed order for exploring them. Follow your interests.
    F8WBD, KO4ESA, M1WML and 3 others like this.
  6. KI4POT

    KI4POT Ham Member QRZ Page

    As said above it depends on your license class and goals.

    My particular journey started by getting my Tech in 2006. As this was before the code requirement was dropped, I expected to remain a Tech for a fairly long time, so I went looking for a radio that would fit into my active outdoor lifestyle and let me do the most things. I boiled it down to a Yaesu VX-7 HT and a Yaesu FT-817nd. I got the HT, but also ended up getting the 817 later once I upgraded to General a year and change later. I ignored the conventional wisdom of getting a mobile rig because I had no interest in repeaters, nor did I want to be tethered to my car for operation. Even today, I have one mobile rig and it's in my 4x4, not my daily driver.

    I still have the VX-7 and enjoy experimenting with various antennas on the bands it supports. It's my mini "shack in a box".

    KO4ESA, M1WML, KD8DWO and 1 other person like this.
  7. N2UHC

    N2UHC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I agree. As a QRP operator, it takes a certain bit of skill and patience that new operators might not be ready for. I'd say any 100W rig would be a good start to get them on the air, whether it be operating CW, phone, or digital.
    KO4ESA, K1KTF, W7GST and 5 others like this.
  8. KI4POT

    KI4POT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I started out on QRP and still do most of my operating as a portable QRP Op. While I don't get as many contacts as I could at home in front of a QRO rig, I find the activity much more relaxing and rewarding. I just accept the fact and reduce my expectations.

    Spending most of my ham "career" doing portable QRP made the leap to 100w operation at home trivial. I already knew how to get the most from my equipment.

    That said, in my mind, QRP means portable, so if you're operating at home, there's no point in going QRP *unless* you can only have one rig and it must be portable.

    KC2EQA, KO4ESA, M1WML and 2 others like this.
  9. M7BLC

    M7BLC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hey don't knock QRP - it's all I am allowed with my UK Foundation licence. Having said that my first rig was and is a Yaesu 450D which is dialled down to the 10 watts my licence allows . Very straightforward to learn the basics on I am getting good contacts on what can only be described as a poverty setup (in Ham terms). QRP operations forces you to learn to read the conditions to get through and to me is an essential part of the early learning curve all hams should go through. I really can't see myself upgrading my licence as I am having too much fun and will be long gone before the thrill of making QRP contacts diminishes. Each to their own though. 73.
    KO4ESA, WA9JOQ, AG5ZZ and 8 others like this.
  10. KI4POT

    KI4POT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm certainly not knocking QRP. I think too many people think it's difficult and people whose only interest in radio is farming contacts avoid it, but that doesn't mean it fails to work. You just have to adjust your expectations.

    KO4ESA, M1WML, NX3W and 2 others like this.

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