Setting up an Amateur Radio Station Includes:
How to set up amateur radio shack Buying best HF gear Buying best VHF/UHF equipment Linear amplifier How to buy kits Buying used equipment - a guide Choosing & buying the best antenna
When setting up an amateur radio station, or replacing some older gear, it is wise to spend some time looking at the market and seeing just what you want.
There is a host of equipment: handheld; mobile as well as base station that can be used.
For VHF and UHF there is a different variety of equipment available to that available for the HF and other bands. As a result it is necessary to look at what is needed and what best fits the requirements.
VHF / UHF equipment choices
There are many different types of VHF / UHF amateur radio equipment from which a choice can be made:
- Handheld Transceivers : Handheld radio transceivers are widely available for the VHF and UHF bands. It is possible to buy single band handhelds as well as dual and even some triple band ones. The most popular bands are 2 metres and 70 centimetres. These handhelds offer a comparatively low cost entry methods of these bands. They typically come with a short antenna and battery charger for their batteries. They also normally have a connector that enables them to be connected to an external antenna. External microphones, and supply connectors are also available.
The key feature of these handhelds is their size. They are very easy to carry and are very lightweight making them ideal for hand portable operation. They can also often be powered in an automobile and they can also be used within a base station.
Programming of these handhelds is something to consider - some are easy to programme than others. As operation on the VHF and UHF bands tends to be on specific channels, these transceivers often need to be programmed with the various simplex and repeater channels along with the CTCSS tones needed for local repeater access. This can be done manually, but these days it tends to be done using a PC (there is less software available for Apple Macs). This makes it very much easier.
It is worth remembering, when using the internal microphone, and the supplied set to antenna, that it may be advisable to use a low power setting. The antenna is likely to be next to the eyes and brain, and this is not always a good idea as long term exposure might lead to local heating might damage the eyes or give rise to headaches. It is possibly much safer to use an external microphone. It is worth noting that generally links between RF power exposure and health a often not widely proven, but it does not hurt to reduce the exposure to RF as much as possible.
- Mobile Transceivers: Another popular area for operation at VHF and UHF is mobile operation. Accordingly there is a wide choice of mobile transceivers that can be bought. These transceivers offer higher power and more facilities as well as better performance when compared to the handheld transceivers. These mobile VHF / UHF transceivers may also be used for base station use. They are typically powered from a 12 Volt supply and small low cost supplies are widely available from many amateur radio and other electronic supplies stockists.
Like the handhelds, the VHF / UHF mobile transceivers that can be bought tend to cater mainly for the FM market. A few multi-mode HF / VHF / UHF transceivers can be bought. These can provide a useful complete station in a single box solution for mobile operation, or even base station use.
- Base Unit Transceivers: Comparatively few multi-mode VHF / UHF base station transceivers can be bought these days.
There are some HF / VHF / UHF transceivers that are available, but these can compromise performance to achieve the very wide coverage.
Check out the Electronics Notes: Essential Ham Radio List.
There is a really good selection of equipment available for the VHF and UHF bands. A careful look through the advertisements in the amateur radio magazines will reveal the extent of the selection.
Before buying any equipment, it is always good to read as many reviews as possible. These can be seen in the various amateur radio magazines, and books. A large number can also be found on-line as well.
More Ham Radio Topics:
What is ham radio Callsigns Morse code Voice modes Digital data modes QRP operating Operating awards Codes & abbreviations Ham bands overview Operating via differnet propagation modes Repeaters Callsigns Contact formats Setting up a shack & buying equipment
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