Hamming It Up

So I’ll be taking my Technician Class exam two weeks from this Saturday, and at this point it’s almost guaranteed that I’ll pass it. Then once the FCC grants my license, I can start transmitting (though I’m probably going to file for a vanity callsign, and might wait to make contacts until that goes through; we’ll see :> )

These last few days I’ve been doing a lot of research on radios, trying to find the most bang for my buck. Since I live in an apartment and don’t want to go all-out on the more expensive HF gear yet, I’m planning on sticking to VHF/UHF to get started. In that vein, the ICOM IC-T7H looks like a good deal. The folks over at eHam have rated it pretty high, and it will do the 2m and 70cm bands just nicely. I was originally looking at the IC-T90A, but it’s about $100 more, gives access to another band which is nice, but it also wasn’t rated as well on eHam, so I’m not sure that I want to get one. I think I’d rather spend the $170 on the well-rated dual HT than $270 on a moderately-rated tri-bander.

So that covers the hand-held radio, but what about something more powerful? Well, I was looking at a model from ICOM (the IC-2720H) but it wasn’t very well received by the folks at eHam at all. A lot of people complaining about the radio, and for my first rig I thought it better to go with something about which people raved (or at least they didn’t pan the thing). It was then that I found a model from Yaesu, called the FT-7800R which seems to be just what I’m seeking. 1000 memory channels (wow), easy access to WiRES repeaters, decent power output (50W on 2m, 40W on 70cm) and a pretty wide receiver coverage. Sounds good to me. Best part? The price from HRO (the local amateur radio store, with a convenient branch in sales-tax-free Delaware) is only $279. Add to that about $40 for a glass-mount dual-band antenna, and maybe a little more to get the remote head mounting kit (where the radio sits in the back of the truck somewhere, and only the faceplate and mic are up on the dashboard) and I’ve got a lot of gear for around $500. Schweet.

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So I’ve been studying for my amateur license again, and this time going to another guy’s house once a week to help with getting the concepts down. Not sure how much I need the help right now, every test I’ve taken on QRZ so far I’ve passed just fine, but the extra information that I get from him that isn’t on the exam makes it worthwhile.

Also found out that ‘W2SRH’ is an available callsign. So once I get my license (next month I take the exam, so probably will be in the FCC’s database around the end of March) I might just file for a vanity call. Why not? :>

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