How to Buy a Ham Radio Transceiver

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How to Buy a Ham Radio Transceiver

Ham radio was initially amateur radio until it received its own branded name. This type of radio refers to the non-commercial use of a designated frequency spectrum. Wireless experimentation, emergency communication, self-training, and the exchange of private messages are often conducted on ham radios.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) established the amateur radio service through the International Telecommunication Regulations (ITR). People looking to become an amateur radio operator are tested on how well they comprehend the main concepts in electronics as well as their knowledge of the host radio regulations. Amateur operators are allocated frequency access that allows them to broadcast and communicate over a wide spectrum from as close as a city to as wide as the world.

A ham radio is generally made up of a transmitter and a receiver, which is often purchased as a single device known as a transceiver. New ham radio operators need to fully understand what a transceiver is and what is does before searching for one. However, both new and experienced operators have to consider certain selection factors before making a final purchase.

What is a Transceiver?

"Transceivers" may mean different things in different circles, but in regards to radio, it is simply a receiver and transmitter combined in one unit. Initially, both items had to be bought separately, but after the mid-1920s, more transceivers were used and marketed. Because a radio transceiver has both capabilities, it is able to function similarly to a walkie-talkie where information can be sent out and received on the same frequency. This is where ham radio differs from regular radio. A regular radio station has the disc jockey sending out a broadcast to which the public can tune in and listen, but a ham radio can also receive messages from other ham radio operators on the same frequency.

Transceivers can have a single band frequency of approximately 2 metres, or it can spread throughout the whole ham radio spectrum in world. Transceivers can be mobile or fixed, and that also determines its size, power, and the amount of electricity required to operate it.

Factors to Consider Before Selecting a Ham Radio Transceiver

Over the past semi-century, ham radios have majorly increased in popularity, and that has led to an increase in the number of the ham radio transceivers that have been introduced to the market. For those just entering the ham radio world, too many choices can be a problem, especially when knowledge is limited.

Purpose

The utmost deciding factor for selecting an amateur radio transceiver is generally the use that it is intended for and also where it is used. For instance, ham radio operators who plan to broadcast often or constantly but generally are on the move should consider getting a mobile transceiver.

The great thing about mobile ham radio transceivers is the fact that they do not need a lot of power to operate, and they are made to facilitate vehicular installations. They can also utilize direct DC power from an outlet if necessary. This type of transceiver is often paired with an antenna that is mounted on the vehicle, which makes it perfect for field broadcasting or an out of town trip.

Another good option for traveling ham radio operators is a handheld transceiver. Even though the handheld ham radio does not provide the same high level of output as a mobile, it is very convenient to carry and fit anywhere without needing to mount anything. The handheld transceiver is a better option for operators who only need to be in constant communication with other operators in the local area or on the same frequency nets.

Range

Sometimes, mobility and range does not go hand in hand because most of the largest, full-featured ham radio receivers are fixed transceivers. The fact is that these types of transceivers need to be installed in one set location, which is often a permanent fixture in a home or office. Fixed or base transceivers provide a higher level of output power than mobile or handheld devices, and they often require a large antenna that is fixed to an outdoor tower.

This type of set-up provides a very wide range, and it is great for ham radio operators who do not need to travel with their transceivers and would still like to reach contacts and other users that are very far away.

Band or Frequency

Amateur radio operators should also understand that not all types of transceivers can be used for all bands. In essence, most small and mobile transceivers have limited frequency band options, which generally include the Very High Frequency (VHF) bands and not the High Frequency (HF) spectrum. Therefore, before buyers purchase a transceiver, they should ensure that the radio is made to accommodate the ham bands that they need.

Band Chart

The chart below shows the band plans that are used by most ham radio operators in U.K., the rest of Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Russia. In these areas, the slots are not necessarily set by the operator’s license, but most of the operators still use them as their guidelines.

Metres

Band

Band

Band

Band

160 Metres

1810 - 1838

1838 - 1840

1840 - 1843

1843 - 2000

 

CW and data (<200 Hz bandwidth)

CW, RTTY and data (< 500 Hz Bandwidth)

CW, RTTY, data, test, phone and image

CW, phone and image (<3 kHz bandwidth)

80 Metres

3500 - 3580

3580 - 3600

3600 - 3620

3620 - 3800

 

CW and data (<200 Hz bandwidth)

CW, RTTY and data (< 500 Hz Bandwidth)

CW, RTTY, data, test, phone and image

CW, phone and image (<3 kHz bandwidth)

60 Metres

5258.5

5278.5

5288.5

5366.5

 

CW, RTTY, data, test, phone and image

CW, RTTY, data, test, phone and image

CW, RTTY, data, test, phone and image

CW, RTTY, data, test, phone and image

40 Metres

7000 - 7040

7040 - 7050

7050 - 7060

7060 - 7100

 

CW and data (<200 Hz bandwidth)

CW, RTTY and data (< 500 Hz Bandwidth)

CW, RTTY, data, test, phone and image

CW, phone and image (<3 kHz bandwidth)

30 Metres

10100 - 10140

10140 - 10150

   
 

CW and data (<200 Hz bandwidth)

CW, RTTY and data (< 500 Hz Bandwidth)

   

20 Metres

14000 - 14070

14070 - 14099

B

14101 - 14350

 

CW and data (<200 Hz bandwidth)

CW, RTTY and data (< 500 Hz Bandwidth)

Reserved for beacons

CW, phone and image (<3 kHz bandwidth)

17 Metres

18068 - 18095

18095 - 18109

B

18111 - 18168

 

CW and data (<200 Hz bandwidth)

CW, RTTY and data (< 500 Hz Bandwidth)

Reserved for beacons

CW, phone and image (<3 kHz bandwidth)

15 Metres

21000 - 21070

21070 - 21110

21110 - 21120

21120 - 21149

 

CW and data (<200 Hz bandwidth)

CW, RTTY and data (< 500 Hz Bandwidth)

CW, RTTY, data, NO SSB (<2.7 kHz)

CW, RTTY and data (< 500 Hz Bandwidth)

12 Metres

24890 - 24915

24915 - 24929

B

24931 - 24990

 

CW and data (<200 Hz bandwidth)

CW, RTTY and data (< 500 Hz Bandwidth)

Reserved for beacons

CW, phone and image (<3 kHz bandwidth)

10 Metres

28000 - 28070

28070 - 28190

B

28225 - 29200

 

CW and data (<200 Hz bandwidth)

CW, RTTY and data (< 500 Hz Bandwidth)

Reserved for beacons

CW, phone and image (<3 kHz bandwidth)

Operators should note that the 60 meter transmissions are only limited to operators who hold the U.K. NoV-endorsed licence. This is also specific to the 3 kHz channels that have a set lower frequency limit range (200 watts).

Budget

Budget is often the last factor to be considered because buyers would prefer to have all their transceiver needs met and then attempt to find one that they can afford. The fact is that ham radio equipment carries a price, but new operators can find something within a smaller budget if they are able to purchase used ham radio transceivers.

How to Buy a Ham Radio Transceivers on eBay

eBay is the perfect place for both new and experienced ham radio operators to buy equipment. All types of amateur radio transceivers are listed, but this list can easily be narrowed down for persons who know exactly what they need.

The first thing to do is perform a general search for ham radio transceivers from the eBay home page. This search returns a large variety of transceivers to suit every operator. Operators can then choose to browse through the entire collection or enable particular filters to narrow down the selection to a particular set of options. Filters include: portability type, brand, new or used condition, and frequency bands.

Once all the desired filters are in place, buyers can then input a price range to only view transceivers that fit into their budget. This narrows the choices to an even lesser amount, which should make the selection process less overwhelming.

As a buyer, it is recommended that you consider various items and then contact each seller to get further details on each product before making a final selection. You should also confirm shipping and return options before making your payment.

Conclusions

Both new and experienced ham radio operators need to factor in certain considerations before they buy a new transceiver. One of the first things to consider before selecting a transceiver is its intended purpose and the frequency band that is to be targeted. This helps determine the size and type of ham radio transceivers that eventually are to be selected. Even after the type is confirmed, the frequency range plays a valid part in the selection process to ensure that the desired target can actually receive transmission.

eBay’s large listing could easily provide a daunting shopping experience for uninformed operators, but once the list of ham radio transceiver options is prioritized by the aforementioned criteria, it becomes easier for them to make a single informed decision that fits in their budget.

New operators must also remember that they can try purchasing used transceivers on eBay to try out the different types and find what works well for them. After they have gained some experience, they can always revisit eBay for a completely new unit.

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