What to Consider When Buying Ham Radio Transceiver Equipment

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What to Consider When Buying Ham Radio Transceiver Equipment

The term ham radio refers to amateur radio transmission. A radio transceiver is a device that is able to transmit and receive radio frequencies. When choosing to buy ham radio transceiver equipment, a prospective buyer is well advised to consider the type of transceiver he or she needs, along with the band one needs to transmit on. Additionally, the buyer should take into consideration the input and output power the transceiver needs in order to function effectively. When buying a ham radio transceiver, the shopper may also like to consider purchasing other accessories such as antenna, an amplifier, or a headset.

Buying ham radio transceiver equipment can involve considerable expense, so it helps to shop around for a good deal. Electronics stores and specialty communications stores sell a wide range of transceiver equipment. Alternatively, consumers may shop online at eBay, an auction site where they can access a wide range of ham radio transceiver equipment at competitive prices.

Choosing a Ham Radio Transceiver

The type of ham radio transceiver a consumer should consider is dependent on how he or she plans to use it. Each type offers different features that are useful in various situations, so it is helpful to think about how one wants to operate the device and the range one wants to reach.

Base Station

A base transceiver is often called a fixed transceiver. This type of transceiver is among the more powerful transceivers available, and it offers many useful features. A base transceiver is usually large in size and quite heavy and uses more standby battery power than other transceiver types. This transceiver is designed to stay in one place.

Base transceivers are expensive and, therefore, should be considered by individuals who are serious about getting good use out of their ham radio equipment. The ham radio enthusiast who wants to reach a wide range on a daily basis and plans to build up listenership can benefit from a base station, and so would the person using ham radio communication for emergency purposes.

Portable Base Station

Manufacturers also offer base stations that are smaller and more lightweight, designed to be used as portable base stations. This type of base station is ideal for camping or canal boating, when one is away from home for a period of time. Portable base transceivers do not have as much power or range as their larger counterparts, but they can offer good value for money for someone looking for portability along with a certain amount of flexibility with the transceiver.

Handheld Ham Radio Transceivers

Handheld ham radio transceivers are small, lightweight, portable, and relatively inexpensive when compared to other types of transceivers. Handheld transceivers are designed to transmit and receive while the user is walking about. This type portable transceiver does not offer as much power or signal range as any of the other types of transceivers. Light emergency use, local public service use, and local communication are more suited to a handheld radio transceiver. A handheld transceiver can be carried in the hand, secured around the neck, or clipped onto a belt for ease of use. These transceivers run on small rechargeable battery packs and transmit on VHF and UHF bands.

In-Vehicle Ham Radio Transceivers

Mobile, or in-vehicle ham radio transceivers,, are designed for use in vehicles. They usually transmit FM voice on either VHF or UHF bands. In-vehicle transceivers offer greater power and range ability than handheld transceivers. For the ham radio enthusiast just starting out, a mobile transceiver may be a good choice. However, if one wants to reach a wide area, a repeater or echolink node may be necessary, otherwise a base transceiver might be a better option.

Ham Radio Transceiver Bands

Radio signals travel on different bands, and radios are able to transmit in different bands. Some radio transceivers use only one band, while others are able to use multiple bands. Each band offers a different range. Before choosing ham radio transceiver equipment, buyers need to identify what band they plan to transmit on. The three bands include VHF, UHF, and HF.


VHF stands for Very High Frequency and extends from 30 MHz up to 300 MHz. Television, FM radio, land mobile stations, marine communications, and amateur radio use the VHF band. VHF radio transceivers offer good local range. For those looking to use VHF across a larger region, the use of repeaters is required. If one wants to use VHF worldwide, Internet links make this possible.


UHF, or Ultra High Frequency, extends from 300 MHz to 3 GHz. UHF signals transmit by line of sight, meaning the signal can be blocked by hills or large buildings. UHF has the same range as VHF. Television broadcasts, mobile phones, satellite communication, and amateur radio commonly use the UHF band. A user in a location with clear line of sight to a UHF transmitter may choose to buy a UHF ham radio transceiver..

In the United Kingdom, amateur radio is allocated various UHF channels. The following table provides a list of the available channels for ham radio transmission.

UHF Channel


Channel 430 MHz to 440 MHz

70 cm

Channel 1240 MHz to 1316 MHz

23 cm

Channel 2310 MHz to 2420 MHz

13 cm

The remaining channels within the UHF band are allocated for specific uses, and amateur radio does not transmit on channels outside those in the above table. Emergency terrestrial radio, select television channels, and cordless telephone communications are just some of the radio transmissions that use the remaining UHF channels.


HF radio transceivers transmit on the High Frequency band between 3 MHz and 30 MHz. The HF band is more commonly known as shortwave radio. HF is ideal for those who want to transmit over long distances, because waves in this band can be reflected off the atmosphere and back to earth. This is used in aviation communication, government communications, weather stations, citizens band services, and amateur radio. HF transceivers can easily transmit regionally, countrywide, or worldwide.

Power Input and Output in Ham Radio Transceivers

A transceiver requires a certain level of power output for it to transmit. Combined with the type of antenna one uses, the transceiver’s power output determines the range at which one can transmit. One must choose a radio transceiver that offers enough power output to ensure that the communication range is not too limited. Transmitting power output is directly affected by the surrounding terrain. A buyer who plan to use the ham radio transceiver in a hilly, enclosed location that offers poor signal line of sight should consider a more powerful transceiver. Individuals who plan to transmit over the air from a flat, open location may be able to use a less powerful transceiver. A handheld transceiver tends to offer 3 to 5 watts of output power, whereas a portable or base transceiver usually offers 10 to 50 watts of output power and, therefore, greater coverage.

When buying ham radio transceivers and equipment, the power input of a transceiver is important to consider. Handheld transceivers use rechargeable battery packs. In-vehicle, portable, and base transceivers require an external power source to run. External power sources may include AC power adapters, large batteries, or a vehicle’s electrical system. These types of transceivers can require around 20 amps of input power in order to transmit and receive, so one needs to consider the power source when choosing a ham radio transceiver.

Other Types of Ham Radio Transceiver Equipment

Once a buyer has decided on a type of ham radio transceiver, he or she can then consider what other equipment may be useful to purchase. Popular ham radio equipment includes antennas, amplifiers, and headsets. This equipment is designed to improve a transceiver’s quality and helps the amateur radio enthusiast to transmit in comfort and ease.


Antennas allow effective radio transceiver communication. Every transceiver needs an antenna of some sort. Base antennas are ideally attached to a metal structure. In-vehicle antennas are attached temporarily by magnets or clamps, or permanently by bolting the antenna in place. A handheld antenna usually has a short rubber antenna attached to the top of the transceiver. Many ham radio enthusiasts prefer to replace these antennas with longer, more effective antennas, often referred to as whip antennas.


Linear amplifiers can help increase the signal strength of a transceiver. Linear amplifiers, commonly used in amateur radio, are generally measured in kilowatts. In general, an amplifier of one or two kilowatts offers 10 to 20 times more radio frequency amplification.


Transceiver headsets help the user hear transmitted audio more clearly. People who use base transceivers for extended periods of time often prefer to use a comfortable headset with an attached microphone. In addition to enabling one to hear clearer audio, it allows one to be hands-free while communicating.

Buying Ham Radio Transceiver Equipment on eBay

Individuals who choose to buy ham radio transceiver equipment on eBay can take advantage of the website’s simple search methods, secure payment options, and reputable sellers. To shop with complete confidence on eBay, one may choose to only work with the website’s top-rated sellers. Sellers who have top-rated status have consistently achieved 4 and 5 star ratings, received excellent feedback, offered accurate listing descriptions, and shipped items on time. eBay offers useful shopping tools, such as eBay Mobile and eBay desktop extensions for Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Apple Safari.

Search Methods for Buying Ham Radio Transceiver Equipment

An easy way to search for any type of ham radio transceiver equipment is to type "ham radio equipment&" into eBay’s search bar. A potential buyer can also type a more specific phrase into the search bar if he or she would like to narrow the search criteria. For example, buyers looking for a portable transceiver or a used VHF transceiver may simply type either of these phrases into the search bar.


Ham radio transceiver equipment is used by a wide range of people for many different reasons, such as emergency communications or as a technical hobby. When looking for ham radio transceiver equipment, a buyer should consider the type of transceiver that can accommodate all the needs. Types of transceivers include base stations, portable stations, and in-vehicle transceivers. Ham radio users must also consider the bands through which to transmit communication. Another important consideration is the power input and output of a transceiver, depending on the terrain that the equipment is used in. Accessories such as antennas, amplifiers, and headsets can also enhance one’s experience in the field.

eBay offers a wide selection of new and used ham radio transceiver equipment for sale on the website. By using the appropriate search strategies and reviewing the quality of sellers on the website, a ham radio enthusiast or novice can find just the right equipment to help indulge a passion or calling.

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