Oooh, shiny new toys

After much debate, research and saving of greenbacks, I finally went out and bought my first ham radio. I chose the Icom 92AD. It didn’t take me much to see that the Icom handheld radios were a lot higher quality than the Yaesu radios. They also cost a bit more. The one I chose was one of the more expensive ones (surprise, surprise), but it should do all the things I want it to do. It is a dual-band radio that also has a digital voice/D-STAR capability built in. I am not sure how much I will use the digital voice part, but D-STAR also allows for data to be transmitted along with the digital voice packets. I think that KK7DS‘s D-RATS stuff is really a great idea. Plus, Dan’s a bit of a Linux geek like myself, so I feel good supporting him.

The radio as a handheld doesn’t really have a long range, but it will be great for the ARES and CERT activities that I would like to participate in. There is also a local LDS net that I can participate in as well. So it is a great start to get my radio feet wet.

I have determined that one of the reasons that amateur radio is alluring to me is because it is an excuse for me to get back to my electronics roots. I finally have a reason to get a mutli-meter and a soldering iron. My first project is going to be an SWR meter to make sure that my antenna and transmission line are all correctly tuned. If I plan on making my own antennas, and I do, then this is a very important piece of equipment. Later I plan on making a 6/2/440 collinear coaxial antenna, which will require some fancy assembly, and a center-fed zepp for HF, which should be much easier. I am thoroughly enjoying this new hobby. I just hope it doesn’t wring my wallet too much.

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