I'm still relatively new to ham radio also, just got my techinician in february and general in april, but generally you can find a decent deal. I got a VHF
handheld new for $200. I probably overpaid, but it's worked well, so I can't complain. I've got an 80s era ICOM
745 which is working decently for VHF
. I bought it used from a local ham. It belonged to his father who had recently passed away and he was trying to get rid of his old stuff. I paid $350 for it.
For an antenna
, I'm still trying to work things out, but as a temorpary solution, another local ham just gave me an old balun of his, that hauled up the flagpole with a bit of wire staked out to each side to make an inverted "V" and a long patch cable to reach in the house got me contacts all the way up and down the east coast
and down to even South America
, and a couple of nights I even heard Germany
As for advice on what to buy, I've heard good things about kenwoods, also look at ICOMs and Yaesus. Don't count out older stuff, but do your research
first. Some older radios have odd quirks you have to look out for, they also tend to be a bit bulkier as well compared to newer ones which might be a concern depending on your future boat. On the other hand, older radios tend to have more tolerance of doing bad things to them, like bad antenna
matching and etc. And if you can find the parts
, older radios are almost always easier to repair on your own if you have a bit of electrical
knowledge and a steady hand to solder.
Just check and see if there are any Hamfests near you anytime soon, just go to one or two of those and look around and you'll get a decent idea of what you can get. Be sure to get there early though, most hamfests end way before the ending time printed, and most of the good deals are gone within the first hour, usually bought up by other people selling stuff there, marked up by 10 or 20 dollars and put on their table. :P Most hams are also very willing to give you advice or answer any questions you have. With few exceptions some of the nicest people I've met.