One does not need to spend a ton of money to have fun in Ham Radio. I am a testament to that. Looking at the picture above; what would you value this setup as? Starting with my VHF/UHF radio which is a BTECH 25X2 Mobile transceiver valued at time of purchase of $114 and moving down the desk from left to right is TYT MD-380 ($80), Baofeng UV5R ($15), MFJ 15amp switching power supply $79, and my favorite radio to use is Bitx40 ($50). Other cost that is not in the picture is about $200 of coax and a Diamond X50A ($94). Also I have a DVmega hotspot for DMR for around $200. After adding this up comes to $832, this has taken me around 4 years to accomplish with little at a time. I also forgot about my 40 meter dipole but I do not remember what I paid for it.
Now there are some changes that I do want to do with my current setup. First of which will be to replace the BTECH 25×2 with an Icom IC-2730A ($262) 50W dual band radio. I do not need all bells and whistles like you see on some high dollar radios. I just need to get onto the local repeaters in my area. This one will give me 25 more watts of power needed to hit some repeaters that I am currently having problems getting on with the BTECH.
Another change will be to replace the Baofeng UV5R, which I have not used in like 3 years. It just sits there looking at me. The HT that I want is the new Yaesu FT 4XR ($75). I hardly ever use an HT around my area because the repeaters are so far out. However, there is times that I do travel to places where all I need is an HT to communicate on. I feel this would be a great step-up from the BaoFeng.
The last change to my setup would be to add a CW transceiver to my collection. I have been learning and listening to code for awhile now but need to step-up and actually get on the air with code. I am looking at a kit from QRP Labs for this next step. I do love to do kits and use them everyday at my station. QRP Labs has a 5W CW transceiver for around $49. You can’t beat that with a stick.
These additions and changes may take me a year or two to accomplish. So you can see that you do not have to go out and spend an arm and a leg at first to get into Ham Radio. In time, you can change devices out and add to your collect like what I am and have done. In the future, I will post updates on my station as I accomplish my goals. Heck, these goals my change in time. You never know, and that is the thrill of having an evolving Ham Radio station.