Editor’s Note: It is accepted practice in the field of personal blogging to apologize and come up with excuses when one doesn’t update their blog for a few months. I’m not going to do that. I’m here now. Move on and read.
For a number of years now, the Chinese have been shaking up the Amateur Radio market for beginning hams. Love ’em or hate ’em, you have to agree that Baofeng and Wouxun have definitely lowered the cost of entering the hobby, at least for UHF and VHF.
I remember when I bought my first dual-band UHF/VHF handy talkie. It was a Yaesu FT-470. It was a beautiful radio. My dad drove me to Erickson Communications in Chicago to buy it. It had an MSRP of $395. I saved up real money for it (I think I was 16). And it was a brick. Probably the best HT that money could buy in the early 90s.
These days, a similarly-featured dual bander from one of the “Big 3” radio manufacturers (Icom, Kenwood, or Yaesu) has a list price around $200 (The Yaesu FT-60R is a good example), however there are finer radios with more features that hit $400 or $500 or so, especially when you get into digital modes like System Fusion or D*Star, or if you want GPS/APRS functionality. Which is why I bought my Yaesu VX-8DR last year — I wanted to be able to use APRS when I went to the HAM RADIO show in Germany. It is probably the finest radio I have ever owned, and when it was all said and done, I shelled out nearly $800 for the whole kit, including GPS, extra high-capacity battery, speaker-mic, and desk charger. Read more