Amateur Radio Equipment
Once licenses are acquired, the next step is equipment.
This would consist of the following:
- HF Transceiver with microphone
- HF antenna or antennas for the 40 and 80 m band
- 12VDC power supply capable of feeding the transceiver
- Antenna tuner to match your transceiver to the antenna is also often required
You’ll learn a lot more about equipment as you study the manuals.
They then devote volumes to each equipment type, like HF transceivers, http://www.eham.net/reviews/products/14.
Amateur Radio Equipment Dealers
Amateur Accessories: http://www.amateuraccessories.com/
Amateur Electronic Supply: http://www.aesham.com/
Amateur Radio Supply: http://www.amateurradiosupplies.com/
Associated Radio: http://www.associatedradio.com/
BUXCOMM Packet Radio: http://www.buxcomm.com/catalog/
Durham Radio: http://www.durhamradio.com/
DX Engineering: http://www.dxengineering.com/
Ham Radio Outlet: http://www.hamradio.com/
The Ham Station: http://www.hamstation.com/
Lentini Communications: http://www.lentinicomm.com/
MN Radio City: http://www.radioinc.com/
Power Port: http://www.powerportstore.com/
Quicksilver Radio Products: http://www.qsradio.com/
R&L Electronics: http://www.randl.com/shop/catalog/index.php
Texas Towers: http://www.texastowers.com/
West Mountain Radio: http://www.westmountainradio.com/
The Wireman: http://www.thewireman.com/
Amateur Radio Equipment Manufactures
Barker & Williamson: http://www.bwantennas.com/
FlexRadio Systems: http://www.flex-radio.com/
GAP Antenna: /http://www.gapantenna.com/
Heil Sound: http://www.heilsound.com/amateur/
Icom America: http://www.icomamerica.com/en/amateur/
LDG Electronics: http://www.ldgelectronics.com/
M2 Antenna Systems: http://www.m2inc.com/index.php?ax=amateur
MFJ Enterprises: http://www.mfjenterprises.com/
NCG Companies: http://www.natcommgroup.com/
Hustler Antennas: http://www.new-tronics.com/main/index.html
Smiley Antenna: http://www.smileyantenna.com/
W4RT Electronics: http://www.w4rt.com/
Amateur Radio Antennas
Horizontal Loop Antenna Construction: http://www.k5rcd.org/hor%20loop%20instruct.htm
Loop Antenna Dimensions: http://mysite.verizon.net/ka1fsb/loopcalc.html
Near Vertical Incidence Skywave (NVIS): http://www.emcomm.org/antenna/nvis.htm
Near Vertical Incidence Skywave (NVIS) HF radio wave technique: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NVIS/
Single Turn Loop Antennas: http://mysite.verizon.net/ka1fsb/loopants.html#loopfeedline
Wire Antennas for Beginners: http://www.arrl.org/files/file/Technology/tis/info/pdf/0683033.pdf
Wire Antenna Calculator: http://www.ccdxc.org/ant_calc.htm
Wire Antennas for Ham Radio: http://www.qsl.net/va3iul/Antenna/Wire%20Antennas%20for%20Ham%20Radio/Wire_antennas_for_ham_radio.htm
Amateur Radio Software
AH0A.ORG Amateur Radio Education Web Site: http://ah0a.org/AH0A.html
Digital Panoramic Tuning - Digipan: http://www.digipan.net/
EZNEC Antenna Software: http://www.eznec.com/
Internet Radio Linking Project (IRLP): http://www.irlp.net/
K7QO Code Course: http://www.k7qo.net/
Numerical Electromagnics Code: http://www.nec2.org/
Winlink 2000: http://www.winlink.org/
The TS-2000X is on sale at GigaParts for $1899 at the moment, http://www.gigaparts.com/Product-Lines/HF-6M-VHF-UHF-1-2G-Radios/Kenwood-TS-2000X.html and that appears to be a good price for a new one. The reason I bought it was because it does everything and I wasn't sure which aspect of ham radio I was going to be interested in. Whatever it was, I was ready. I do like it, but wouldn't recommend it to someone who's only interest is His HF Net. They could spend a lot less currency and simplify their life with a dedicated HF transceiver.
I have the stuff to put up a 160M loop antenna, but haven't put it up yet. I suspect this will work on all the bands we'll need when connected to my antenna tuner. At the frequencies we're talking about you usually need to construct your own antenna, so make/model doesn't make a lot of sense. My loop will consist of a 508 ft loop of #12 insulated wire connected to the antenna tuner using 450 ohm ladder line. I probably spent around $100 for the components to make this antenna. I bought a used AEA QT-1 antenna tuner off eBay for around $150 last year, but won't be able to try it until the loop antenna's up. I selected it based on eHam ratings and comments and I'm not sure if the company that makes them is still in business. My power supply is a Alinco DM-330MV but has been superseded by a later model, http://www.gigaparts.com/Product-Lines/Variable-Voltage_2/Alinco-DM-330MVT.html. Ham radios use 12VDC power, so if your location (QTH) has batteries that might be a better answer for you. My cabin battery bank is 48VDC and it's easier for me to get 120VAC than 12VDC.
Although I'm happy with my radio, if folks only interest in His HF Net, I'd probably recommend they get a dedicated HF transceiver. If they're interested in setting up a local comm net or interfacing with local hams, they'll either want to get a dedicated VHF/UHF radio or get an HF transceiver with that capability built in. I have a Kenwood TM-D700A VHF/UHF radio for local communications from my and could probably get by just fine with an HF only transceiver for His HF Net.
All the VHF/UHF stuff is easily done mobile and truckers might even be able to check into the net if they worked the antenna issue hard enough. RV'er could also be part of the net. All these consideration increase the complexity of what's the best equipment answer and used cost effective used equipment add still another dimension.
A Kenwood 590, a slightly smaller than the Kenwood 2000, more compact, all-band transceiver, probably without so many bells and whistles. Kenwood also has a compatible TNC for the digital modes.
The 590 looks like a really nice rig and is highly rated on eham: http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/9266. Suspect it would serve you well. One thing it doesn't have is VHF/UHF capability, so you'll probably need another radio for local operation on those bands.
The buddipole is also highly rated on eham: http://www.eham.net/reviews/detail/2651, but it doesn't look like it covers the 80m band which I suspect we'll need. At these longer wave lengths antenna's can get fairly large and the buddipole is optimized for portable operation. On the 40 and 80 meter bands a wire loop or dipole antenna is probably the best choice if you have the room for it. You'll find that just about everything else is a compromise. Unfortunately, the logistics of putting up such an antenna is not something everyone can do for a whole host of reasons and I don't know what you're constraints are. Could be this is your only option, although http://www.hiqantennas.com/ makes antenna's that operate on 80m. They're more expensive and only claim 28% efficiency on the 80 m band. There dipole version which is more like the buddipole might do better, but you'd have to contact them to get more info. I used something like their Hi-Q Piranha -5/80 for mobile operation for a while, so I know they make good stuff. But now I have the room for a wire loop and hope this is the year I get it up and back on the air.