1. A transceiver radio
- Most new ones range in price from $600 to $5,000
2. An antenna
- $20 (do-it-yourself wire dipole) to $500 + + +
- Antenna systems range from very simple to extremely complex and expensive. Complexity and expense have little relationship to how efficiently it transmits signals. Different needs (eg portability, multi-band, shape and size, directional vs non-directional) dictate decisions about which to get. A simple dipole is a good start.
3. A DC power supply with at least 20 Amp continuous capacity
- $50 to $125
- Some say a “switching power supply” is not recommended as it may produce some interference noise in your receiver. Others disagree.
4. Battery power for portable work
- $100 to $160
- Lithium-Iron-Phosphate types (LiFePO) are excellent for small size, light weight, steady discharge, long shelf life between charges (available in sizes approx. 6”x4”x2”).
5. Antenna “Tuner” (AKA: antenna matching unit, or antenna coupler) to match antenna/transmission line impedances to the 50 ohm output of radio
- up to about $150
- Dedicated tuners are needed for most multi-band antennas. Some transceivers have built-in tuners, but most are limited in capacity for handling large mismatches between antenna and chosen frequency.
6. Transmission Line
- Some common ones in order of expense and inverse order of loss:
RG58 (least expensive), RG8X (some referred to as “LMR240”), RG8 (some referred to as “LMR400”)
- Loss on HF frequencies is less than on VHF/UHF frequencies. If transmission line is under 100 ft. long, loss (dB/100 ft) is not significant
- For portability RG58 or RG8X may be best (lighter, thinner and more flexible).
7. Accessories (optional)
- CW key, headphones, mic, log book, connectors, amplifier and other “stuff”.