Amateur radio is an exciting hobby that allows you to connect with people all over the world. However, to be successful in amateur radio, you need certain equipment and devices.
Amateur radio equipment: what equipment and devices are needed?
Radios / Transceivers
The heart of amateur radio equipment is the radio, also called a transceiver, which allows both sending and receiving signals. There are different types of transceivers, such as handheld radios, mobile radios, and base stations, depending on their application. Handheld radios are small, portable devices that typically have limited power and range and are ideal for use on the go. Mobile radios are mounted in vehicles and have greater power and range. Base stations are permanently installed devices that are perfect for stationary use in living rooms or radio stations and have the highest power and range. Which transceiver you choose depends on your own preferences and the intended area of use.
Another important equipment is the antenna, which sends and receives the signal. There are different types of antennas, such as dipoles, Yagi antennas and vertical antennas, which can be selected depending on the requirements and the planned application. Dipoles are the simplest antennas and consist of two conductors suspended at a certain length. Yagi antennas are directional antennas that have a higher directivity than dipoles and are ideal for use in certain directions. Vertical antennas are vertically mounted antennas that are ideal for use in specific frequency ranges.
A power supply is equally important as it supplies power to the radio, here there are different types such as switching power supplies and linear power supplies that can be selected depending on the requirements. Switching power supplies are more cost-effective and smaller, but they are less stable and less efficient than linear power supplies.
Another useful device is an antenna analyzer, which helps to measure and optimize the performance and characteristics of the antenna. There are other devices and equipment that can be useful for amateur radio operation such as a SWR (Standing Wave Ratio) meter or a radio direction finder.
An SWR meter, or standing wave ratio meter, is a measuring device used to determine the quality of the match from an antenna to a transceiver. It measures the ratio between the reflected and transmitted power in a radio system. A low SWR value means that the antenna is well matched to the transceiver and most of the power is radiated. A higher SWR value, on the other hand, means that the antenna is not properly matched to the transceiver and power is lost. By using an SWR meter, you can ensure that the antenna is working optimally and that power is not lost due to poor matching.
Radio direction finder
A radio direction finder is a device used to determine the direction of a radio signal. It usually consists of an antenna system consisting of several directional antennas and a receiver that measures the signals from each antenna.
There are several types of radio direction finders, such as the cone search, which is set to a specific frequency and determines the direction of the signal by comparing the signal strength on different antennas. Or the circular bearing search, which determines the direction of the signal by comparing the phase shift of the signal on different antennas.
Radio direction finders are used in many areas, such as rescue services, traffic monitoring or military reconnaissance. They are also of great importance in the search for missing aircraft or ships. In amateur radio, they are often used to determine the position of stationary and mobile radio operators and to determine the direction of DX (distant radio) signals.
QSL cards are an important part of amateur radio. They serve as evidence of successful contacts between radio operators around the world. Any radio operator may request or send a QSL card to confirm the contact and document information such as the date, time and frequency of the contact.
Not only as proof of successful contacts, but also as a collector’s item, QSL cards are of great interest to many radio operators. Collectors collect QSL cards from all over the world and display their collections online or at radio meetings.
Overall, QSL cards provide radio operators with a way to document and share their amateur radio experiences with other radio operators.
Here you can see some examples of QSL cards.
It is important to emphasize that the choice of equipment and devices for amateur radio is dependent on one’s own preferences and the intended area of use, and it is wise to inform oneself thoroughly before making a purchase.
You want to start with the hobby amateur radio? Information for an easy start can be found here.