Where can I get amateur radio equipment?
New and second hand Amateur radio equipment is available from the commercial suppliers that advertise in magazines such as the WIA journal Amateur Radio. Alternatively, you may choose to buy equipment privately through either the classified advertisements in the amateur magazines, or the 'buy and sell' segments on some WIA Divisional Broadcasts and email newsletters. Many amateur radio clubs hold 'hamfests' or junk sales, where a large amount of new and second-hand equipment can be purchased.
Used equipment classifieds on the web
On the web, the VK2CA website hosts VK Classifieds, an online "for sale and wanted equipment" noticeboard specialising in amateur radio and related equipment. Allan VK2CA's website is undoubtedly the most successful and most frequently used equipment classifieds in Australia. It's free too, though if you do use it, please consider donating something towards site running costs. Around 100 or more items are added each week and often the more desirable/rare equipment is sold within minutes of being listed on VKHAM.COM.
Hint: to view the most recently listed items, use the "Advanced Search" option, set "Posted in the last" to 1 or 2 days, leave all other options set to All and click the search button. You will get a quicker response if you set the "Display Ads as" to Headlines. This way you get to see the "Best Offer", "Swap" and Commercial classifications as well as the For Sale items.
Buying on auction sites
Many sellers use auction sites like Ebay.com.au and Oztion.com.au.
Buying used equipment can save money but some of the prices being paid for 20 to 30 year old radios appear to be excessive. You wouldn't pay half or a third of the original price for a washing machine or a television that was 30 years old.
A new radio has the attraction of a warranty, which is welcomed by anyone paying from $400 to $4000 for a new radio.
Other information about equipment
Useful information on amateur radio equipment, especially equipment you build or modify yourself, can be found on Peter Parker VK3YE's Gateway to Amateur Radio. While the Foundation licencee is not permitted to transmit using home built equipment, there is no such limitation on home made receivers, antenna matching devices, keyers, audio filters, and other accessories an experimenter can build and use as part of a working radio station. That's without mentioning antennas, which can all be home made and have associated equipment like SWR indicators, power meters, field strength meters, noise bridges and impedance meters.
Equipment constructors may also obtain parts from hamfests, or from commercial outlets, most of which also handle mail-orders. In addition, there are a number of clubs and associations which offer components to members. One example is the CW Operators QRP Club.
If you do purchase a commercial radio, you may find that others have already developed useful modifications. There are several sites on the internet listing equipment modifications. Examples are:
- Mods.dk from Germany
- QRZ.COM has a heap of mods at their mods site
- The Defpom's CB and Ham Radio modification site in New Zealand
- KB2LJJ Radio Mods database
If you read about a radio and want some information about it, such as when it was in production, what its basic features are like bands, power, modes etc, you can get a lot of very useful information from Rigpix.com from Sweden.