Finding the Right Amateur Radio Transceivers
As a hobby or educational tool, amateur or ham radio has quite a dedicated following and hinges on the equipment used. Transceivers are devices that allow for the transmitting and receiving of radio signals on specific frequencies. Kenwood is one of many manufacturers that produce equipment for amateur and ham radio.
What Types of Transceiver Are There?
With their own strengths, performance, and functions, there are various types of transmitting and receiving radio units, including:
- Portable Radio: This small, compact radio is a handset featuring a keypad with alphanumeric characters, a small display, speaker, and built-in lithium-ion battery.
- Mobile Transceiver: A mobile radio unit is one that is installed with an external power source, like in a vehicle. Mobile radio transceivers are able to generate vastly more output, measured in watts, than portable units, while still remaining considerably compact.
- Base Station: Used for scenarios that call for high performance, base stations benefit from a whole host of features and functions that come at the sacrifice of portability. Base stations are able to handle dual bands or even multiple meter bands, unlike a 144 MHz mobile unit which specifically handles the two meter band.
What Are Some Features of Amateur Radio Transceivers?
When choosing amateur radio transceivers it is important to take note of certain technical features that may determine whether they are right for you, such as:
- Frequency Range: Every piece of amateur radio equipment functions at specific frequency ranges. For instance, a 2 meter radio supports a frequency range of 144 to 146 MHz, which relates to the VHF band. Portable and mobile transceivers are likely to have narrower ranges than base stations.
- Power Output: Even small mobile units like the Kenwood TM-281A device can deliver outputs as high as 65 watts. This level of power is suitable for more remote transmitting as the signal will be more likely to reach a nearby repeater and less vulnerable to path loss.
What Are Some Functions Amateur Radio Equipment May Have?
Like most electronics, amateur portable and mobile transceivers benefit from a range of programmed functions, like:
- Memory Channels: So that you can quickly access, transmit, and receive frequencies, many ham radios have a memory channels function. They often have the capacity for as many as 200 channels, with often 100 channels able to be designated with a short name. Its also sometimes possible for the channels to be transferred to a computer with the right cable and software.
- Hands-Free Mode: Some units are able to be controlled hands-free with a compatible headset and automatically adjust for ambient background noise.
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