Things to Consider before Upgrading Your Ham Radio Station

By H. Ward Silver

Soon enough, usually about five minutes after your first QSO, you start thinking about upgrading your ham radio station. Keep in mind the following tips when the urge to upgrade overcomes you. Remember the adage “You can’t work ’em if you can’t hear ’em!”

  • The least expensive way to improve your transmit and receive capabilities is to use better antennas. Dollar for dollar, you get the most improvement from an antenna upgrade. Raise antennas before making them larger.
  • Consider increasing transmit power only after you improve your antennas and eliminate local noise sources. Improve your hearing before extending the range at which people can hear you. An amplifier doesn’t help you hear better.
  • Buying additional receiving filters for an older radio is a whole lot cheaper than buying a new radio.
  • The easiest piece of equipment to upgrade in the station is the multiple-mode processor between your ears. Before deciding that you need a new radio, be sure you know how to operate your old one to the best of your abilities. Improving your know-how is the cheapest and most effective improvement you can make.

By taking the improvement process one step at a time and by making sure that you improve your own capabilities and understanding, you can achieve your operating goals quicker and get much more enjoyment out of every ham radio dollar.