When you are thinking about buying your first ham radio, there are a ton of choices and there are many factors you have to consider. First and foremost: what do you want to do in Ham radio? Are you going to stay with the just the 2M and 70CM bands (i.e. 144 – 148MHz and 420 – 450MHz)? Are you wanting to delve into the HF frequencies 10M, 15M & 40M (Technician)?
When I got my Technician license I purchased a dual band HT (Handy Talkie) and “thought” oh that will be all I want. After using it for a week or so and listening to our local club members talking about the things they were doing on the HF bands, I then went and studied for my General in order to open up those HF privileges to me. This of course expanded my radio choices by quite a bit. That is something to consider if you are just a Tech now, will you be going further and upgrading your license to General or Extra?
Most new HAM’s start off with an HT radio. They are very reasonable in price, easily portable and it will get you on the air fast!
Another factor to consider is your financial situation. If you have limited cash to buy a radio, then an HT might be a good first choice until you can save up for better equipment. If money is not a factor (within reason) then you may want to get a higher end HT radio or possible go into a mobile radio (which can be used as a base station at home or in your car) or maybe you want to get your self a base station radio that you can grow into as you follow your journey in HAM radio down the road.
Do I need a license to buy a ham radio? No, but you will need a license to transmit on a ham radio.
With Ham radio gear you have a lot of choices. You can buy items new, from retailers all over the web, or you can opt to buy used gear, sometimes at a reduced price for nice quality gear. Below is a partial list of places to find both new and used gear.