Since I have children under the age of five, there’s pretty much zero chance of me doing cool nerdy things with radio on a regular basis at home, so I have been looking into one of the many sub-disciplines of amateur radio, mobile QRP (low power) operation. The idea is that you drive/hike/climb/fly somewhere remote and set up shop in a very minimal fashion.
Since I’m super cheap, I’ve been doing a lot of research to identify the best single radio that will do most of what I want to do at least halfway well; I can’t afford to diversify and own the perfect radio for each of the things, so I’m shooting for a good radio for (almost) all of the things. I had picked out a model and the gotta-have options and concluded that I’d have to spend about $900 to get the one I wanted and enough of the extras to really get started.
My plans to carefully save went right out the window when I found an eBay listing for $1300 yesterday. It had the exact model of radio I wanted, but with all of the factory options and just about all of the premium aftermarket upgrades–plus multiple antennas for different bands, solar charging arrays, extra batteries, foam-lined carry case, and a bunch of other stuff. I did a mental estimate of street value and jumped on the “buy it now.” After-the-fact calculations suggest I just netted about $2200 worth of gear, less than a year old, and all set up to work together.
[Yes, I had the money; it was just being saved for other things that I wanted. This was (almost) the last of my reenlistment bonus.]
I’ve been in contact with the seller, a 70-year-old Vietnam veteran who is divesting his mobile kit because he is no longer able to move around as well as he used to. He had sent me messages within 15 minutes offering his phone and technical help any time I needed it. Very cool.
I am ridiculously pleased about this. I am now one step closer to my pointless plan of setting up a BBS over HF radio on a mountain. Because you can do things like that.