When it comes to handheld radio communication, nothing beats a good old Ham radio. It covers miles and miles to let you talk with others using the radio frequency. And yet, you might sometimes feel like, only if you could improve it a bit more.
If you think that too, then this list of must-have ham radio accessories I’ve got here couldn’t have come at a better time.
So, do check them out.
Table of Contents
Must Have Ham Radio Accessories
While looking for the accessories, I’ve come across some great ones. Similarly, I’ve found stuff that wasn’t that great. Maybe there are other things out there you might find useful. But I’ve got the things here that most of you benefit from using.
When it comes to receiving and transmitting your communication, the thing that you need the most is the antenna. You will get a built-in or mounting antenna with most Ham radios, which might do the job. But if you want to improve the range and quality of transmission and reception, you might want to look into some other options.
Now, there are three kinds of antenna out there.
You’ve got the shortwave by looking at the name; you can imagine it has a short size. It’s quite portable, making it an ideal candidate for those who are always on the move.
Then there is your more conventional kind of antenna, which usually has a length of 19-inches. They can be a bit longer or shorter. In comparison to the shortwave ones, these aren’t that easy to maneuver. Now they are too portable. You will require to do some manual direction changing yourself with them to get the best reception.
Besides the two, there is the more advanced antenna that’s commonly known as wire antenna. It is best to use it with Ham radio.
Tuner for antenna
You’ve got your antenna. What you need next is an antenna tuner to make the best use of the equipment you’ve got.
Using the tuner, you will be able to tune up to various bands. The powerful the tuner, the more frequencies you will receive using your Ham.
To maximize your Ham radio’s full potential and your new-found antenna, you can go for a linear amplifier. It will boost the signal to 100 watts without sweat to give you that extra mile. That way you can talk at long distances with ease.
It might be hard to grab for some newbies, but if you’re using Ham radio for a while, you should know that you might get inaccurate readings while tuning the radio due to reflective power.
In simple words, there is some transmitting power that comes back to the radio that causes it.
The dummy load will prevent that and let you work with your ham radio before connecting it to the antenna. You can then fiddle with your radio, and that dummy load, aka the resistor in it, will let you get the right power level to work with before heading ahead to use the radio for actual transmission.
Using it will make sure you don’t get the ham radio damaged when you use it for real. Plus, you get the advantage of accurately adjusting the transceiver for the task.
Besides the dummy load, a good option to test directed and reflected force while the transmission is a wattmeter. It will clear any confusion you’ve got about the power that’s going out and coming back to the Ham radio of yours.
On top of that, getting the Ham radio tuned with much more ease is another benefit. Using it, you will check the antenna system and avoid any accidental issues like the same way SWR works for the CB radio.
You will get peak reads, which will give you an idea of the watts you’ve got installed. Working with it, you will get a clear idea about the power you need to get the range.
It is something that many don’t consider a lot, but I would say to get a good headphone. Using it, you will get a much better sound. Not only that, you won’t miss any signal, which is, most of the time, the case while using the Ham radio. The noises around make it hard for you to listen to things.
I won’t say it is a necessary tool from the word go. But over time, you will find the need for it. There will be issues with the coaxial cable or the radio jumpers that might hamper the integrity of your Ham radio performance. By using the Voltmeter, you will be able to identify the problem right away. So, having it on your checklist won’t be a bad idea.
The last accessory that might let you explore the full potential of your ham radio is a computer.
Most of the stations today are on the internet. To make those available on your radio, you’ve got to get a computer. That way, you can program and update the memory with your favorite stations to connect to them easily.
Plus, you can keep records using the computer and do much more.
How To Know Which Accessory You Need?
The best answer is to ask yourself. Better than anyone, you should know what kind of improvement you’re looking for from your Ham radio.
Maybe there is too much noise around where you use it; headphones will solve the problem. Not getting the range you wanted, a proper antenna with an amplifier might do the trick. You would find the need for a computer while programming your radio from time to time to update new stations and stuff.
Find what you need and not just go for everything. That’s the only tip I’ve got.
There are many more accessories out there. But I wanted to keep things relevant and only showed the must-have ham radio accessories.
If you found anything useful like the ones above, don’t forget to share them with others. Help out the community and make it grow.