What's the cheapest way one might get into ?

I probably just need to save up for a good HF radio, but it would be sweet if I could get started around $100

@KF0BRS Depends on radio. If your radio has vox and 3.5mm audio jacks (like mine), all I needed was a couple audio cables (and in my case a usb sound card as I use the integrated sound car for other purposes).
If it does not have vox or the audio jacks, some form of interface like easydigi, they are not that expensive specially the kit version.

@KF0BRS also some form of computer is needed. If you don't have one available that could the expensive part. In some instances an inexpensive computer like a raspberry pi can be used, but that depends on your familiarity with such computers.


I would say that this kit rig:

with a Raspberry Pi or whatever computer you have would be good. A $100 price point will keep you in kits, but there are plenty out there that are good. uBITX is another one to look at.


tnx for mentioning the Phaser, I wasn't aware of it (maybe because I was never looking for a digi mode only kit). Looks like the best option.

To be honest, 100 $ is a pretty tight budget - though I like to say that you don't need much money to get into ham radio. I also thought to propose the ubitx but it is 160 $ already (without enclosure). And a raspberry pi 4 - while quite capable - adds another 60 $.

@es0mhi @KC3JXQ yeah the $100 is pretty arbitrary. It's just so easy to find stuff for this that costs over $500 or $1000.

I mean tbh I would do a standard phone-capable HF transciever. It's just that I can't spend the equivalent of a car payment on one item, ya know?


Oh, absolutely. I have never bought a radio for more than 350$, so it's all old equipment I purchased 2nd hand. For digi modes I'm using an IC-730 (at least 35 years old) with a signalink. It's not working that well in the traditional digi modes like psk31 or rtty (though I have made hundreds of contacts) but working perfectly in JS8 for example. So that's also a road you could go.

@es0mhi @KF0BRS

Kit options are always good fun if you're of that kind of bent. Plenty of used gear too, but the Phaser is fun stuff. I'm almost done building it and the user community is awesome.


It would be very interesting, if you keep us updated, once you finished it and went on the air.

Something I wonder, for example: how about the 4W? FT8 was exactly developed for this low power operation but lately I hear from OMs at the club that there are more and more guys using 100W (or even more). So unfortunately the arms race has long since started once again.


I will certainly let everyone know how it goes.

I find that even on my main desktop rig I only go to about 15W and make plenty of contacts. I'm sure there are tons of people out there running at their max, but I really think that things like FT8, FT4, and JS8Call are still going to be a lot of fun QRP.

@KF0BRS Also, if you want to actually communicate something besides the basic QSO, JS8Call is the keyboard to keyboard version of FT8. And has some nice features worth looking at.

@KF0BRS I'm a fan of the D4D QRP transceiver kits from - it's $35 plus shipping. They're fun to build and the kits are very well made. I have two of them: one for 20m and one for 40m.

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