Ham or amateur radio as a hobby involves some hard work in the form of getting licensed, and acquiring knowledge of the technical details. The hobby itself starts in the first step by one getting the ham device. Selection of a good ham radio is best done under the guidance of a person who knows about the radios well. More than that, one must know the local laws and rules with respect to the ham operation.
Getting to know your ham:
It is important to know about hams and, to know about your own ham as soon as you feel the urge to buy / assemble one. If you want to know about the ham, then again, internet, books and other hobbyists are all good places to start with. If you know no technical details of the electronics but find yourself fascinated by the idea, then it is time to learn a bit of jargon in the field.
So, if you do not know something, you should come out and seek answers either from those who might know or from resources like the library or the internet. One must spend some time and effort to learn about the hobby that one wants to pursue. Just a wish is not a good enough reason to pursue a hobby. One needs more than just a wish to be able to pursue an activity as a hobby. So, recognition of the hobby and the right kind of activity that suits you is important.
Ham operation can be taxing and sometimes it can be tiring in spite of the modern equipment that does the scanning on its own. It is like the astrophysicist searching for some communications from aliens. If that idea grabs your attention, then this hobby will be to your liking since the activity is virtually the same, except for the helpful fact that we know there is someone who exists for sure, and one gets more than just “radio signals of unknown nature”. You get interaction from real people, from out there in the world, who live in flesh and blood as you do.
Your choice of equipment depends on how involved you are, and what your budget is that you can afford to invest in a ham equipment. There are good stores out there that sell ham radio at a reasonable cost. Again, as usual, it’s wise to chat with those who are ham radio operators, and also to visit and know the prices from various shops that sell ham radios to be able to select the best deal.
The cost of the radio equipment that can connect to longer distances will be higher than the ones that have a lesser range. Moreover, the recent advancements like digital voice transmission and such can be more costly than the simple Morse code wireless telegraphing model.
Getting licensed is the next hurtle. The amateur radio operator license exam does not require Morse code proficiency any more as it is has been allowed to be dropped as agreed in 2003 in the World Radiocommunication Conference in Geneva. The test will include the knowledge of ham etiquette, the communication laws that apply internationally as well as in your region and such. Once licensed, one is free to use the allotted bandwidths and is allowed to change or modify the equipment within the limits imposed by “spurious standards”.
So…what are you waiting for? Go get a ham and get your license: get going!