Re: Test equipment recommendations

Robert D. Bowers

You'll encounter all sorts at hamfests, and find some really decent people there (as well as monsters).  My good scope (needed for my research) - the guy sold it to me for a price I could afford, but with extracting a promise I wouldn't try to turn around and sell it for a profit - that I was going to use it!  (Ditto for my BitX20 which I plan to convert to 10 meters.)  I've lucked out on a few other items - and look forward to hamfests starting up again (I've got a bunch of 'junque' I want to trade off - clear out storage a bit and have some fun!)

I'd add to your comments:

For someone seeking 'start-out' test equipment, see if you can find a local experienced ham in your area who'd be willing to go with you (maybe even a group - it's been known to happen).  Someone who is really knowledgeable and experienced can often spot the ugly-as-h*ll-but-a-real-deal items, and know what to avoid.  As you wrote, you might even find someone who enjoys helping out 'newbies' and would be willing to give someone equipment (I've been known to do that - and I've known hams who did).  Indeed, one of the people on this server gave me a BitX40!  (It's a prized piece, set up for portable/emergency comm use - doubly so as it reminds me of a kindness I experienced). 

The more people work together and help each other out, the more fun it can be!


On 5/17/20 12:54 PM, Randy.AB9GO wrote:
Go to a hamfest in your local area when they return ☣️.  It may be hit-or-miss if you find an oscilloscope but if you ask around I'm sure someone will have one that they will sell for a reasonable price or since you're starting out sometimes a freebie comes along that works.  It can be a great source for other test equipment also.  If you buy an oscilloscope locally at least you can try it out and make sure it works. I have found eBay to be really hit or miss and usually much too expensive for test equipment.  To get started a 20 megahertz analog scope is just fine and usually they're quite inexpensive.  Most of us didn't have anything better than that until the rash of cheaper Chinese scopes became available a few years ago.  They just cost too much for the experimenter back in the day.  If you can find a used  Rigol Ds1102E scope they make an excellent entry-level scope. Just don't pay too much for it. $100-$150 would be about the max for it since the newer DS1054Z is out and commonly available for $350. And for that money it must have all the probes included!  

Hopefully you'll be able to find what you need. One thing to remember at hamfests some people price their stuff realistically and it always is a good idea to offer less for the item than the asking price. Most people come down somewhat.  Do a little research and see what things are selling for on websites like eham or qrz.  You always run into the seller though that will not come down in price and their asking price is just ridiculous ie eBay prices and higher.  Just move on to the next table.  Not everyone is trying to find a sucker.  😁


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