Radios have been around for over 100 years, and there have been so many different brands and models throughout the years, so if you’re interested in getting into the hobby, where do you start? From Kenwood and Yaesu to older brands like Hallicrafters and Hammarlund, there are so many ham or shortwave radios that a hobbyist might be interested in collecting. The further one goes back, the more interesting and retro the designs get as well, with unique colors, shapes, and sizes that you wouldn’t get as much today. Some are even wood trimmed or from wars many years past. No matter where you start with collecting antique radios, the hobby is one of the most involved hobbies I’ve ever experienced.
Purchasing older radios from 1930’s or 1940’s brands such as Crosley, Emerson, or Zenith are relatively cheap, and even some Hallicrafters can be under 100 dollars, and provide with a very cool retro ham radio that can last you years to come. The only issue with some of these older models is that if you need to repair them, finding and purchasing the materials to do so might be difficult and expensive. On top of that, older models can sometimes not be grounded properly, causing the repair of these models to be a bit dangerous without knowledge of electronics. However if you do understand how to repair electronics, repairing an old radio can be one of the most rewarding projects you can do as a hobbyist. Once you are done repairing an old radio, you can use it for many years to come and it will prove to be a great experience.
Collecting newer models can be very expensive, new models ranging from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. You can always start with a smaller handheld model that you can use for fun or for emergencies, and then work up from there if you enjoy the hobby. Going from there getting a full ham radio setup can be both fun to use and useful for emergency situations like contacting authorities during a natural disaster. Starting the hobby in the newer category of radios can be full of high-tech modules that can supplement your main unit and on top of that you can get much higher quality tuning, sound quality, and modularity.
New radios do have an upper hand over old radios with the customization you can get with each different model that is released, but with the affordability and enjoyment you can get out of an old radio, you can find enjoyment in any form of radios. Getting into this hobby can be simple and cheap, or intricate and expensive, so there is something for anyone who wants to try it out. No matter if you get a handheld radio or a desktop radio, anything is a good option to start collecting and using radios as a hobby. The hobby is wide as it is interesting and can give you many years of enjoyment, and potentially get you into collecting some more profitable pieces or just interesting pieces.