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I don't want to get a license but I would like to have a good receiver that covers AM, SSB, FM, and at least 80 through 2 meter bands. By AM and FM I am not talking about the AM/FM broadcast band - although it might be nice to have I am talking long and short wave frequencies.
I am also wondering if there is a receiver that "translates" digital radio too.

I just want to be able to listen - I don't need or want to broadcast. What are some good choices for those of us that just want to listen?
Brands, model #s, costs, external antennas, and the rest.

The reason I bring this up is that I used to have a "short-wave receiver" that I installed inverted V and Rhombic antennas on and I could listen to stuff from all over the world - some in voice, SSB, and some in code. I would like to have the capability again and while I don't have a license I am not completely ignorant either.
 

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Also consider:

Kenwood R 5000 HF VHF R5000 Ham Radio Shortware Communications Receiver Nice Con | eBay

Japan Radio Company JRC NRD 525 HF Communications Receiver Working to Spec | eBay

Realistic DX 150A Ham Radio Receiver Am SSB CW CB HF | eBay

Kenwood R 1000 HF Table Top Communications Receiver Working to Spec | eBay

One thing I would really consider is a decent HF ham radio. The problem would be the antenna. A receiving antenna is pretty forgiving but if you try to transmit without a proper antenna you can fry the components. There are many of these for sale used at all price ranges. As an example I bought a Kenwood TS-450S used for $400 and bought a nearly new Kenwood TS-2000 for $900. Quite a range of equipment and prices.
 

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Grundig makes some I believe.
 

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I have one of these, You can use a long piece of copper wire or,get sophisticated with a real antenna.takes aa batteries or ac power.mine is a grundig g3 model,radioshack also carries them. or on the web. get a ham radio frequency guide or go to a ARRL/REACT rally for the repeater frequencies also so you wont be scanning all night.
 

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I second Paul and Alterego's request.

I do not know the first thing about Ham radio. I know I should. I have tried to study up on it on the web, but most of the discussions quickly evolve into very technical discussions using a vocabulary that is well beyond my understanding. Is there a web site or a book that is basically: "Ham radio for Retards"? I figure it cannot be THAT difficult once you get a basic understanding and a basic vocabulary. But finding a place to get that has been frustrating in the extreme.
 

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I second Paul and Alterego's request.

I do not know the first thing about Ham radio. I know I should. I have tried to study up on it on the web, but most of the discussions quickly evolve into very technical discussions using a vocabulary that is well beyond my understanding. Is there a web site or a book that is basically: "Ham radio for Retards"? I figure it cannot be THAT difficult once you get a basic understanding and a basic vocabulary. But finding a place to get that has been frustrating in the extreme.
There are some publications out that deal with the use of police scanners,thats where I got my start years ago.maybe start with a scanner,they are expensive now that there have been improvements in the way LE and FD's radios work (I wont explain as its complicated)so,you may be able to find an old handheld or tabletop scanner at a garage sale or fleamarket there are thousands of older digital programmable scanners that have been rendered obsolete by this new technology, you can listen to the ham's some rural police,sheriff and fire depts.that are still using analog,weather and if your near an apartment building baby monitors! (some interesting conversations there!)they should be available very cheap just make sure its not a really ancient one that uses crystals (like 60's and early 70's)a radio shack pro 2022 is what I was using until the change in the mid 90's and I still listen to hams,coast guard,marine radio (if you are near water)and listen to NWS (national weather service)broadcasts.
 

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They are supposedly a decent radio,if your transmitting without a license dont get caught. though, just listening is ok.
 

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I got one of those cheap beofengs off of e bay. Junk?
A lot of people will recommend the Baofengs for non-users or casuals users who are just getting started. A few classes near me give these out as part of the classes tuition.

I've got a pair of them, on in the car and one in the EMP bunker. If you are going to 'get into' ham you will end up buying a rig that costs 10x or more than one of these, but for something to have in reserve it should fit you perfectly fine.
 

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I'm not a radio guy and easily get lost with all the acronyms that radio guys use to confuse people like me. This is remarkably effective.

I have a Sony ICF-SW1S system which will pick up almost anything in the air except stewardesses.

Since I don't understand this stuff, I'll just quote from the description...

"The Sony ICF-SW1S is an ultra compact, microprocessor-controlled, frequency synthesized general coverage portable receiver. Frequency coverage includes 76 - 108 MHz FM and complete coverage of long wave, medium wave and shortwave from 150 - 29999 kHz continuously. Direct access tuning is provided along with a multifunction LCD digital readout for unsurpassed convenience and accuracy (5 kHz step on shortwave). Just press the numbered keys to match the frequency you want to hear. Manual and automatic scan tuning are also provided. Ten memories are provided for your favorite stations. A record output jack is included for taping off the air. Advanced features include: dial light, LED tune indicator, keypad lock, 24 hour digital quartz clock with dual timer, Local-DX sensitivity switch, 9/10 kHz MW tuning switch, tone switch and external antenna jack. Only 4.75 x 2.785 x 1 inches 0.5 Lbs. This radio requires 3 VDC or two AA cells (not supplied). The complete ICF-SW1S system includes: cloth case, hard system carry case, AN-101 active antenna, AC-301 multi-voltage AC adapter, earphones, Owner's Manual and Sony Wave Handbook."

Anyway, the complete system is what I have. I understand this model has been replaced with the Sony ICF-SW100S.
 

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I second Paul and Alterego's request.

I do not know the first thing about Ham radio. I know I should. I have tried to study up on it on the web, but most of the discussions quickly evolve into very technical discussions using a vocabulary that is well beyond my understanding. Is there a web site or a book that is basically: "Ham radio for Retards"? I figure it cannot be THAT difficult once you get a basic understanding and a basic vocabulary. But finding a place to get that has been frustrating in the extreme.
Amazon.com: ham radio for dummies

The last rules/laws revision was in 2010 I beleieve, so anything published after that date should good.
 
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I got one of those cheap beofengs off of e bay. Junk?
Not junk, just a throw away if something goes wrong. I bought one for 2 reasons. 1st is the fact I can program it for interops (official emergency freq's) and the 2nd was the price. Yes, I do have more expensive radios but I thought this would fit right in. ebay is where I bought mine.
 

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I second Paul and Alterego's request.

I do not know the first thing about Ham radio. I know I should. I have tried to study up on it on the web, but most of the discussions quickly evolve into very technical discussions using a vocabulary that is well beyond my understanding. Is there a web site or a book that is basically: "Ham radio for Retards"? I figure it cannot be THAT difficult once you get a basic understanding and a basic vocabulary. But finding a place to get that has been frustrating in the extreme.
Here are a couple of good places to start.

Getting Licensed

Gordon West Radio School | 714-549-5000 | Ham It Up!

Another thing to check out is your local ham radio club. Many of these offer inexpensive class for the beginner. The ARRL site has a spot to start looking for these although they don't have listings for all classes. Feel free to pm me if you have any questions.
 

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Those beginning classes can be a real pain in the ass to find, at least in my area. I've checked every club I can find and only one really does something on a regular basis. They have a class forming up sometime around September so there is hope.

I have quite a bit of comms training from the military days, and even worked on a few hi speed systems and hand helds. I really should just get the book and give the practice tests a few goes.
 

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Those beginning classes can be a real pain in the ass to find, at least in my area. I've checked every club I can find and only one really does something on a regular basis. They have a class forming up sometime around September so there is hope.

I have quite a bit of comms training from the military days, and even worked on a few hi speed systems and hand helds. I really should just get the book and give the practice tests a few goes.
Get with this guy. He has the highest pass rate of anyone I've ever known. He is local, in Plano actually.

WB5QNG

ETA: He actually does classes all over DFW.
 

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Get with this guy. He has the highest pass rate of anyone I've ever known. He is local, in Plano actually.

WB5QNG

ETA: He actually does classes all over DFW.
I see why you chose your nick. Your are a veritable encyclopedia of comm information. Thanks pal! ::clapping::
 

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Thanks Inceptor! Looks like I missed a class today, but given my phone rang at 2:15 AM to go into work for an unexpected hiccup I doubt I'd been of much use anyway, lol.

Gonna make his August class, once it's scheduled, a priority.
 
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