Purchasing Ham Radio Equipment

Over the course of the last month or two, while searching around for parts/radios/information, etc, I’ve found several websites that are handy  and useful to browse if you are wanting to purchase Ham Equipment.  My suggestions is to poke around several of these sites before making any purchases because sometimes a site won’t carry the product you are searching for, but there will be multiple other sites that do.  None of these sites are all-inclusive.

The oldest and most established e-commerce sites for Ham Radio gear, at least as far as I know, are Ham Radio Outlet and Amateur Electronic Supply.  These sites have been around for a long time and were in business when I got my first Ham Radio license in 1994.  The best selection you will find online is probably at one of these sites.  However, in my experience, they can often be some of the highest prices also.  So if you find something at either of these websites, search around to the other sites I will list below before deciding to buy.
Ham Radio Outlet (HRO) www.hamradio.com
Amateur Electronic Supply www.aesham.com
The next place I will list is probably the first place I go to, each time I am shopping online.  The main reason for this is that it is somewhat local to the DFW area.  Sadly, we don’t have an actual Amateur Radio Retail Supply store within the DFW Metroplex, so MTC is the closest one, out in Paris, TX.  I’ve bought a couple of items from these guys, and they are always friendly and nice.  I caught up with them at the last HamCom in Plano in June of 2013, and was able to chat with the owner a bit.  Check out these guys for good prices
Main Trading Company  www.mtcradio.com
The last radio I bought was the Yaesu FT-8900.  I’ll write a review on that later, but I was prepared to spend about $525 for this radio before I found it for a better price at Gigaparts.  Plus, Yaesu was running a $100 mail-in rebate for this model, so that added to the Gigaparts low price of $479 let me have this $500 radio for only $379.  Gigaparts ships orders over $100 for free and doesn’t charge tax, so I paid exactly $479, then mailed in my rebate.
Gigaparts doesn’t have the best selection in the world, I honestly wish they carried more products.  However, for what they do have in stock on their website, their prices usually can’t be beat.  Always check Gigaparts first when ordering online.
Gigaparts  www.gigaparts.com
The rest of these places I have ordered small accessory items from, nothing major.  When comparing prices, its a good idea to check at least one or two of these sites.  Compare them to Gigaparts, MTC and one of the “big 2” at the top.

A good source for used equipment and online swap meets is:
swap.qth.com

With any product you are interested in buying, or if you are looking for a specific product, always check the review at eHam. Some of these reviews can be very bi-polar, but read the good with the bad. I’ve seen some bad reviews for equipment or software that I use and really like, so take it all with a grain of salt. But the site can be a very good guide.

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