If you've ever dabbled in VHF contesting, at some point you probably considered whether you could add another band. Many modern HF rigs cover 6 meters, 2 meters, and 70 centimeters. Since the 222 MHz band (also known as 1.25 meters, 125 centimeters, or for us old timers, 220 MHz) is allocated to hams only in the Americas, it is often ignored.
One fast way to get on this band is to get an FM rig. I have an old Icom IC-3AT. I was lucky enough to find it mis-described on e-Bay as a 2 meter rig. The older 220 MHz FM rigs do seem to sell at a premium, and since nobody knew this was for 1.25 meters, I got it at the lower 2 meter price.
If you decide to buy new, there are now some inexpensive options from China showing up. I have many of these cheap Chinese rigs on another page. Shown below are some currently available rigs for 222 MHz. Many of the same caveats apply, which are explained on my other page.
The cheapest option currently available now seems to be the Baofeng UV-82X. The X model covers 222 MHz:
Another available model is the
TYT TH-UVF9 Dual Band Handheld, which covers 2 meters and 222 MHz. It is available from Amazon at the link below:
The TH-UV3R also covers 2 meters and 222 MHz:
My experience is that a handheld can be fairly useful on 222 MHz. When you're "running the bands" with another station, they are usually eager to work you, and a well-equipped station will be able to pull out your weak FM signal if sufficiently motivated. Of course, an external antenna (usually horizontal) will be a great help.
Another option is the
TYT TH-9000 .
This is a 25-watt mobile rig for 222 MHz only. It is also available from Amazon (with free shipping) at the link below:
There's not a lot of activity on 222 MHz in my area, and the only QSO's I've ever made on that band have been during VHF contests. However, even with just a handheld, I have been able to add to my score, and the other stations I've worked have been appreciative. Older FM rigs are a good option, but these new rigs from China are also a viable option.
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