Welcome to the first episode of shacktime. We have recieved a lot of interest in how to get started in ham radio. So I thought, why not talk about a different piece of gear every so often and help people get started. There is some gear that you should borrow form other people (or just have them come over and help) and there is some gear that you should buy. Power supplies are really one of the items that you should own on your own.
When you first get started in ham radio, you really aren't going to be pushing the legal power limit on any bands. I think it's safe to start with the assumption that you will be running a 100W station (or 50/35W on VHF/UHF respectively). You also have to think about electrical safety as well. Always make sure your antenna is away from power lines and properly grounded to your house/station. And it is always a good idea to unplug and disconnect everything when they are not in use. It seems like every year i hear about people losing radio equipment and computers to lightening. Remember, lightning an sneak up your phone/cable lines and through your ethernet switches. So make sure to disconnect those too.
We talk about automobiles and radios being 12V power. However the automobile's electrical system actually runs at 13.8V when the engine and alternator are running. Most power supplies will put out power at this Voltage. But are you sure that you only want power for a radio?
This is one of the many power supplies I own.