Try the satellites cheaply !

http://youtu.be/Oqg0jZffBuU

David Mercado has some YouTube videos where he uses the increasingly popular Baofeng UV5R transceiver on the amateur satellites . In the videos he experiments with whip and Yagi antennas. Interesting stuff to show what’s possible before you take the leap yourself.

Looks like fun. Tracking software is free to low cost for a variety of devices.