There are frequent hamfests, or ham radio flea markets, in many areas. Hamfests are the best place to meet hams, buy equipment, and take your license test. It's a great way to find some terrific deals on used equipment. You will also find computer parts at hamfests. It is relatively inexpensive to get into amateur radio if you learn how to shop for used equipment with the aid of someone at a local radio club.
Look for a transceiver with a built-in general coverage receiver. That way, you get the versatility of two hobbies: ham radio and short-wave listening.
Each May, the world's largest ham radio convention is held in Dayton, Ohio.