You sound like one of those crusty ol' hams already
Get your self a empty Quaker Oats carton, the cylindrical cardboard type. Wind some lacquered wire from an old alternator around it. Add a few old TV tubes. Feed it into a cut down CB antenna and you're all set.
Seriously though, back when Radio Shack used to deal in radios they sold alot of Ham gear. Most of it is still highly reguarded as quality entry level equipment. I've seen 2meter rigs go for as little as $25 on flea bay and QRZ. I lucked out and found a HTX10 (10meter all mode) for $50 when the Radio Shack at U. Hills Mall was closing.