A non-technical (I’ll try!) overview of many of the fun things you can do with amateur radio, tour of my portable station, and demonstration of several of my favorite modes.
What is ham radio? What can you do?
Amateur radio is the collective allocation of frequencies that allows for private individuals to operate under the broad umbrella of experimental and recreational radio communication stations, that are not broadcast stations, public services like fire and police, or commercial in nature.
There are so many interesting facets to the hobby. My goal is to share at least one thing that catches your interest.
- Local repeaters
- Social Calls “rag-chewing”
- Emergency Communication
- Wilderness intra-party communication
- Digital Modes:
- Morse code (CW)
- PSK31, RTTY
- FT-8/FT-4, JS8 Call
- Radio electronics: design, building, and experimentation
- Antennas: design, building and experimentation
- Propagation and Solar weather
- Satellite Operation
- Portable Operation (SOTA, POTA, IOTA, field day)
- Award chasing and DXing
- Specialty activities: EME, Meteor scatter, LF/VLF, X-band and up
- Fox Hunting
- HF Radio
- VHF/UHF radio
- Antenna tuner
- Raspberry Pi
- Portable Repeater
- Calling CQ, phone
- FT-8/JS8 Call
How to get started
Naturally at this point, you are all extremely eager to go get your license and join in the fun, so let me share some resources.
In the US there are three license levels you can achieve: Technician, General, and Extra. Most folks can easily pass the Tech exam with a couple weeks of casual self-study. General and Extra start getting into more complex technical theory and a good mentor is helpful, but there are so many more resources it’s more accessible than ever.
- ARRL http://arrl.org/
- Handbook (check your local library!)
- License Specific Study Guides
- Online Resources: https://hamexam.org/
- Demos and explanations on just about any subject you can think of.
- Full license classes
Tech license, repeaters, and a Morse promise.