KM4OLT - Mike's Ham Home
How to get started in Ham Radio
Well the answer in this case is not part of a pig. Amateur Radio is referred to as Ham Radio and operators with licenses are called Ham Radio Operators , Ham Operator or Ham. The hobby of being a Ham operator has been around a long time. Some love the communications with others from around the world. Others like building their own equipment and the satisfaction it brings being able to show it off by using it to talk to others.
Isn't It Just For Old Guys?
I'm sure most people have had very little dealings with Ham operators. In their mind they are retired guys that sit at home with nothing better to do and this is their only way to communicate. Not so. In fact one of the youngest Hams is 8 years old with reports of others younger.
I'm trying to organize this in order by need to know. Some of it may be interchangeable. This is also a learning curve for me as well. Some of it is going back over my beginnings and also breaking new ground on what you might want to learn.
1. Clubs - Look through my clubs posting and try to find a local club
2. Facebook - Facebook has a lot of groups on specific topics of interest. Ham Radio or specific parts like QRP, CW, Satellites, etc.
3. Google - I know sometimes it sounds like a cliche' but sometimes doing a search on things like "What is a Ham Operator?", "How To Get Started In Ham Radio", etc. can give you lots of options and directions to go. Sometimes within those topics you find other topics of interest or terms you haven't heard. Search those as well. For me I save a ton of bookmarks. I organize my bookmarks under topics, subtopics, and even subtopics of those.
3. Popular topic web sites. Some of the ones I started with are:
ARRL - Amateur Radio Relay League - They have a wealth of information related to Ham Radio and have been around a long time. About midway of their page is topics like What Is Ham Radio and Get Your License, which are a great start.
FCC - Federal Communications Commission - For a ham radio operator this is the governemnt organization that maintains licenses for amateurs. They also maintain the documentation on all the requirements and limitations for the amateur. Of course they do for all other groups, government agencies, and corporations as well. Even before you get a license it's good to register at their site and get a FRN number. This number is used when you take an exam and fill out the paperwork. This way they link any current information you have with the paperwork that's submitted after you take your exam.
Another thing on their website is the Call Sign Lookup. Amateur operators who have passed the exam and proper paperwork submitted will be assigned a unigue callsign. Even as a seasoned operator this function is used quite often to look up contacts as they are required to give their call sign duing communications. It gives you more information about the contact you made, where they are located, etc.
QRZ- Their site provides a lot of information such as forums, news, callsign lookup, swap meets, resources, and more. Some hams have their biography filled out with a bit more detail than what is on the FCC website.