How to Get Started in Ham Radio
Courtesy of the ARRL
If you're already an Amateur Radio operator, please help us
"spread the word" about our exciting hobby. Post this file on
your local BBS or PBBS, newsletter, Web page or anywhere you
might find prospective hams. And don't forget, ARRL makes
getting started in ham radio easy. New and prospective hams may
call 1-800-32-NEW HAM (800-326-3942).
HOW TO GET STARTED IN AMATEUR RADIO
Here's your invitation to a high-tech hobby that's got something
fun for everyone. Amateur Radio operators are people from all
walks of life--no matter what age, gender or physical ability.
And, getting started in Amateur Radio has never been easier! You
can usually find a ham radio class in your area sponsored by
friendly volunteers who will help you learn the ropes.
The rules for earning an Amateur Radio license vary depending on
which country you live in. In the US, there are six license
levels, or "license classes." These licenses are granted by the
Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Two Beginner Licenses To Choose From
The most popular license for beginners is the Technician Class
license, which NO LONGER REQUIRES A MORSE CODE EXAMINATION, and
gives you all ham radio privileges above 30 Megahertz (MHz).
These privileges include the very popular 2-meter band. Many
Technician licensees enjoy using small 2-meter hand-held radios
to stay in touch with other hams in their area. Technicians may
operate FM voice, digital packet (computers), television, single-
sideband voice and several other interesting modes. They can even
make international radio contacts via satellites, using
relatively simple equipment. To earn a Technician license, you'll
need to pass the Novice and Technician written exams. These are
multiple-choice tests, written with beginners in mind. You'll
study topics such as radio operating practices, FCC rules and
basic electrical theory.
The Novice Class license lets you talk by radio using voice,
Morse code or computers. To earn a Novice license, you'll need to
pass the Novice written exam and a 5 words-per-minute Morse code
test. Novice Class operating privileges include FM voice on the
220 MHz band, digital packet, and single-sideband voice on the 10
meter band. Novice operators may also use many other popular
shortwave frequencies (below 30 MHz) to communicate worldwide
using Morse code.
Where Do I Start?
The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) publishes ham radio
license study guides to help you learn the things you'll need to
pass your exam and have fun with Amateur Radio. ARRL can also
assist you in finding ham operators in your area who'd like to
help you get started.
The ARRL Educational Activities Department (EAD) distributes a
New Ham Package that is sent at no cost to you. The material
describes Amateur Radio, popular ARRL study guides, and includes
a list of your local ham radio clubs, ham radio classes and
volunteer examiners in your area. To serve you best, we'd like to
know the following when you request an New Ham Package:
-Your First Name, Middle Initial, Last Name
-Call Sign (optional)
-Date of Birth, MM/DD/YY
-City, State, Zip, Country
-Phone 1 (day), Phone 2 (evening)
Contact ARRL today for an New Ham Package by any of the following
Telephone Toll-Free: 1-800-32-NEW HAM (our New Ham "Hot
Mail: ARRL EAD, 225 Main St, Newington
CT 06111-1494 USA
Telephone: (860) 594-0301
FAX: (860) 594-0259
ARRL BBS: (860) 594-0306
America Online HQARRL1
(Make sure to include a specific request for the New Ham Package
and include your postal address because there is too much
material to send via e-mail or fax.)
Join the World of Amateur Radio...The Hobby of A Lifetime!