New to Amateur (Ham) Radio?


Hi, if you are new to amateur (ham) radio, you are in the right place. 

Why would you want to get into ham radio?  Why should you?  Let's start with the most common reasons ham operators are in the hobby.

  • Talk to ham radio operators locally, all over the country and the WORLD
  • Talk to hams on the International Space Station/bounce a signal off of the moon
  • Talk to hams from your vehicle, backyard, campsite, man-cave, she-shed...
  • Talk to hams on local repeaters during official nets or informal "rag-chews"
  • Modify vintage radio equipment ("boat anchors"), tinker with a soldering iron
  • Skip the tinkering and use a nice digital radio right out of the box
  • Morse code is no longer required for a ham license-but many hams still use it
  • Inspire your creative genius; build your own radio and antenna
  • Kids can get a ham license; there is no minimum age, just pass the test
  • Contesting-win awards and recognition
  • Meet interesting people and form lasting friendships
  • Be prepared in an emergency-cell phones work great until they don't
  • Weather watching/many hams are trained weather spotters
  • Provide radio communication for public service events

It's a fun hobby and a great way to meet some really nice hams!

Helpful Terminology

  • "5-9" or "5 by 9" RST signal report: where 5=readability and 9=signal strength (5-9 is a great signal report, by the way)
  • 73:  (pronounced "seven-three") Best Regards
  • Boat anchor: Old, generally LARGE radio equipment
  • Clear: "I'm finished on the frequency, anyone else can use it"
  • Copy:  "I understand"
  • DX: Talking to stations in a different country
  • Elmer: An experienced ham helping a newcomer
  • Full Quieting: an FM signal (VHF) strong enough to quiet the receiver (no noise is heard)
  • Geek: ham radio nerd with decent social skills
  • Homebrew: Home made equipment (be prepared to be astounded by ham ingenuity!)
  • Nerd:  ham radio geek with limited social skills
  • OM: Old man (any male ham regardless of age-the term is used in a friendly way)
  • Out: "I'm turning my radio off"
  • Over: "I'm done talking:  your turn"
  • Phone:  voice transmission (as in microphone)
  • Pile-Up: Lots of stations calling one station at the same time
  • QRN: Transmission has static
  • QRP: Low power station
  • QRZ: Pronounced QR-ZED "Are you calling me?"
  • QSL: Can you acknowledge receipt?  I acknowledge / I understand.
  • QSY: Changing to another frequency
  • QTH: What is your location?
  • Rig: Ham radio equipment
  • Roger:  "I understand"
  • Ticket: amateur radio license
  • Work: to make contact with, as in, " I worked W9DUA on 10 meters"
  • XYL: wife (a term of affection)
  • YL: a female ham of any age

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