Getting started in Ham Radio

28 Mar 2022

Many people over the last century have become ham radio operators. In years past it was rather difficult to obtain a license but this is no loner true. Two things have changed opening up hame radio to many more people like never before.
The first change, the FCC eliminated the Morse code requirement several years ago. This made it much simpler for many unable to learn code well enough to get licensed initially, but don’t make the mistake to think that Morse code it dead. It is very much alive and well. The second major change was the Internet. Site such and the many practice test sites that now exist make studying and learning so much easier for many people.
If you have not made the plunge I highly encourage to do it. If you enjoy building projects, experimenting, meeting many new people from around the world, hiking, contesting, emergency communications, satellites, and many more. There are enough options to keep the hobby interesting for many years.
There are three levels of licenses, each expanding the bands of frequency available to you. Each level requires another test. Your first license level is TECHNICIAN, second is GENERAL, and third is AMATEUR EXTRA.

Computers in Ham Radio

5 Apr 2022

Several years ago it was not uncommon to hear people say that to send radio over the Internet was not Ham radio. Today that idea is farther from the truth. Use of the Internet and computers in the hobby has become prolific. Everything from rig control to virtual modems and email client for Winlink are used everyday by thousands of operators around the globe. Personally I enjoy using FT8 and Winlink. It has also increased the need for operators to become more and more computer fluent. Many were initally afraid of using them but are becoming more comfortable every day.
If you are one of those who does not understand how to configure a Windows computer, setup a Rqspberry Pi, design a simple home network and IP address scheme, now is the time to being learning these skills. There are tons of resources available in print and video to take the mystery out of the machine. There exist many fun Ham radio projects the include Arduinos and Raspberry Pi cores. These tools can simplify what a decade ago would have seemed dimpossible to build by many.
Once you learn the basics you will find many more doors opened to the hobby. If you don't know where to start, I recommend the ARRL. They have many books and articles on the subject to help find a place to begin.