Becoming an Amateur Radio Operator is easy - lots of people are doing it, with little or no prior background in radio or electronics. Under the current rules (July 2015), the entry-level license is called "Technician." Applied to Amateur Radio, the term "Technician" is a misnomer - it does not mean you will have to learn how to repair or service electronics. A licensed 2-way radio "technician" and a licensed "Amateur Radio Technician" are two different things.
As an Amateur Radio Operator, Technician class, you will be licensed to use VHF and UHF radio equipment and repeaters comparable to that used by local public agencies like Police and Fire departments. This will give you communications capability to participate in local roundtables, stay in contact with licensed family and friends, citizen patrols, volunteer programs like Citizen Corps, severe weather spotting, and emergency response teams providing backup and interoperability services to various public service and emergency response organizations. It allows you to become an active and effective volunteer communicator, assisting your community in times of need. And you will make lots of new friends, too!
Amateur Radio is not like CB radio. Communications are polite and "family friendly," unlike CB, where conversations are often rude and vulgar. Amateur Technicians usually operate on VHF and UHF FM, using repeaters, just like police and other public service agencies. The communications are clear and reliable, unlike CB, and are not bothered by a roar of interference. FM radios use "squelch" that silences the radio between transmissions, again unlike CB, but like police radios. Using 2-meter FM radios is a purposeful and rewarding experience, not annoying nor frustrating like CB. Amateur Radio operators are trained, tested, and licensed, once again unlike CB.
Amateur Radio is strictly a non-commercial service. It may not be used for business or advertising. Businesses must use radios licensed and approved for the Business Radio Services, not the Amateur Radio Service.
The Technician class license gives you the ability to use any and all Amateur radio modes, like FM, single-sideband (SSB), digital, and even satellites and 2-way television, on VHF and UHF frequencies. This includes all the Amateur bands above 50 MHz. Technicians typically begin by purchasing a small hand-held radio and using 2-meter repeaters. Repeaters are devices located around the area that "repeat" or re-transmit your signal, so that you can reliably cover a large area using handheld, mobile, and base radios. The "repeater" is controlled by your radio and instantly repeats whatever you say, with greater power and range. Amateur repeaters typically use the same type of commercial repeater equipment used by police and other such agencies.
"Is it for me? Can I do this?" Once again, we stress that licensed Amateur Radio operators do not have to learn complex radio engineering theory nor radio electronics repair! There are licensed Amateurs from 6 to over 100 years old. You can do this, if you commit to a period of study and pass the exam. It's just like any other course of study: You immerse yourself in it for a little while, pass your exam, then enjoy all the benefits for the rest of your life.
There are many resources online for studying ham radio. There are also many books and software programs for preparing for the exams. There are even web sites that give practice exams. I have located and compiled herein what I consider the best resources. If you follow these steps, you will be ready for the Tech exam in less time that you think. Two weeks to two months is typical, depending on how much time you can devote to study.
- First, familiarize yourself with the Amateur Radio "world." Please read the ARRL article at http://www.arrl.org/hamradio.html. When complete, use your "Back" button to return here and continue.
- It's important and very useful to learn the terminology. This will make study much more beneficial. Subscribe to ham radio magazines and learn the terminology from the context.
- Order and read the book "Now You're Talking!" from ARRL. This $29.95 book is the standard entry-level Amateur Radio text, and is essential to prepare you both for the exam, and a firm foundation in Amateur Radio, since it explains the correct answers. It is very user-friendly, and highly recommended reading. It goes well beyond the exam, giving you a wide-angle view into the Amateur Radio hobby. Magazine subscriptions are also very helpful, just as in any other hobby.
- Another gentleman's school of learning all you need to pass your written from Technician to Extra tests are Gordon West, WB6NOA, or "Gordo" as he calls himself with his series of books for $20.95 from the W5YI Group.
- Study the Technician exam question pool. See http://www.ncvec.org/page.php?id=338. These are the official question pool from which 30 or 50 questions (depending on the exam being taken) will be drawn at random to compose your exam. Most people recommend that you never read the distracters (wrong answers). Simply read the questions and the correct answers. This will teach you a lot, and prepare you for the exam. Many people like to read and record the questions and answers on cassette tape or into the computer, and play them in the background while driving around or working. This is very effective!
- Take practice exams at http://www.qrz.com/p/testing.pl . The practice exams are drawn from the actual question pool that real exams are drawn from, and each one is different. While your scores are low, keep listening to and reading the exam pool. Soon you will be consistently passing your practice exams at 90% or above. When you can do so, you are ready for the exam. There is no Morse code test for the Technician license.
- Contact your local club. See when there is an exam session you can take the multiple-choice exam. To find ARRL testing sessions, go to the ARRL's Find An Exam site.
- If you are interested, please contact us through the contact page.
SUPPORT EMERGENCY and TRAFFIC NETS:
State/National emergency frequencies can be found on the Kansas A.R.E.S. page.
Emergency Communications - Are We Really Ready?
It's More Than Ham Radio Volunteers
The April 14, 2012 Tornado
outbreak put the K-Link System
to the stress test. Thanks to John, KRØL, Harvey, WØHGJ, for taking reports, Justin, NV8Q for splitting the link system into 2 separate networks as both sides of I-70 were tested. Many SKYWARN
® ham radio operators, SKYWARN
® home spotters, wall-to-wall TV coverage, independent spotters, TV and radio storm spotters, saved many lives with a total of (154) 24 supercell tornadoes reported in OK, KS, NE, & IA.