ARRL makes getting started in ham radio easy. New and prospective hams may call 1-800-32-NEW HAM (800-326-3942).
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?
Here is a great source for FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) about Amateur Radio in Great Britain.
Also, 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:
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 Line")
225 Main St,
Newington, CT 06111
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.)
Another good starting place:
Al's Introduction: WHAT IS HAM RADIO?
Another good starting place:
ARRL's Introduction to Ham Radio On-line
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