Getting Started

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by VK6FLAB, Aug 18, 2018.

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  1. VK6FLAB

    VK6FLAB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Foundations of Amateur Radio

    Getting Started

    Don't get me started, Let's start this thing, Where do I start, Start me up, I could go on, but I have better things to do today, like starting a podcast.

    Amateur Radio is a hobby with an enourmous range of activities, interests, skills and experiences. If you're new to this hobby, you might find yourself standing at the edge of a precipous wondering what to do next. Where do I start, who do I ask, what's the first step, what if I fail and a myriad of other doubts and concerns.

    Would you be surprised to learn that this same dialog happens to every Amateur, all the time?

    Let's say that I'm an experienced member of the community and there is this new mode called FT8 that keeps polluting my PSK31 transmissions. I decide that it's time to see what it's all about.

    Or, imagine that you've been invited to come on a hiking trek for the first time with some fellow amateurs to activate a summit.

    Or, you hear about a new entity that has just been announced.

    Or, you decide that you need a new radio, a new antenna, a new head-set or a new logging package.

    Or, like me, you want to try again to learn Morse Code.

    For every activity you ever engage in, there's that moment of doubt, of concern, of challenge. In fact I suspect that it's exactly that thrill that makes people go ahead and pursue their hobby.

    That means that as a new amateur you're no different from an old amateur. You have the same level of concern and worry that others also have and you too can overcome those by just deciding to.

    So, what if you're not yet a new amateur?

    The first thing to note is that everybody who is an amateur today was at one point or another not yet a new amateur. For some that step happened yesterday, for others it happened over 80 years ago and for some that step lies in the future.

    At this point it would be helpful if I could point out a few resources, some things to look at, to listen to, or to engage with. If you're already on-air, listening, scan around and hear other activities. If you've managed to find the community on-line, you'll likely find other resources nearby, since we amateurs like to cluster, much like any other community. You'll also find on-line radios to hear HF, websites, discussion groups, mailing lists, interest groups, associations and clubs.

    If you came across this as a random event, see what brought you here and ask around. If you're stuck, ask a fellow amateur. I can introduce you to one right now. Hi, I'm Onno VK6FLAB and I'm an Amateur Radio Operator, pleased to meet you. Drop me a line and say hello, don't be shy.

    Just because you're not licensed is no excuse to get started.

    There are stories everywhere of those who start as shortwave listeners, or CB-ers, or come across the hobby in some other random way, like I did.

    The fact that you're here, now, means you've already found the community. Welcome. Seriously, Welcome to Amateur Radio.

    Now all you need to do is take another step, and then after that, another, and before you know it you're in and among other amateurs.

    There are many steps inside this hobby. Which ones you choose to take and at which speed are entirely up to you. This can be as formal or informal as you like.

    I'm Onno VK6FLAB

    To listen to the podcast, visit the website: and scroll to the bottom for the latest episode. You can also use your podcast tool of choice and search for my callsign, VK6FLAB, or you can read the book, look for my callsign on your local Amazon store, or visit my author page:

    If you'd like to participate in discussion about the podcast or about amateur radio, you can visit the Facebook group:

    Feel free to get in touch directly via email:, or follow on twitter: @VK6FLAB (

    If you'd like to join the weekly net for new and returning amateurs, check out the details at, the net runs every week on Saturday, from 00:00 to 01:00 UTC on Echolink, IRLP, AllStar Link and 2m FM via various repeaters.

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