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Where do I start?

Discussion in 'Becoming an Amateur Radio Operator/Upgrading Privi' started by HSCHIEL, Nov 19, 2008.

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    HSCHIEL QRZ Member

    I'm very interested in HAM radio. I keep telling myself I need a hobby, and this definitely looks like it could keep me occupied. I'm wondering where I should start? I see that there are different levels of licensing, and it seems reasonable to start at the lowest and then work up. I think I'm worried that if I invest in a radio, I'll grow out of it. I know nothing about electronics, and while I'm willing to learn, I have no idea how to choose my first radio. Any recommendations?
  2. W9MAV

    W9MAV Ham Member QRZ Page

  3. KD0FNR

    KD0FNR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ideas for starting


    You've got some good questions! First, I'd suggest talking to some of the folks at an amateur radio club in your area. To find a club near you go to:
    enter your state and see what's nearby your city. Hams are always happy to help a newcomer and you'll get some of the best advice there. They can especially help you decide what kind of radio to get. I got my first radio for free when a ham from the city I lived in remembered that he had an old radio sitting under his deck that he hadn't used in years.

    Your local hams can also tell you when licensing exams are coming up in your area. You can look that information up on the ARRL web site at:

    You're required to take the exams from bottom to top. There are three classes of licenses, starting with Technician, then General, and finally Extra. There are lots of good study manuals as well as practice exams you can take online. I've written a set of practice exams at:
    Copasetic Flow.

    There are other ham radio help groups online as well. One great one is the Yahoo HamRadioHelpGroup.

    I think your looking into a great hobby! Keep everyone here posted on your progress!

    73 de KD0FNR Hamilton

    HSCHIEL QRZ Member

    Well, I've started with a software package that will help me study for all three exams. It came with an FCC study guide. So I'm on my way. I've found a local radio club. Hopefully, I'll be able to make their next meeting.
  5. KD0FNR

    KD0FNR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Great job! Have fun and let everyone here know how you're doing.

    Happy Thanksgiving!
    73 de KD0FNR
  6. W6ONV

    W6ONV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ham Radio for Dummies, it is a great overview of the hobby by Ward Silver. This book is choke full of great information and would give any newcomer to the hobby a foundation on which to build. I would also recommend DX101 by Rod Dinkins (SK) AC6V.
  7. KE6DON

    KE6DON Ham Member QRZ Page

    FWIW, Im studying for my Tech ticket and got a copy of Ham Radio for Dummies.
    It has helped.
    I also ordered a copy of Technician Class by Gordon West WB6NOR.
    IMHO, they both are full of info to help with the studying.

    HSCHIEL QRZ Member

    Ham Radio for Dummies is on the way. I found another manual from ARRL that I'm going to try as well. I also ordered Ham Radio: Simplified by Kevin Cornwell.
  9. KI6UND

    KI6UND QRZ Member

    One thing you can take comfort in is that a like-new, unused radio can be resold for very close to its purchase price, from what I've seen.

    I am a newcomer as well to the hobby, and I passed both the general and tech exams, meaning I can TX on HF bands as well, but....... I still have decided that my first radio will be a HT (Handheld VHF/UHF) radio. I'm personally going to start by just working local repeaters and talking among other local hams and friends on the 440 and 2m bands.

    My recommendation as far as a unit would be a Yaesu FT-60R (Under 200 bucks.) Built like a tank, both 2 meter and 440MHz bands, and quality build that should be easy to sell later for most of what you put into it if you decide that you just don't use it.
  10. KE6DON

    KE6DON Ham Member QRZ Page

    FWIW, I'll be taking my exam on Sat, and providing I pass it, the two radios Im leaning towards as my first are Icom T 90A , which is a tri band,2 meter, 6 meter, 440 and Yaesu FT 60R which is 2m/440.
    One of the manuals Im using to study with has a coupon for a small discount on a Icom.
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