Tips for the newcomer, To Ham Radio!
(And even good info for the
First of all, welcome to ham radio and congratulations on
technician license test! This page is designed to help you learn
communicate via ham radio, and deals mainly with repeater usage.
(1) You probably have bought a handie talkie, which is good, as it
very versatile radio. You can use it through a base antenna and
as a base unit, through a mobile antenna and cigarette lighter
a mobile, or simply use it as an HT. (NOTE: You will need some
external antenna for mobile and base use...East Tennessee is not
handie talkie friendly!)
(2) Most new ham radio operators were formally CB'ers. There is
wrong with that. CB radio does have it's place. But, ham radio and
(a) CB's transmit in AM, or amplitude
This means that when you get louder in the mic, the received
louder. You new HT transmits in FM, or frequency modulation mode.
get louder in your HT, the signal only gets wider, causing
Getting closer to the mic WILL NOT help your signal go any
fact, your radio, and repeaters have circuits designed to cut the
OFF if it gets to wide!
(b) We do not talk like CBer's. We don't use
we don't say "good buddy" or the like. There is one phrase used on
you DO NOT use on ham radio unless you have an emergency. That is
break". That signal is recognized on ham radio as an operator
emergency. YOU WILL GET CHEWED OUT IF YOU USE THAT PHRASE AND DO
AN EMERGENCY! We sometimes use "Q" codes, but they are not
repeaters. We just talk normally, like 2 guys (or girls) having a
over a cup of coffee.
(3) Don't use the "roger" or "over beep" feature in your radio.
All of our repeater have a neat feature called "courtesy tone"
that let's you know when the other user unkeys, no need to add
additional "noise" to your communications, plus, the built in
roger beeps are annoying!
(4) If no one is on the repeater and you would like to start up
simply call the station you wish to talk to. Say "WA4XXX this is
calling". Or if you want to just put out a general call to anyone,
key up and say your call sign.
(5) If you have just tuned to a frequency, listen for a few
see if it is in use. If you don't hear anyone, you might ask "Is
in use, KG4XXX". If it is all clear, make your call.
(6) Kerchunking the repeater without identifying is in direct
of FCC Part 97 rules and regulations. Also it is very annoying to
control operators as he / she is responsible for every
the repeater and must turn the repeater OFF when illegal
are made. Also, be considerate late at
from around 11:00PM until 6:00AM. Repeaters have to be
and some of us who are the responsible parties do so with a
the head of our bed! If you need to use the repeater, go ahead.
simplex will work, try it!
(7) If you have questions, ask. There are always courteous
that would like to help you learn to communicate the right way!
(NOTE: if you do happen to get a "bad egg" just ignore them...)
(8) Enjoy your new hobby! But remember, don't spend too much time
new radio, because you need to be studying for your upgrades to
and Amateur Extra class!
(9) As you get more into the hobby,
though you are a Technician licensee, you might consider
some type of rig that does all mode VHF communications. 2M SSB is
way to work DX, and 6M DX is the "magic band", where there are
on SSB, CW, and digital, such as PSK31. YOU ALREADY HAVE THOSE
PRIVILEDGES THERE! And you will have a rig that just may have the
bands that you will need when you get your General and Extra
here to get a less than 1.15 MB zip file of 36 handy pdf ham