the newcomer to Ham Radio!
(And even good info for the seasoned
First of all, welcome to ham radio and congratulations on passing
technician license test! This page is designed to help you learn how we
communicate via ham radio, and deals mainly with repeater usage.
(1) You probably have bought a handie talkie, which is good, as it is a
very versatile radio. You can use it through a base antenna and power
as a base unit, through a mobile antenna and cigarette lighter plug as
a mobile, or simply use it as an HT. (NOTE: You will need some type of
external antenna for mobile and base use...East Tennessee is not very
handie talkie friendly!)
(2) Most new ham radio operators were formally CB'ers. There is nothing
wrong with that. CB radio does have it's place. But, ham radio and CB
(a) CB's transmit in AM, or amplitude modulation
This means that when you get louder in the mic, the received signal
louder. You new HT transmits in FM, or frequency modulation mode. If
get louder in your HT, the signal only gets wider, causing distortion.
Getting closer to the mic WILL NOT help your signal go any farther. In
fact, your radio, and repeaters have circuits designed to cut the audio
OFF if it gets to wide!
(b) We do not talk like CBer's. We don't use "10"
we don't say "good buddy" or the like. There is one phrase used on CB
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 having an
emergency. YOU WILL GET CHEWED OUT IF YOU USE THAT PHRASE AND DO NOT
AN EMERGENCY! We sometimes use "Q" codes, but they are not necessary on
repeaters. We just talk normally, like 2 guys (or girls) having a
over a cup of coffee.
(3) If no one is on the repeater and you would like to start up a
simply call the station you wish to talk to. Say "WA4XXX this is KG4XXX
calling". Or if you want to just put out a general call to anyone,
key up and say your call sign.
(4) If you have just tuned to a frequency, listen for a few seconds to
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.
(5) Kerchunking the repeater without identifying is in direct violation
of FCC Part 97 rules and regulations. Also it is very annoying to
control operators as he / she is responsible for every transmission on
the repeater and must turn the repeater OFF when illegal transmissions
are made. Also, be considerate late at night,
from around 11:00PM until 6:00AM. Repeaters have to be
and some of us who are the responsible parties do so with a scanner on
the head of our bed! If you need to use the repeater, go ahead. But if
simplex will work, try it!
(6) If you have questions, ask. There are always courteous operators
that would like to help you learn to communicate the right way!
(7) Enjoy your new hobby! But remember, don't spend too much time on
new radio, because you need to be studying for your upgrades to General
and Amateur Extra class!
(8) As you get more into the hobby, even
though you are a Technician licensee, you might consider purchasing
some type of rig that does all mode VHF communications. 2M SSB is a fun
way to work DX, and 6M DX is the "magic band", where there are stations
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 HF
bands that you will need when you get your General and Extra tickets!
here to get a less than 1.15 MB zip file of 36 handy pdf ham help files!