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Episode 2019-01 - Intro to Amateur Radio

Hello and welcome to the next edition of the Mike Wills Podcast! This is the Dog Days of Podcasting edition for August 1, 2019. I am WX0MIK and my name is Mike Wills. This season, we are covering amateur (or ham) radio.


  • What is amateur radio?
    • People on walkie-talkies? Sort of
    • People on radios in their house listening to static? Sort of
    • Jodie Foster on Contact
    • Tim Allen W5KUB on Last Man Standing
    • FCC Part 97 defines it as:
      • a) Recognition and enhancement of the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary noncommercial communication service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications.
      • b) Continuation and extension of the amateur's proven ability to contribute to the advancement of the radio art.
      • c) Encouragement and improvement of the amateur service through rules which provide for advancing skills in both the communication and technical phases of the art.
      • d) Expansion of the existing reservoir within the amateur radio service of trained operators, technicians, and electronics experts.
      • e) Continuation and extension of the amateur's unique ability to enhance international goodwill.
    • In today's terms they are Makers - Amateurs have been creating radios from scratch, new types of antennas, new ways to communicate over the airwaves (like digital modes, and low bandwidth voice), new ways to put up antennas, and joining the internet and airwaves to expand their reach.
    • They provide emergency communications. They don't need any infrastructure to communicate and can usually get on the air within a very short time after a disaster. Some also listen to communications of the various groups in a disaster and make sure that everyone knows what everyone else is doing.
    • Some work with satellite communications. Making long-range connections over frequencies that can't normally travel as far. You can even talk to the ISS.
    • Some like to do contests to see how many contacts they can make within a given timeframe.
    • Some like to work with digital modes or CW (or morse code) on the airwaves
    • Some will even send video and pictures over the air.
  • What can you do with a license?
    • That depends on your license class. Techs have access to VHF and UHV and above bands. They also have some minimal access to the HF bands. General and Amateur Extra have everything the tech has plus a lot more access to the HF bands. More on this later.
    • Also everything I talked about above.
  • Do I have to do x if I am a licensed amateur?
    • No, some just like the challenge and the fun.
  • How do I get a license?
    • There are three levels, Tech, General, and Extra. You can't become a General unless you passed your Tech, and you can't become an Extra if you don't pass the General.
    • There are many ways, but here are the most common:
      • Buying the ARRL book for the license class you want and studying.
      • Taking practice tests.
      • Taking online or classroom classes.
      • YouTube Videos
    • Testing process:
      • Closed book test.
      • Show up with a pencil or pen.
      • Calculator without any programming.
      • Forms to fill out
      • Small fee
      • Take the test

Wrap Up

Thank you for listening. 73 from WX0MIK

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podcast/ddop/public/episode_201901.txt · Last modified: 2019/08/01 05:16 by mikewills