B.E.A.R.S. - W4TCH

Bay area Emergency Amateur Radio Service
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Information for New Ham Radio Operators

So, you are interested in HAM radio, but don't know where to get started. It's a problem that most new HAMs have to deal with, unless you have a friend who already got you started. For everyone else, on this page we have a series of links that may help you on your way to discover this amazing hobby.

I AM INTERESTED IN BECOMING A HAM RADIO OPERATOR. HOW DO I GET STARTED?

This is the million dollar question, but it won't cost you anywhere near that much. For starters you may want to visit the Guide to Amateur Radio for New Hams, which will give you a great introduction to HAM radio. The ARRL (Amateur Radio Relay Leaque, our national organization) also has a nice introduction called "Hello Radio".

Next it is time to study for your HAM radio license test. To get your study materials you can go to the ARRL online store where you can get the study materials. Read these thoroughly and take the practice tests. To get more test experience, you can take a practice test online.

Once you feel confident about your test taking, you can find a place to take your exam. Many clubs take the exams on a regular basis, to find one in your area, use the ARRL's Exam Search. The cost of the exam should only be around $15, so that definately won't break the bank.

After you have passed the exam, you need to register with the FCC and once they have approved your application and issued you your callsign, your are ready to go on the air!

SO, NOW I HAVE MY CALL SIGN HOW DO I GET ON THE AIR?

If you didn't already have one, now is the time to get a radio. The question is which one to get? You may have looked around a little and found that there is an overwhelming choice, so where to start?

I HAVE MY CALL SIGN, I HAVE A RADIO, NOW WHAT?

Welcome to the world of amateur radio! To get started you may just want to listen, to hear what's going on in the airwaves. You may discover that there are regular get-togethers, called "nets", where people "meet" on the air. Just check in (following the rules as explained by the "netcontrol operator") and join the fun. One starting point for finding local nets may be the ARRL net directory.