Welcome to Amateur Radio
Downloadable PDF link
First and foremost join a local club. They may seem like a bunch of old geezers. There is a wealth of knowledge, and training, if only you take the time to listen and ask questions. They won’t bite.
Looking for a new, or new to you, radio.
Used radios can be purchased from the usual sources
What should I purchase for my first radio?
Whom do you wish to communicate with?
Will you be operating predominantly fixed, mobile or portable?
Do you want known quality?
Easily programmable in a field environment
These manufacturers set our industry standards (Alinco, Icom, Kenwood, Yaesu)
If you are like me, my first radio was a Handie Talkie (Handheld or HT). I figured I could operate in the car, in the yard or in the house with just one radio. I quickly learned that the small amount of RF produced by the radio AND the small antenna radiating was severely limiting (< 10 miles).
I own a dual band (VHF & UHF) mobile (> 50 watts) radio for my house and car and a gain antenna for operating most repeaters within 25 miles. I still own a couple of HT’s for portable operation.
For communications over-the-horizon (> 50 miles) I own an HF (3 - 30 MHz) radio. With this radio I am able to communicate with almost anyone in the U.S. limited only by current band conditions (another subject for another time).
What local repeaters are accessible to my radio? I utilize Repeater Book for almost all of my searches for both local, on the road, and visiting friends and family. For local (< 10 miles) on an HT I may have access to a few repeaters. When I’m operating from my mobile or in the house my area of operation increases significantly (> 25 miles).
Now after having said all that and you’ve gone out and purchased a HT or Mobile radio. Follow the link on how to program the radio.
Like I stated in the beginning, find a club. Secondly join ARRL. They:
Are our liaison with the Federal Communications Commision
Sponsor conventions and on-the-air events
Provide a monthly magazine with all the latest and greatest radios and gadgets
Training materials and webinars
I could devote a whole page to the describing the value they add to amateur radio
Should I join ARRL? Yes