How Ham Radio Works

By: Gary Brown  | 

Getting Started With Ham Radio

Begin by listening in on the amateur radio frequency bands via a radio scanner or a short-wave receiver. Be sure any short-wave receiver you buy is capable of receiving single sideband (SSB), used for voice communications on the short-wave bands. On any scanner, you will hear local ham operators using repeaters in the frequency range of 144 to 148 MHz.

Most important: Talk to a ham! We love to talk about experiences in amateur radio and are known for being "Elmers" (teachers) for those new to amateur radio. When you hear a ham's call sign on your receiver or scanner, look up the ham's call sign to find a way to contact that ham!


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Photographs and assistance provided by the American Radio Relay League, Reed-AB4W, Bob-K4HA, and Gary-KN4AQ.