You’ve passed the exam, received your new license and call sign, and now you’re ready to get started. Don’t get overwhelmed! We’ve all been where you are, and you’ll find that other hams would love to help you. When you come to our club meetings, you’ll learn from the programs and you’ll meet all kinds of folks from beginners to very experienced. We hope the links and resources on this page will get you going.
If this is your first amateur license, or, if you have been licensed for less then six months, you are eligible for a reduced price Hand-held VHF/UHF Radio from QRZ.com and Gigaparts – goto: qrz.com/JumpStart
You are in good company as a Radio Amateur! Current nearby licensed amateurs
Current FCC License Counts per state as of June 2023:
• Maryland: 10,969
• Pennsylvania: 24,253
• Virginia: 20,722
• Washington D.C. 505
• West Virginia: 6,051
• Total USA: 761,408
Bonus Tip – use the FCC’s Advanced Database to find other radio amateurs in your area: https://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsApp/UlsSearch/searchLicense.jsp
Foundation Learning Courses from the American Radio Relay League
Getting Started on Ham Radio video series from Ham Radio Concepts:
100 Watts and a Wire
Amateur Logic TV
Amateur Radio Newsline
ARRL Audio News
QSO Today Podcast
This Week in Amateur Radio
Reddit – the ultimate rabbit hole!
Amateur Radio: https://www.reddit.com/r/amateurradio/
Ham Radio: https://www.reddit.com/r/HamRadio/
Software Defined Radio: https://www.reddit.com/r/RTLSDR/
Shortwave radio: https://www.reddit.com/r/shortwave/
Get on the Air!
Frequency Allocation Chart / .pdf
Know your coax!
$$$ Tip – Thick coax is not needed for Low, Medium, High Frequency. See Attenuation/100 ft on chart above. HF is 1.8-54MHz. RG8X and similar coax is fine for HF!
Consider the amazing Coax from:
Davis RF: https://www.davisrf.com/coax.php
POTA – Parks on the Air ! https://parksontheair.com – visit a State or National Park and activate, or, chase the park activators from home! Fine way to achieve your Worked All States award.
Discover Annual State QSO contests
Visit Local Nets:
• 147.3 NO PL MTWR 7AM QOD Net [Question of the Day]
• 147.255 PL 123.0 Daily 6:45 PM Eastern Panhandle Traffic Net Martinsburg, WV www.eptn.wordpress.net
• 146.82 PL 146.2 Shenandoah Valley Emergency Net SVEN Tuesdays 7 PM Winchester, VA https://svarc.us/our-weekly-nets/
• 147.3 NO PL Daily 7:30 PM Northern Virginia Traffic Net NVTN https://nvtn.net Blue Mount, VA
Find out more about the National Traffic System:
arrl.org/nts – and – nts2.arrl.net
HF – High Frquency Nets – General Class and above:
• Ten-Ten Net [est. 1962] https://www.ten-ten.org
• 7.255 East Coast Amateur Radio Service http://www.ecars7255.com/ [est. 1968]
• 14.300 InterCon, Martime Mobile Net, Pacific Seafarer’s Net
http://www.intercontinentalnet.org [est. 1960]
https://www.mmsn.org/ [est. 1968]
• 7.268 & 14.325 Hurricane Watch Net https://hwn.org [est. 1965]
• OMISS https://www.omiss.net/ [est. 1981]
• YL International Single Side-Band System 14.332 [est. 1963]
What’s NEXT after your license?
Once you have achieved your license, consider helping and participating with local, regional and national communications with:
Civil Air Patrol https://www.gocivilairpatrol.com
FEMA – National Incident Management System: https://training.fema.gov/nims/
National Weather Service SkyWarn https://www.weather.gov/skywarn/
Reference Books and Subscriptions
Many ham radio operators use the ARRL Handbook as a reference book. They often also use their ARRL license study manuals as information resources even after they’ve passed their exams and received their licenses. Many hams also consider the ARRL Antenna Book to be an essential part of their library.
When you join the American Radio Relay League, you not only get plugged in to the national organization that represents amateur radio, but you also get a subscription to QST Magazine. This is an excellent way to learn more about ham radio and keep up with new trends and topics. CLICK HERE to learn about different levels of ARRL membership.
ARRL is often your best source for reliable and up-to-date information about all things relating to Amateur Radio. This page on the ARRL website contains answers to lots of questions you might have as a newbie. Among the many links, you’ll also find a Ham Primer by Ward Silver N0AX. At “Get On The Air,” you’ll find lots of next steps for what to do after you’ve gotten your license.
This page is filled with links to answer questions frequently asked by those who’ve recently gotten their first amateur radio license. From “First Steps” and “Equipment” to “Making Contact” and “Where Can I Go To Learn Morse Code?”—this comprehensive resource covers all the basics…and then some.