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On the Air Advice

On the Air Advice

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What Should I Do Now That I Have My License?

Build Connections

"Personal contact is the key to getting started in ham radio after you’ve gotten your license. Find a club in your area. The first people that someone who has just gotten their license should turn to is the Volunteer Examiner Coordinators who administer the license exams. They often are affiliated with clubs and can point a new ham to one that will help them. ARRL’s online search tool lists more than 2,000 clubs across the country, and this too is an excellent resource. If a club runs classes that prepare people to take the license test, that means it is welcoming to newcomers and will help them once they have their license."

Robert Naumann, W5OV, on the air 48 years.

Keep Learning

"As a new licensee, it's important to keep learning, so you can find the parts of the ham radio hobby that appeal to you the most.

Find an experienced ham who lives near you (arrl.org/find-a-club and qrz.com) can aid your search), and ask if you can hang out with them while they operate. Be prepared to do a lot of watching and listening, and - most importantly - ask questions when you need to. A lot of experienced hams don't realize how much ham jargon they use when they try to teach new hams, so keep asking for clarification. Bring a notebook, so you can write down what your're learning. Write out a script of what to say on the air in order to make a basic contact. Having a script in front of you helps dispel mic fright!

Go to www.youtube.com and do a search on 'ham radio activation.' You'll get a sizable list of videos (many of them specifically geared to newcomers) that show hams taking part in a variety of on-air activities, so you can get an idea of which ones might appeal to you."

Becky Schoenfeld, W1BXY, on the air 9 years.

Get on the Air

"Pick up your radio, turn it on and get on the air. If you're mic-shy, listen to get a feel for how conversations go. Don’t limit yourself, don’t get into the mindset of ‘I am just a technician,' and don’t chain yourself to the 2-meter band.

If you’re shy about getting on the air look at the digital route, there are more than enough options there to get on the air. For a starting ham who is hesitant about picking up a mic digital is a great way of getting your feet wet.

Using a repeater is something that at least should be considered but look for a mentor who can help with that."

Joe Carcia, NJ1Q, on the air 42 years.

Got a Question?

 Just got your license and have a question you would like us to answer about getting on the air and active in ham radio? Send it to marketing@arrl.org.