Amateur Radio Technology Portal
Welcome to the ARRL's portal for Amateur Radio technology!
This page provides links to some of the technical facets of Amateur or "Ham" Radio. Hams use a lot of wireless technology that is of interest well beyond the amateur bands - antennas, feed lines, towers, receivers, transmitters, digital protocols and networks. Along with the topics of radio, you'll also find the hams-eye view of microprocessors, power supplies, audio, instrumentation, and electronics of all stripes. Hams are into the science of solar and space phenomena, geophysics, and satellites, among other things. We hope you'll find something interesting and useful to you in the world of Amateur Radio.
Who Are You?
We assume that you are visiting this page to find out about interesting and useful technology related to ham radio. You probably don't (yet) have an amateur license, although we can help fix that. You might have some hands-on experience building or repairing or connecting things. You might even be a scientist or engineer, but most of you are simply interested in what interesting technical things ham radio has to offer.
What You'll Find Here
The list of topics below presents sets of links deeper into the ARRL website and others around the world of ham radio. You'll find that ham websites and other information are organized according to how hams view the world. Go ahead and explore a bit - you will learn a lot about hams and ham radio.
What Are Hams Doing Right Now?
Why not take a look for yourself? The DXMaps website shows the contacts hams are reporting on any band and between any two locations - click the "LF-HF" tab or the "VHF & Up" tab, then "All Bands" to check out the ham radio activity!
Tell Us What Else You Are Looking For
We're starting small so that you can tell us about your interests - have a look around. Did you have something specific in mind when you opened this page? If you didn't see it or couldn't find a link to it here, let us know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ham Radio Technology
The ARRL technical staff have compiled a comprehensive set of material on Radio Technology Topics that has many applications beyond Amateur Radio. You'll find articles and resources on everything from signal propagation to electrical safety and construction techniques.
The following are some samples of interesting ham radio tech:
Amateur Digital Networking and Protocols
Automatic Packet Reporting System - the worldwide system of location and weather reporting and ham-to-ham messaging
Broadband-Hamnet - a microwave band wireless network for hams
WSJT - the package of sophisticated digital comm software written by one of Amateur Radio's Nobel Prize winners, Joe Taylor K1JT, for "moonbounce," meteor scatter, and super-low-power communications
Fldigi - the popular free software that supports numerous digital modes from Morse to PSK31 to packet-based messaging
Antennas and Electronics
ELSIE - free software for passive LC filter design
Kent Electronics - WA5VJB's collection of "cheap Yagi" designs and other antenna-related material
SDR Antennas - if you got one of those SDR "dongles", this "discone" antenna will help it hear better and will work for scanners, too
W1GHZ - Paul Wade is one of ham radio's most prolific microwave designers and writers
Software-Defined Radio (SDR)
HPSDR - an open-source SDR transceiver project for HF and VHF
ARRL SDR - the ARRL's compilation of resources on SDR topics
RTL-SDR - a compilation of software that supports SDR operating
Technical References and Web Resources
ARRL Handbook - now in it's 92nd edition (2015) - the comprehensive reference for amateurs
ARRL Antenna Book - a compendium of useful techniques and projects for anyone interested in antennas and transmission lines
K9YC Tutorials - a collection of papers, PowerPoint slide shows, and other documents by Jim Brown, K9YC, on a variety of technical topics
Radio-Reference - a huge database of spectrum users and other technical resources for scanner and SDR users
Repeater-Builders - collection of information about repeaters and technology associated with repeaters
Soldersmoke - an audio podcast by Bill Meara, MØHBR, on various electronic and ham radio topics
YouTube video channel of Randy Hall, K7AGE, on various electronic and operating topics
Click here for a compilation of technical references and links for students and educators at the college level - although you needn't be in school to find the material useful. The books and other resources can be used by any amateur or interested reader.
Are you a primary or secondary level teacher or instructor? The ARRL's Education pages can help you find ways of introducing and using Amateur Radio in the classroom
Amateur Radio Satellites:
AMSAT (the organization that guides amateur satellite construction and deployment)
Cubesats - small satellites constructed by hams and students around the world
Funcube - an active satellite for education and communication built by hams in England
Fox Project - the latest AMSAT initiative in amateur radio satellites
ARISS - the Amateur Radio - International Space Station program of student-astronaut communications
OSCAR-7 - a ham satellite launched in 1974 that recently came back to life
Solar and Space, Radio Signal Propagation, and Geophysical Phenomena:
HF Radio Propagation by NW7US
Meteor Scatter Communication - join the "ping jockeys" in bouncing signals off of meteor trails
Propagation of Radio (RF) Signals - the ARRL's web page for propagation tutorials and resources
Radio Jove - listen to storms on Jupiter!
Radio Sky - radio astronomy for scientists, students, and teachers
Spaceweather - NASA's website for everything going on "up there"
VHFDX Moonbounce - How to bounce signals off the Moon by Gabriel Sampol, EA6VQ
With so many wireless devices transmitting and receiving, the subject of interference has never been more important. Hams are concerned not only about their signals interfering with other devices but these days, it's more likely to be the other way around as digital networking gear, computers, and electronics of all sorts radiate their signals - usually unintentionally. Understanding what's happening and how to prevent interference makes your devices less likely to have their operation disrupted and less likely to cause interference themselves. The ARRL RFI web page has collected a number of resources on interference - finding it, understanding it, and controlling it.
The row of buttons at the top of this page are links to the ARRL's centers of ham activity:
- On the Air: ham radio contests and awards
- Licensing, Education, and Training: how to get a license and learn all about ham radio
- Membership: becoming an ARRL member and services for members
- Regulatory and Advocacy: the rules and regulatory environment of Amateur Radio
- Public Service: everything from disaster response to community service to training
- Technology: loads of detailed information on ham radio tech
- Get Involved: pages that help you find other hams and ham activities
- ARRL Store: the world's biggest ham radio bookstore and other stuff, too!
- About ARRL: what is the ARRL, anyway?
- News and Features: find out more about ham radio through news stories about it
The ARRL and other publishers offer lots of resources to help get you on the air. You can start with the ARRL's web page explaining what ham radio is all about - www.arrl.org/what-is-ham-radio. There are lots of links to other resources you can use.
Online communities for ham radio abound. Try the Ham Radio page on Facebook (or just look for "ham radio" in the Facebook search window - there are lots of pages) or Reddit's amateur radio thread. Yahoo! Groups, Google Groups, Meetup, Twitter (@Amateurradio is one), Instagram (#amateurradio), and other communities all have ham radio groups.
Once you know a little about ham radio, you can start asking questions and the fun really begins. A ham radio license? It's really a license to learn!