ARRL

Tech Portal

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 tech-portal@arrl.org.

Ham Radio Technology

  • Radio Technology Topics

    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

  • STEM Students & Educators

    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

  • Radio Science

    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

     

    High-Altitude Ballooning:
    ARHAB - organization devoted to high-altitude balloon experiments incorporating Amateur Radio
    Bill Brown, WB8ELK's website on balloon launches and related technology

     

    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
     

  • Radio Frequency Interference (RFI)

    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.

  • ARRL Areas of Activity

    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

  • How Do I Get a Ham Radio License?

    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!