New Ham and Amateur Radio Resources

Last week I used this space to discuss the question of “What radio should I buy?”. This week I am going to keep it a little simpler and provide some good resources for amateurs and especially those who are just starting out.

Recently I wrote about the ARRL, what they do and why they exist. One huge benefit of the organization is their vast content library. Not only do they have tons of books, they also have great content available on their website. While some of it is only for members, other content is available to anyone.

Let’s start out with their magazines. Many of you are familiar with QST but do you know about On The Air? This is a newer publication available to members that is aimed at newer hams. While this is the target audience, much of the content is still great for everyone. If you are a member, please check it out.

While the magazine is only for members, they have a podcast and blog at that is open to anyone. Another really good link is which links to content to help answer questions like “What radio equipment should I buy first?“, “How do I build a simple antenna?“, “What can I expect when I make my first contact?” along with downloads such as a band plan chart and a grid square locator form.

If you know someone who is looking to get licensed, they also have content to help answer those questions. This page gives some good overviews with links to more information:

We recently talked about public service in amateur radio. The ARRL also has public service resources at this link: They have everything from ARES to Skywarn and NTS info. I know I have encouraged everyone to get involved in public service but I will do so again. This is one great aspect of our hobby. Please consider volunteering when EARS helps with public service events.

Don’t totally discount books either. The ARRL has a large library of books in their online store: From antennas to electronics to licensing they just about have it all. One of the mainstays for 100 editions is The ARRL Handbook for Radio Communications. This book is not cheap but it is very good.

While the ARRL does have some very good info, there are plenty of other sources as well. I am not necessarily vouching for the validity of all of these sources but they seem to have good content so I am listing them here. – This site does not appear to have been updated recently but there seems to be quite a bit of good content. Some topic include Why Hams Care About the Ionosphere, Why Hams Care About Solar Activity, Radio Brands, HT Antenna Improvement and more. – I found this page linked from the page. It is certainly not a modern-looking page but there seems to be some good content. Maybe it will help answer questions for at least one of you. – This site contains a repeater database which is handy when programming local repeaters or when programming your radio when preparing to travel. I have found that it is not 100% accurate but it is still a good resource.

Hamfests can also be a good opportunity to learn. In addition to the swap meet, most hamfests also have various sessions. Ham Holiday typically has several very good sessions. I attended multiple sessions last year and I found them informative. There are other hamfests in the area that we will try to list in this newsletter as well.

The last resource I am listing is probably the most important and that is our club (EARS). While you may not be able to get your question answered immediately on your device, you can get help from a real live human who cares about you and wants to help. We are all a member of this club because we enjoy the hobby and we want others to succeed. If you are not a member, please consider joining. When you have a question (not if but when), please reach out. We all have questions and the great part about a group like ours is that we have an excellent pool of knowledge.

The best way to contact us is to send an email to and we will do our best to help. We also have a monthly board meeting and several of us typically arrive early and stay late. We would be happy to do our best to answer any questions or provide assistance at that time as well.

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