Ham Shack
International Amateur Radio symbol

Getting Started in Amateur Radio

As Wikipedia says, “An amateur radio operator is someone who uses equipment at an amateur radio station to engage in two-way personal communications with other amateur operators on radio frequencies assigned to the amateur radio service. Amateur radio operators have been granted an amateur radio license by a governmental regulatory authority after passing an examination on applicable regulations, electronics, radio theory, and radio operation. As a component of their license, amateur radio operators are assigned a call sign that they use to identify themselves during communication. There are about three million amateur radio operators worldwide.”


But if you’re on this page, you likely already know all that.

It’s Not Your Grandfather’s Radio Anymore
Keep in mind that there’s a lot more to amateur radio today than just radio. Amateur television, RF direction finding, text and file transmissions, Wi-Fi-style networking, programming, space weather, science research and much, much more.

And don’t forget the social aspects of amateur radio. It’s almost like a world-wide fraternal organization, with the conventions, club meetings, regular nets, public service events, unofficial gatherings (breakfast anyone?) and more.  To see a larger list of things you can do with your ham license, see our What Can You Do with a Ham Radio License? page.

Also, remember that learning Morse Code is no longer required. But a lot of people enjoy doing it.

We’ve compiled a lot of information in this section to help you get started in our hobby. See the links to those pages below. But also check out the entire Resources section of our web site as well as the Activities section. A lot more information is there to answer your questions.

If you have a question you don’t find answered to in these pages, send us an email at info@mdarc.org, or call us at (925) 288-1730.
  1. Description of License Classes
  2. Getting Your First License
  3. Upgrading Your License
  4. Getting on the Air
  5. Choosing Your First Radio
  6. What Can You Do with a Ham Radio License?
  7. Where Did “Ham” Come From?
  8. Band Chart (Located in our Regulations section)
  9. References