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Ham radio cheat sheet

Ham radio cheat sheet

Ham radio cheat sheet

If you’re new to ham radio, these articles contain information that new ham radio operators should keep handy while gathering experience. You’ll find these references to be just what you need while learning to navigate the radio bands and make contacts. Bookmarking the websites in your web browser will help while you’re online, too.

Technician Class Frequency Privileges in Ham Radio

When you’re getting started, remembering where you’re allowed to operate is important. As a Technician licensee, you have free access to all amateur frequencies above 50 MHz, but what about on the shortwave high-frequency (HF) bands? This chart helps you follow the rules. A band-by-band plan showing where to find different types of activity is available from the American Radio Relay League (ARRL).

Band Frequencies (In MHz) Modes You Can Use
80 meters 3.525 – 3.600 CW
40 meters 7.025 – 7.125 CW
15 meters 21.025 – 21.200 CW
10 meters 28.000 – 28.30028.300 – 28.500 CW, RTTY/data, 200 watts PEP maximum powerCW, phone, 200 watts PEP maximum power
Above 50 MHz All amateur privileges

General Class Frequency Privileges in Ham Radio

Soon, if you haven’t done so already, you’ll be thinking about upgrading. You have many more frequencies to use on the high-frequency (HF) bands, as shown in the following table. A complete chart of the U.S. frequency and mode privileges for all license classes is available from the American Radio Relay League (ARRL).

BandFrequencies (in MHz)Mode160, 60, 30 metersAll amateur privileges80 meters3.525–3.600CW, RTTY, data3.800–4.000CW, phone, image40 meters7.025–7.125CW, RTTY, data7.175–7.300CW, phone, image20 meters14.025–14.150CW, RTTY, data14.225–14.350CW, phone, image15 meters21.025–21.200CW, RTTY, data21.275–21.450CW, phone, image17, 12, 10 metersAll amateur privilegesAbove 50 MHzAll amateur privileges

Common Ham Radio Q Signals

Hams use three-letter Q signals on every mode and even in face-to-face conversation. Here are the Q signals most commonly used in day-to-day operation. Each signal can be a question or an answer, as shown in the Meaning column. A complete list of ham radio Q signals, including those used on nets and repeaters, is available from the AC6V website.

Q Signal Meaning
QRL Is the frequency busy?
The frequency is busy. Please do not interfere.
QRM Abbreviation for interference from other signals.
QRN Abbreviation for interference from natural or human-made
static.
QRO Shall I increase power?
Increase power.
QRP Shall I decrease power?
Decrease power.
QRQ Shall I send faster?
Send faster (__words per minute [wpm]).
QRS Shall I send more slowly?
Send more slowly (__wpm).
QRT Shall I stop sending or transmitting?
Stop sending or transmitting.
QRU Have you anything more for me?
I have nothing more for you.
QRV Are you ready?
I am ready.
QRX Stand by.
QRZ Who is calling me?
QSB Abbreviation for signal fading.
QSL Did you receive and understand?
Received and understood.
QSO Abbreviation for a contact.
QST General call preceding a message addressed to all
amateurs.
QSX I am listening on ___ kHz.
QSY Change to transmission on another frequency (or to ___
kHz).
QTH What is your location?
My location is ____.

Common Ham Radio Repeater Channel Spacings and Offsets

Until you become accustomed to using repeaters on all the different ham radio bands, this chart can help you remember the right offsets and channel spacings to use. Many radios have the standard options preprogrammed, but you need to be aware of what they should be.

BandOutput Frequencies of Each Group (In MHz)Offset from Output to Input Frequency6 meters51.62 – 51.9852.5 – 52.9853.5 – 53.98– 500 kHz2 meters (a mix of 20 kHz and 15 kHz channel spacing)145.2 – 145.5146.61 – 146.97147.00 – 147.39– 600 kHz– 600 kHz+ 600 kHz222 MHz or 1-1/4 meters223.85 – 224.98– 1.6 MHz440 MHz or 70 cm (local options determine whether inputs are
above or below outputs)442 – 445 (California repeaters start at 440 MHz)447 – 450+ 5 MHz– 5 MHz1296 MHz or 23 cm1282 – 12881290 – 1294– 12 MHz

10 handy ham radio websites

The most common question asked by newcomers to ham radio is “How do I…?” These ten websites are full of information that you can use as you try new things or hone your existing skills. Be sure to bookmark these pages in your home and mobile browsers.

Website Organization and Use
ARRL Many useful regulatory, educational, operating, and technical items and links
AC6V and DX Zone General-interest websites with many links on all phases of ham radio
QRZ.com Call sign lookup service and general-interest ham radio portal
eHam.net News, articles, equipment swap-and-shop, product reviews, and mailing lists
Radiowave Propagation Center Real-time information on propagation and solar data
Space Weather Prediction Center Real-time information on space weather and radio communications
TAPR Information on digital data modes and software-defined radio (SDR)
AMSAT Main site for information on amateur satellites
WA7BNM Contest Calendar Contest calendar and log due dates
YOTA (Youngsters On the Air) World-wide group for student and young adult hams, based in Europe
DXMAPS.com Collection of real-time maps showing worldwide activity on any amateur band
DX Summit Worldwide DX spotting network

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