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).
||Frequencies (In MHz)
||Modes You Can Use
||3.525 – 3.600
||7.025 – 7.125
||21.025 – 21.200
||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.
||Is the frequency busy?
The frequency is busy. Please do not interfere.
||Abbreviation for interference from other signals.
||Abbreviation for interference from natural or human-made
||Shall I increase power?
||Shall I decrease power?
||Shall I send faster?
Send faster (__words per minute [wpm]).
||Shall I send more slowly?
Send more slowly (__wpm).
||Shall I stop sending or transmitting?
Stop sending or transmitting.
||Have you anything more for me?
I have nothing more for you.
||Are you ready?
I am ready.
||Who is calling me?
||Abbreviation for signal fading.
||Did you receive and understand?
Received and understood.
||Abbreviation for a contact.
||General call preceding a message addressed to all
||I am listening on ___ kHz.
||Change to transmission on another frequency (or to ___
||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.
||Organization and Use
||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
||Call sign lookup service and general-interest ham radio portal
||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
||Information on digital data modes and software-defined radio (SDR)
||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
||Collection of real-time maps showing worldwide activity on any amateur band
||Worldwide DX spotting network