A lot of people will cite that they decided to get their Amateur radio license to prepare for a disaster or an emergency. I agree that this is still a big part of the hobby, but Amateur radio (HAM Radio) is a hobby and not a job.
If you are getting into the hobby just for the usage during a disaster you will likely fall out of the hobby quickly and it will not be useful in a disaster because you would not have used your radio enough to make it effective.
Before you are allowed to use and operate a HAM radio you must first take a test and get a license from the FCC (if you are in the United States).
I have tried to get licensed many times before, but was never able to follow through and go take the test. The breakthrough for me was listening to the audiobooks during my commute and finding a test session I was going to attend no matter what.
Below are a list of things that I have found useful while studying to become a HAM Radio operator and in the day-to-day usage of my license.
Android HamRadioExam - Technician HamRadioExam - General US Amateur Radio Band Plan iOS HamRadioExam - Technician HamRadioExam - General Mac/Linux CHIRP Programming Software Websites AE7Q Advanced Call Sign Search & Availability DX Maps FCC License Manager FCC Advanced License Search HF Propagation Predictions QRZ.
Below is a list I will try to keep updated with the equipment that I am currently using.
Handhelds Baofeng BF-F8HP Baofeng BF-F8HP FTDI Genuine USB Programming Cable Kenwood TH-D74a Kenwood TH-D74a Diamond SRH320A 144/220/440 MHz Tri-Band Handheld Antenna Samsung 32GB 95MB/s MicroSD Memory Card Skinomi TechSkin Screen protector Any large size that can be cut to fit Antennas I have two “larger” antennas that I often use.
After you get licensed there is a whole world of things to explore. Below I have started to make a list of things I have experimented with.
APRS APRS (Automatic Packet Reporting System) is a digital communication system that from as far as I can tell right now is mainly used for sharing your position, basic statuses and simple messages.
One of the fun things that I have found is that there is a way to send SMS messages to friends and family through a SMS gateway.
Below is a how to report on a signal.
R = READABILITY 1 – Unreadable 2 – Barely readable, occasional words distinguishable 3 – Readable with considerable difficulty 4 – Readable with practically no difficulty 5 – Perfectly readable S = SIGNAL STRENGTH 1 – Faint signals, barely perceptible 2 – Very weak signals 3 – Weak signals 4 – Fair signals 5 – Fairly good signals 6 – Good signals 7 – Moderately strong signals 8 – Strong signals 9 – Extremely strong signals