The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual

Category: Radio
Author: H. Ward Silver
This Month Reddit 4


by kmc_v3   2019-11-17

Sounds great! I don't know what country you're in, but in the USA you can learn everything you need to know from the ARRL study book and doing some practice tests. There's no need for a course, although if that's how you learn best then go for it! Other resources:

Beginner’s guide to amateur (ham) radio for preppers

ARRL guide for beginners

HF on a budget

New ham radio operator

Also check out /r/amateurradio. Beginner questions are welcome. If IRC is your thing, they have a channel at #redditnet. Freenode's ##hamradio is also good.

by kmc_v3   2019-11-17

A lot of people start with one of the cheap Chinese radios like the Baofeng UV-5R. Get the programming cable and you can program in your local repeaters using CHIRP. Repeaters are base stations run by the local ham clubs, installed on top of mountains and tall buildings, which re-transmit your signal so it covers a much wider area. Disaster response will center around one or more repeaters, hopefully ones that have backup power. Without a repeater, the range of these handhelds is limited to a few miles (depending on terrain).

It's hard to say whether you'll need an external antenna at your apartment. If you have good line-of-sight to the repeater(s) you want to use, then the handheld and its stock "rubber ducky" antenna might be sufficient. If there are buildings or hills in the way then you might need a better antenna to compensate. There are many options such as a longer whip antenna for the handheld, a roll-up J-pole, or a yagi. None of those would require permanent installation. Antennas are a vast subject and it's hard to know what's best without experimenting.

Some more links:

Silicon Valley Emergency Communications System

Santa Clara ARES/RACES

ARRL guide for beginners

New ham radio operator

This book has everything you need to know to pass the Technician exam. has free flash cards and practice exams.

KB6NU has some No-Nonsense Study Guides including a free PDF for Technician class.

Also check out /r/amateurradio. Beginner questions are welcome. If IRC is your thing, they have a channel at #redditnet. Freenode's ##hamradio is also good.

There are a ton of other resources out there. Hams seem to like making YouTube videos in particular. Ham radio is a huge subject; explore and see what parts you find interesting. Good luck and have fun!

by tzs   2017-09-29
If you want to actually learn the relevant material, but tailored toward passing the exam, the ARRL books are very good [1] [2] [3].

The exam structure is quite conductive to just memorizing the answers [4], but it is really better if you try to have some understanding so I recommend the books.

You can take practice exams, or drill with flash cards, or review the entire question pools at or Make accounts at those sites and they will keep stats on how you do for each subsection of the test questions so you can figure out your strengths and weaknesses.

There are mobile apps for iOS and Android that provide functionality similar to and




[3] See this comment for some more on the exam structure: