Ham Radio Is...

Whatever part of ham radio you're into, you'll find other hams who love it too. Across town or around the world, the ham radio community is filled with great people who share, mentor, and teach. Lifelong relationships begin on the air.

Before makers, hackers, and DIY, there was ham radio. We've been at the forefront of innovation and technology for over a century. Grab a soldering iron and make a transmitter with a Raspberry Pi, or connect a radio to your tablet or smartphone. Build it, code it, then use it.

When the stakes are high, skilled ham radio operators step up and answer the call. During hurricanes, severe thunderstorms, or even a 911 call center outage, ham radio gets information out when regular telecommunications systems fail.

Here there from anywhere.

With a backpack radio and a solar panel, you can take ham radio with you on any adventure: off-roading, hiking, camping, you name it. Even without cell phones or the internet, you can stay in touch.

Talk to an astronaut on the International Space Station. Bounce a signal off the moon, the northern lights, or the trail of a meteor. Send data through satellites. If a radio wave is what you crave, ham radio gets you to space and back at the speed of light.

There are lots of ways to play the ham radio game: make contact with all 50 states, or talk to every country in the world; put a radio in your car and be the station others are hunting for; see how many stations you can talk to in a single weekend. The challenge is yours. Game on.

Ham Radio Operators are...

Senator Barry Goldwater was K7UGA,  Juan Carlos, King of Spain is EA0JC, the late King Hussein of Jordan was JY1. Country music entertainers Chet Atkins, Patty Loveless and Ronny Milsap are or were hams. Other famous hams include Priscilla Presley, Walter Cronkite and astronauts or cosmonauts too numerous to name.

You don't have to be famous to be a ham, but you might talk to one some day on the air.

How Do I Become a Ham?

Ham radio operators are required to pass one or more written tests before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issues your license. These tests are given by other licensed hams in your area. In the Jackson / Banks / Clarke county area, you can take a test every other month in Athens. see http://www.ne4ga.org/license-exams.

You are more than welcome to attend your local club's meetings where you can meet hams in your area and get answers to all your questions.

There are three license classes and three tests. The first class is called Technician followed by General and finally Extra. You must start with the Technician class test and you may choose to upgrade to General, then Extra. Each class gives you progressively more operating privileges and each test is progressively harder.

The Technician license exam is a 35 question multiple choice test drawn from a question pool of 426 questions. The question pool is readily available for download from the internet or you may choose to purchase a book with all the questions and explanation of answers. After you study for the test and start to feel confident, you can take practice tests online at https://hamexam.org/ or download an Android app called Ham Test Prep.

What now?

Get involved with the local ham community. As a new ham, you will have tons of questions and the more experienced hams will be more than willing to help you with your new hobby. We hold weekly nets on our 2 meter repeater that will give you experience on the air. Don't be shy, we've all been in your shoes.