Step by step instructions for setting up your own amateur radio station, by Steve Heller, WAØCPP

  1. Go to your nearest Radio Shack, and purchase a copy of a book called "Now You're Talking". This book contains all of the information needed to qualify for a "Technician" license. This license will authorize you to operate an amateur radio station that will be perfectly suitable for local communications (within a few miles and possibly up to 40 or 50 miles away).
  2. Join your local amateur radio club. The members of the club will be very helpful in getting you started, and will know all about how amateur radio communications are carried on in your area.
  3. Once you have absorbed all the information in the "Now You're Talking" book, click here to take sample tests that are composed of questions taken from the same pools of questions that will be used for the actual tests that you'll need to pass in order to get your license. Keep practicing with the sample tests until you get high scores on them.
  4. Once you are getting high scores on the sample tests, click here to find out where you can take the actual tests in your vicinity.
  5. Once you have passed the tests and received your license, you'll need a radio. One or another of the major sources of amateur radio equipment almost always have some kind of sale on "hand-held" radios that can be powered by some number of AAA, AA, C, or D Nicad batteries. Three that I have dealt with are, Ham Radio Outlet, and Amateur Electronic Supply.

    Once you have completed all these steps, you'll be ready for local communications without a telephone network.

    But what about talking (or communicating, more generally), with those who aren't right nearby? I strongly recommend that you bite the bullet and learn Morse code, so that you can upgrade your license and get access to the (relatively) reliable long-range frequencies. Here are the instructions on how to do that.

    If you have any questions about amateur radio, you can email me.
    My amateur radio FAQ page
    Return to my main page