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Jason Davidson - CB Radio Specialist

Jason Davidson

Over 18 years of hands-on experience with CB radios and installations.

Ham Radio Guide

Let Walcott Radio help guide you through the steps necessary to get your HAM radio operators license. We'll break down the licensing process, what HAM radio is used for, and why it matters that you get involved.

Walcott Radio HAM Radio Guide

Pick up everything you need to start your hobby at our HAM radio store in Walcott, IA

We are more than a website, we are a real store with real people that have real hands-on experience with CB and HAM radio communications, antenna systems, and functionality. We also happen to keep in stock a variety of amateur radio mounts, Alinco radios, Diamond Antenna brand HAM equipment, and more. Whether you're completely new to the hobby, or if you hold an extra class license, we've got the hardware you need.

What Is HAM Radio?

HAM radio is a fun, very rewarding hobby that uses high tech gear to make one-on-one connections between people all around the world. HAM radio operators, also often called Hams or amateur radio operators, can send and receive messages verbally or via Morse code and computer data. But don't let the morse code scare you away, as it's now completely optional for all HAM licenses.

Hams communicate with each other locally and worldwide, sometimes even bouncing their radio signals off the moon. This is a big contrast to CB radio, best-known for its use by long-haul truckers, because the average range of a CB radio is only about 5 miles. The other big benefit, other than making radio contacts around the world, is in emergency situations where HAMS get together and form ad-hoc communication systems when other traditional methods aren't available. When the power grid fails, and cell phone networks are down, in the most dire of situations, you will find HAM radio operators assisting in getting help where it's needed the most.

Who Uses HAM Radio?

In short; everyone. Young, old, male, female, and in every country in the world you will find HAM radio operators. It's important to note that all of them are, technically, amateurs in the sense that they participate in HAM radio for the love of it. If you're new to amateur radios, check out our handy HAM & CB radio guides.

Some Hams use HAM radio to make friends around the world, while others are interested in the electronics of the radio gear itself, including building their own equipment. In fact a big part of the hobby revolves around scientific experimentation with antenna design. Finding out creative ways to propagate your signal with unique antenna systems that can be designed by the individual operator. Please note that it is not legal to use HAM radio to make money, meaning you can't broadcast the selling of items.

Hams leap into action whenever there's a natural disaster or emergency, as often HAM radio is the only reliable emergency communication channel available. Even some astronauts are Hams, taking equipment into space with them to communicate back to Earth.

Most Hams join local radio clubs. Most communities in Iowa have general interest clubs for Hams to share their hobby and learn from one another, while some also host special interest clubs. Hams have a long tradition of helping newcomers to the hobby, so your local radio club is one of the best ways to get started as a Ham.

HAM Radio Certification

You have to be licensed and certified to transmit as a Ham, but you don't need a license to listen in on other Hams' transmissions. In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) supervises HAM radio licensing.

To get a basic Technician license, the beginning level of licensing, you need to pass a 35-question test. Getting your Technician license opens up specific radio bandwidths for your use, and you also get your unique callsign that identifies which country you're from. As a long-time HAM radio store, Walcott Radio has all the books and study guides you need to prepare for the test.

As you move forward with your HAM radio hobby, you can upgrade to General and Extra licenses, each of which requires a new test. With each new level, you gain access to more and more frequencies for connecting with other HAM operators all over the world.

Learning HAM Radio

The American Radio Relay League (ARRL), which is the national association for amateur radio enthusiasts, offers several training books to help prepare you for your HAM license. Ask any of our store associates about classes, HAM radio equipment and accessories, regulations, and communications techniques you'll need to enjoy this exciting hobby.

As a top HAM radio system and replacement equipment store, Walcott Radio can meet pretty much every need. All our friendly store associates are well-versed in both HAM and CB radios to guide you through your purchase or technical issue. Reach out for live support during 9-5 CST business hours at 1-844-925-2688. Remember: "stay plugged in and keep on truckin."

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