Have you been curious about getting your ham radio license? Not sure where to start? Don’t have a lot of experience with electronics and radio but want to learn? The best first step is to go out and get yourself a copy of the ARRL Ham Radio License Manual. The current revision was published in 2010 and will be revised next in 2014. You do not have to be an electrical engineer to be a ham radio operator, nor do you have to have any prior electronics experience (but it would likely help).
Topics covered include the history of wireless communications, the basics of electricity and electronics, radio waves and propagation, frequencies, bands, band plans, antennas, radio components and functions, operating rules and regulations and etiquette, and most importantly, safety. Everything you need is in the manual, and this particular book is dense with information by my personal standards. The book also contains practice questions that are cited when that topic comes up in the text.
While some aspiring radio operators may only need this book to get their ticket punched, I also want to encourage you to attend any classes being held by experienced operators at your local radio club. Amateur radio is about making contact and communicating with other amateurs, and attending a training session is an excellent way to get out there and pick up some new things from someone that’s been there and done that already. You might even find yourself an Elmer (an amateur radio mentor) to help you navigate the examination and ticketing process.
Before I wrap this post up, I want to remind the reader that you must have atleast a technician class or higher license to transmit on amateur radio bands. Your license class determines the privileges you have as an operator, what modes on which bands you are allowed to transmit on, but you do not require a license to receive signals. Ham radio is a self regulated community which means that you are being tested by other amateurs instead of by a government agency, but respecting the rules of operation is what allows the amateur radio community to have this privilege.
Good luck and good night. This is KK4TSJ, 73 and clear.