We pride ourself in investing in our members and in the community. One way we do so is providing the below list of references which we hope will be useful to you and others. This page is designed to be a central location to store links to all types of reference material. You will find a section focused on the different Digital RF technologies, sections focused on Emergency Services, sections for setting up your HAM station, and other useful information. This page contains links to a variety of documents or Internet based websites. This intent here is to give the New HAM a place to start learning, researching and understand the broad topics of HAM Radio. Some of these articles or links are older but the principles are still valid today. Any suggestions or recommendations made in these articles are the opinion of the author and not necessarily those of the Helena Amateur Radio Club, Inc. Please understand that you are the ultimate decision maker and it is always in your best interest to do your homework and ask others before making any purchasing decisions. This is only one guide on your journey...

Not a HAM yet?

  • What is HAM / amateur radio? - Here is a link to one explanation. Link
  • Importance of HAM radio - Here are a couple of articles that express the opinions of the article's author. Link 1 or Link 2
  • What can I do with my HAM radio? - Link
  • Schedule your test - There are a number of opportunities in the Memphis and North Arlamsas. Generally, anyone wanting to take a license test is welcome to participate. It is HIGHLY recommended that you contact one of the Clubs or persons listed in the attached list to pre-arrange your participation. The reason for this is that all testing is done by volunteers called a VE (Volunteer Examiner). Each VE is authorized by one of 14 VECs in the US. The ARRL is an example of the largest VEC authorized by the FCC. VEs are responsible for bringing all materials needed to conduct the test including the test booklets and official forms needed for your license application. This costs money! Since the VEs are doing this at their own expense, they usually ONLY print what is needed based on pre-arranged attendance. So please, contact a VE testing contact and find out all the information they can provide and specifically ask to be included in the testing session. Testing Locations
  • Online study guide - Ham Test Online $ There are several on-line study guides available to you. Several of our HAMs have used these tools with really good success. Just Google "Amateur Radio on-line study guide" and you will see several options, some free and some paid. Most are reasonably priced.
  • Order paperback study material - Most training scenarios including classroom training generally require a License Study Manual. The ARRL publishes three, one for each license level. You can find them at the ARRL, on Amazon and several other on-line dealers. We recommend that you stick with the ARRL study guide, especially if you are going to test with an ARRL affiliated Club. Just Google "Amateur Radio License Study Guide” and you will find a number of options including used materials. CAUTION: Just be sure you get the study guide that currently supports the license question pool from which you will be taking the test. The question pool changes every few years and all license class manuals do not change at the same time. ASK FIRST!

New HAMS - What do you need to know?

  • What should I do after I get my HAM license? - 10 things you should do! Now What?
  • Join the club - See our Membership Information page and look over our membership opportunities.
    You can also complete an Application for Membership from this link. Membership Information
  • What is an Elmer? - in a word, an Elmer is a Mentor. Watch this video explaining the role of an Elmer. Youtube Video
  • Join a Net - It is not required to be a member or the sponsoring organization to join most local nets. IT IS REQUIRED to be a Licensed Amateur Radio Operator. Some nets have a protocol or method of doing things. It is usually best to listen and learn their approach, method and cadence before checking in so that you adhere to their protocols. We invite you to join one, or several, as soon as possible. If you are a little concerned about how to get started, ask a friend. Local Nets
  • How to make your first contact (YouTube Video) - YouTube Video
  • How to Choose Radio Equipment for new HAMS - Link Or, you can also go to YouTube and search for "How to choose ham radio equipment for new hams " which will give you several opportunities to hear the opinions of amateur Operators on both HF, VHF/UHF solutions as well as some Antenna suggestions. Just beware - these are opinions!
  • Antenna recommendations for new HAMS - One of the most fun parts of this hobby is the ability to build your own antenna that can be highly effective in the right situations. For HF work, HAMs will typically start with an End-Fed antenna or a Center Fed Dipole antenna. There are far too many articles or YouTube videos to list here. Google and YouTube are your friends on this subject so put in the time and effort to learn. These wire antennas are fairly cheap, but they do require some space and height to be truly effective. For VHF/UHF, new HAMs find it easy enough to buy or build a J-Pole antenna. You can make them out or wire or copper water pipe (1/2 in or 3/4 in diameter). Again, lots of information about lengths and materials on the Internet. You can also purchase these as either kits or pre-built for less than $50.00. Remember that different types of antennas have different gains. Antenna gain makes up for losses that occur as a result of coax or connector or other reductions in signal from the radio to the antenna. J-Poles for example only have about at 2 - 2.5 db gain. While some other longer factory built vertical antennas can have up to 11 db gain. Since 3db doubles your signal, you can see that a j-pole has marginal positive impact while some of the other vertical antennas can more than triple your output. This makes a big difference to who can hear you and what you can hear. Another thing to keep in mind is the height of the antenna. For example, an antenna at 10 feet will not be heard as far as an antenna at 50 feet. This concept is most noticed when you consider Repeaters which are generally over a hundred feet in the air to up to several hundred feet above the ground (AGL). The 146.82 repeater in Memphis is 500 ft AGL and the Hernando 146.91 repeater is several hundred feet high as well.

Club and Local information

  • How to Run a Net- There is usually one-person that serves as a net's NCS (Net Control Station). Different group can have different approaches to a net with different requirements and protocols to be followed. Some are simple and others, more complex. Clubs may have a simpler approach while groups like ARES or RACES may have a more formal approach. Here is a document created by the Idaho ARES group (an ARRL affiliated organization) and is titled "Net Control Station Training Manual “. This will help you understand the structure of a net. Some nets offer NCS training classes that last about 1.5 to 2 hours. The MARL-Net (see local nets page) is one of these in this area. Most of the time is used to familiarize the trainee with the "Preamble" (the scrip used) and some training on the use of NetLogger, a free software to record the check-ins. NCS Training Manual
  • Club Constitution and By-laws- Since this site is dedicated to the Helena Amateur Radio Club, we include for your review the Club's Constitution and By-Laws for your review. This will help you understand what guides us in our on-going operations. Constitution and Bylaws
  • List of local repeaters (printable)- Add list of local repeaters here that can be printed Link


License Study Tools

  • QRZ.comQuestion Pools are available for each License Class. Visit QRZ
  • Ham Study OnlineAn on-line study and testing organization. You can buy their app from the Apple Store or Google Plan.
  • Ham Test OnlineAn on-line study and testing organization. Highly Recommended! This is the top of the line product that not only provides access to the question pool but offers explanations of the answer and helps you track your learning ability. Allows you to customize your testing to review those parts of the pool that you feel the least comfortable .

Internet Tools

  • - This is a much-used site for looking up a HAM's call sign and getting information on him/her. The site gets a feed of licensed amateur radio licenses from the FCC database so eventually every license will be available here. It does take a bit of time to get updated but usually your new license information will be available within a few weeks. You can create your own unique Biography page here and let the HAM community know something about you. Visit QRZ
  • - This link is to the site to help you better understand what APRS is. You might also want to visit the page which shows a near real-time view of how APRS looks in action. Initially, you will have to move the maps to your current location and zoom in to see the details.

Analog RF (used by HARC)

  • 2 Meter Repeater FM, C4FM - Helena - 444.875 Tone 91.5 TX/RX- Repeaters
  • 70 cMeter Repeater FM, C4FM - Lewisburg - 444.700 Tone 107.2 TX/RX Repeaters

Fusion, Wires-X (used by HARC)

  • Magnolia-Link Wires-X Room #64052 Digital - Tune to 444.875 Tone 91.5 - Repeaters
  • HARC-Room Wires-X Room #68409 Digital - Tune to 444.700 Tone 107.2 - Repeaters
  • MARL Net Wires-X Room #64620 Analog - (Note - connected Analog to 444.875 Repeater) - Repeaters see MARL

EchoLink (used by HARC)

  • EchoLink - Check out the EchoLink site for more information on EchoLink. You can operate EchoLink on a Simplex channel from your own antenna if you desire. Some EchoLink stations like the one operated by HARC is connected to our Craft Road repeater via RF. DO NOT attempt to connect any digital service to a repeater without first asking for and receiving permission by the Repeater's Trustee.
  • Craft Road EchoLink Node - The Craft Road repeater hosts an EchoLink Node #568763. This node is available for public use. You can download an app for your Android or iPhone that will eliminate the need for a radio. You can connect to this node and join our weekly net or the monthly MARL-NET from your phone while out of town or local.


V class="w5har-text-primary-1"endors

There are numerous providers of HAM Radio equipment and supplies on the Internet. Some are better than others! Return policies differ and many require a re-stocking fee. Pricing also varies. Return policies are important too so be careful to check them out. We offer these links to common on-line suppliers but the Helena Amateur Radio Club does not recommend one over the other and we do not receive any compensation for providing these links.

  • GigaParts - an on-line shopping experience from GigaParts in Huntsville, AL. GigaParts
  • Ham Radio Outlet (HRO) - one of the largest HAM radio resellers in North America. There are 11 stores across the nation. With this much inventory, it is rare to have an order delayed due to a shortage of stock. Shipping is usually free for most orders over a specific amount and turn-around time is really quick. Be aware, there can be re-stocking fees so be sure you know what you are ordering. Ham Radio Outlet
  • DX Engineering - an on-line shopping experience from the DX Engineering facilities in Talmadge, OH. DX Engineering