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Ham Radio For Dummies, 3rd Edition

Book Description

Your how-to guide to become a ham

Ham radio, or amateur radio, is a way to talk with people around the world in real-time, or to send email without any sort of internet connection. It provides a way to keep in touch with friends and family, whether they are across town or across the country. It is also a very important emergency communication system. When cell phones, landlines, the internet, and other systems are down or overloaded, Amateur Radio still gets the message through. Radio amateurs, often called "hams," enjoy radio technology as a hobby, but are often called upon to provide vital service when regular communications systems fail.

Ham Radio For Dummies is your guide to everything there is to know about ham radio. Plus, this updated edition provides new and additional information on digital mode operating, as well as use of amateur radio in student science and new operating events. 


•    Set up your radio station

•    Design your ham shack

•    Provide support in emergencies and communicate with other hams

•    Study for the licensing exam and choose your call sign


If you're looking to join a college radio club or just want to learn the latest tips and tricks, this book is a helpful reference guide to beginners, or those who have been "hams" for years. 

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Introduction
    1. About This Book
    2. My Assumptions about You
    3. Icons Used in This Book
    4. Beyond the Book
    5. Where to Go from Here
  3. Part 1: Getting Started with Ham Radio
    1. Chapter 1: Getting Acquainted with Ham Radio
      1. Tuning into Ham Radio Today
      2. Roaming the World of Ham Radio
      3. Communicating with Ham Radio
      4. Participating in Citizen Science
      5. Building a Ham Radio Station
    2. Chapter 2: Getting a Handle on Ham Radio Technology
      1. Getting to Know Basic Ham Radio Gear
      2. Exploring the Fundamentals of Radio Waves
      3. Dealing with Mother Nature
    3. Chapter 3: Finding Other Hams: Your Support Group
      1. Finding and Being a Mentor
      2. Interacting in Online Communities
      3. Joining Radio Clubs
      4. Exploring ARRL
      5. Taking Part in Specialty Groups
      6. Attending Hamfests and Conventions
  4. Part 2: Wading through the Licensing Process
    1. Chapter 4: Figuring Out the Licensing System
      1. Getting Acquainted with the Amateur Service
      2. Learning about Types of Licenses
      3. Getting Licensed
      4. Receiving Your New Call Sign
    2. Chapter 5: Studying for Your License
      1. Demystifying the Exam
      2. Finding Study Resources
      3. Locating Your Mentor
    3. Chapter 6: Taking the Exam
      1. Finding an Exam Session
      2. Signing Up for a Session
      3. Getting to Exam Day
    4. Chapter 7: Obtaining Your License and Call Sign
      1. Completing Your Licensing Paperwork
      2. Finding Your Call Sign
      3. Registering with the FCC Online
      4. Picking Your Own Call Sign
      5. Maintaining Your License
  5. Part 3: Hamming It Up
    1. Chapter 8: Making Contact
      1. Listen, Listen, Listen!
      2. Receiving Signals
      3. Understanding Contacts (QSOs)
      4. Making Your Own Contacts
    2. Chapter 9: Casual Operating
      1. Operating FM — Repeaters and Simplex
      2. Digital Voice Systems
      3. Chewing the Rag
    3. Chapter 10: Public Service Operating
      1. Joining a Public Service Organization
      2. Preparing for Emergencies and Disasters
      3. Operating in Emergencies and Disasters
      4. Providing Public Service
      5. Participating in Nets
      6. Digital Message Networks
    4. Chapter 11: Operating Specialties
      1. Getting Digital
      2. DXing — Chasing Distant Stations
      3. Taking Part in Radio Contests
      4. Chasing Awards
      5. Mastering Morse Code (CW)
      6. Operating with Low Power (QRP) and Portable
      7. Operating via Satellites
      8. Seeing Things: Image Communication
  6. Part 4: Building and Operating a Station That Works
    1. Chapter 12: Getting on the Air
      1. What Is a Station?
      2. Setting Goals for Your Station
      3. Choosing a Radio
      4. Choosing an Antenna
      5. Supporting Your Antenna
      6. Choosing a Computer for the Station
      7. Remote Control Stations
      8. Buying New or Used Equipment
      9. Upgrading Your Station
    2. Chapter 13: Organizing Your Station
      1. Designing Your Ham Station
      2. Building in RF and Electrical Safety
      3. Grounding and Bonding
      4. Keeping a Log of Your Contacts
      5. Understanding QSL Cards
      6. Sending and Receiving QSLs
    3. Chapter 14: Operating Away from Home
      1. Mobile Stations
      2. Portable Operating
    4. Chapter 15: Hands-On Radio
      1. Acquiring Tools and Components
      2. Maintaining Your Station
      3. Overall Troubleshooting
      4. Troubleshooting Your Station
      5. Troubleshooting Your Home and Neighborhood
      6. Building Equipment from a Kit
      7. Building Equipment from Scratch
  7. Part 5: The Part of Tens
    1. Chapter 16: Ham Radio Jargon — Say What?
      1. Spoken Q-signals
      2. Contesting or Radiosport
      3. Antenna Varieties
      4. Feed Lines
      5. Antenna Tuners
      6. Repeater Operating
      7. Grid Squares
      8. Interference and Noise
      9. Connector Parts
      10. Solar and Geomagnetic Activity
    2. Chapter 17: Station Equipment Tips
      1. Be Flexible
      2. Study Other Stations
      3. Learn about Those Extra Functions
      4. Shop for Used-Equipment Bargains
      5. Build Something Yourself
      6. Optimize Your Signal
      7. Save Cash by Building Your Own Cables
      8. Build Step by Step
      9. Find the Weakest Link
      10. Make Yourself Comfortable
    3. Chapter 18: Technical Fundamentals
      1. Electrical Units and Symbols
      2. Ohm’s Law
      3. Power
      4. Attenuation, Loss, and Gain
      5. Bandwidth
      6. Filters
      7. Antenna Patterns
      8. Standing Wave Ratio (SWR)
      9. Battery Characteristics
      10. Satellite Tracking
    4. Chapter 19: Tips for Masters
      1. Listening to Everything
      2. Learning How It Works
      3. Following the Protocol
      4. Keeping Your Axe Sharp
      5. Practice to Make Perfect
      6. Paying Attention to Detail
      7. Knowing What You Don’t Know
      8. Maintaining Radio Discipline
      9. Make Small Improvements Continuously
      10. Help Others and Accept Help from Others
  8. Part 6: Appendixes
    1. Appendix A: Glossary
    2. Appendix B: Radio Math
      1. The Metric System
      2. Scientific Notation
      3. Decibels (dB)
      4. Miscellaneous Tutorials
      5. Handy Items
  9. About the Author
  10. Connect with Dummies
  11. Index
  12. End User License Agreement