Ham Radio News!
Ham Radio Videos!
HF & Shortwave
RFI Tips and
Support The Site
Vhf and Up
GOOD OPERATING AND DX
HAM RADIO OPERATORS NEW
Good reading for us old timers
in Ham Radio too!
Getting on the HF bands for the first time is one of the
most exciting times for anyone that holds an Amateur Radio Operator
license, especially for the ham operators who are brand new to HF or will
soon be getting on HF with the new "HF" privileges using voice on 10
meters and CW privileges on 80, 40, 15, and 10 meters.
This article is especially
written and tailored for the new operators using their newly earned
privileges authorized by the FCC on February 23, 2007 on 10 meter
and newly upgrading General class hams.
Exciting Times Ahead and What to
For me, earning the privilege of HF operating
was......well beyond words to describe!
But here are two or three that
will help you!
Normal and DX Operating on HF is very different from
the 2 meter, 6 meter, 440 and bands higher.
You won't be using
repeaters on HF like on 2 meters and the other bands you are accustomed to
if you are a Technician class ham. General class hams
have this privilege on the upper end of 10 meters! You will
strictly be in direct contact with the station on the other end, much like
simplex on 2 meters. Your contact may be on the other side of the town you
live in or on the other side of the world or in between using HF
Depending on the time of day, propagation, the band
you have selected, the mode you're using, and many other variables,
your contacts may be "loud and clear" or almost down in the noise.
will have to accept major interference from Mother Nature's lightning
crashes, solar storms, power line and other man made device noise and
sometimes just too many stations on or near your frequency.
ham bands can be very CROWDED especially during contests and DX'ing!
Let's face it, worldwide, there are several million Amateur Radio
Operators using the same bands and modes and most probably, the same
frequencies although they may not hear all of the other stations on the
frequency. This is just the nature of propagation, antennas, differences
in power levels and other variables.
HF ham radio operating can be
a challenging adventure at times when all of those variables are working
against you so don't expect crystal clear FM quality as if your operating
on a repeater on the 2 meter ham band all of the time. It's kind of
like going fishing, sometimes you have a great catch with strong signals,
and other times, not a nibble!
Don't give up, you will make
Suggestions and widely used procedures for the "Newbie" on
If you're new to Ham radio, you need to know that ham
bands have "Official Observers"
listening on all bands!
ham radio operators just like you and I.
be communicating with one and never know it.
responsibility is to observe infractions of the Part 97 rules and
regulations and to inform you of these infractions and if you continue,
report them to the proper authority, the FCC.
Don't give them a chance
to complete their responsibilities!
They really don't want to.....but
they will and do all the
Probably the most important thing you need to
remember when transmitting is:
Transmit your call sign
FCC Rules and Regulations Part 97
(a) Each amateur station, except a space station or
station, must transmit its assigned call sign on its
channel at the end of each communication, and at least
every 10 minutes
during a communication, for the purpose of clearly
making the source of
the transmissions from the station known to those
transmissions. No station may transmit unidentified
signals, or transmit as the station call sign, any
call sign not
authorized to the station. (SOURCE PART
DON'T GIVE YOUR CALL SIGN AND THEN SAY, "FOR
YOUR CALL SIGN IS
OTHER HAMS KNOW THIS AND YOU DO NOT NEED TO DEFINE
WHAT YOUR CALL SIGN WAS FOR!
1. LISTEN, LISTEN,
Hey...wait a minute...I thought ham radio was about
It is....but you will be surprised at how much you can learn
about operating and ham radio by just listening around the ham bands! You
always listen first to make certain the frequency is not busy before you
If you're bored with that video game, the internet or
get on any active ham band and tune around until you hear an
interesting conversation. Listen to the conversation and try to pick out
ham terms, topics or phrases you don't know the meaning of......then,
if your privileges, (and your station equipment), allow you to transmit on
that band and frequency....wait for a pause between their transmissions
and throw in your callsign.....most operators will acknowledge you and
welcome you into the conversation....ask them to help you understand what
they were talking about or point you in the right direction to learn more.
Don't be bashful, tell them you are new to HF and would certainly
appreciate their help!
Most will welcome
2. Be Patient
Making a contact to get any
station to call you on HF usually requires that you use the term "CQ"
repeated at least 3 times in a row along with your call sign on the end
and waiting for a reply...if none...repeat it over again....then try the
third time and hope for an answer to your call.
If still none, don't
If you have called CQ a multitude of times and
still get no answer, try to figure out why....is it our old friend/enemy
propagation, your equipment, your antenna type or setup? Do you have power
out to the antenna? How do you know? Do you show output on the power
meter. How is the
Check your complete station setup including
all controls, functions, cables, etc....is your antenna still up! Contact
a local ham on the phone or via email and set up a time and frequency to
check out your station on the air.
If your trying to make a contact,
any contact, on 10 meters or any other hf band for that matter and
can't, then chances are that propagation is against you.
3. Using phonetics on
the major causes for voice communication errors is the misunderstanding of
the spoken word on HF especially when operating under noisy conditions.
Using the SSB mode under the assumption that it is a high fidelity mode
like FM will surely disappoint you.There are many "accents" to the human
voice and being in the sideband mode causes some words at times to be very
unclear if the sending station is having technical problems with his
microphone or audio circuits in his transceiver or you are operating under
high noise levels.
If the other station's audio is extremely
distorted, tell him so. He may have his mic gain cranked wide open,
compressor full blast or a combination of both causing the background
noise in his shack to be as loud as his voice!
Or his mic
may be causing the problem and he may not know it.
Again, let him know
that you think he has a problem with his audio.
Ask him to talk "across" his mic with it held close to his mouth rather than directly into
it. You will be surprised at how much clearer his voice may sound,
and yours, to others using this
microphones that come with transceivers are designed for "close talking"
and not held a foot away! Always try to use the "close talking" and
"across" when using voice modes.
Even under the best of conditions,
SSB communications can sometimes be hard to understand and if you have a
hearing problem, even more so,
Definition: Phonetics - The study of speech
The Phonetic Alphabet is used to spell out letters
in place of just saying the letter itself. By using a word for each letter
there is less chance that the person listening will confuse letters. For
instance, some letters that can easily be confused are "D" and "B". Using
the phonetic alphabet, "Delta" and "Bravo" can be easily
understood. The phonetic alphabet is used primarily in two-way radio
communications. The effects of noise, weak signals, distorted audio, and
radio operator accent are reduced through use of the phonetic alphabet.
This system of pronouncing letters is used around the world by
maritime units, aircraft, amateur radio operators and the
military. This alphabet is recognized by the International Civil Aviation
Organization, Federal Aviation Administration, International
Telecommunication Union and NATO as the standard for aircraft
communications and radio communications.
Many words with certain letters in them or
the beginning of them sound much alike when spoken in the presence of
noise, and there is plenty of it on HF.
thunder - sounds
like under, lightning - sounds like heightening, many - sounds
like any, rig - sounds like re, Yaesu - may sound like
hayzou, seven like heaven or eleven, eight like hate or ate and on
Using phonetics can help tremendously in the understanding of
the more difficult sounding words, numbers, etc.
It would be hard not
to understand my call sign, N4UJW, using phonetics like.....
Uniform Juliet Whiskey!
Here is the Phonetic alphabet and numbers
as used in Ham
||Alpha (AL fah)
||November (no VEM ber)
||Bravo (BRAH VOH)
||Oscar (OSS cah)
||Charlie (CHAR lee)
||Papa (pah PAH)
||Delta (DELL tah)
||Quebec (keh BECK)
||Echo (ECK oh)
||Romeo (ROW me oh)
||Foxtrot (FOKS trot)
||Sierra (see AIR rah)
||Tango (TANG go)
||Hotel (hoh TELL)
||Uniform (YOU nee form)
||India (IN dee ah)
||Victor (VIK tah)
||Juliet (JEW lee ETT)
||Whiskey (WISS key)
||Kilo (KEY loh)
||X Ray (ECKS RAY)
||Lima (LEE mah)
||Yankee (YANG key)
||Zulu (ZOO loo)
syllables printed in capital letters are to be stressed as in the letter "A" , Alpha (AL
Call signs are routinely spelled using phonetics so
there is no misunderstanding.
For instance, the call sign X9XX
would be pronounced,
X RAY NINE
er X RAY X
Memorize the table above....you will use it
If you have difficulty memorizing, then just use a very similar
phonetic in it's place....
but please try to
memorize the standard phonetics above!
They are used by most hams
worldwide. Please refrain from making up your own,
this gets very
confusing with thousands of different phonetics on the
4. The RST
(Learn how to give a signal report)
5.Prosigns, Q Signals and CW
6. Good Operating Practices and Procedures on Ham
An Article by Tim, AJ4D
(A MUST READ FOR ALL CLASSES OF
7. FCC Rules Part 97 Know them. This is
required by all hams in the
AMATEUR'S CODE (Creed)"
Common Sense Rules for
All of Us Worldwide!
The "Amateur's Code" has worked for almost
100 years and works well when used by every ham!
The Radio Amateur is:
CONSIDERATE...never knowingly operates in such a
way as to lessen the pleasure of others.
encouragement and support to other amateurs, local clubs, and the American
Radio Relay League, through which Amateur Radio in the United States is
represented nationally and internationally.
abreast of science, a well-built and efficient station and operation above
FRIENDLY...slow and patient operating when
requested; friendly advice and counsel to the beginner; kindly assistance,
cooperation and consideration for the interests of others. These are the
hallmarks of the amateur spirit.
BALANCED...radio is an avocation, never
interfering with duties owed to family, job, school or community.
PATRIOTIC...station and skill always ready for
service to country and community.
The original Amateur's Code
above was written by
Paul M. Segal, W9EEA, in 1928 and has had
minor word changes since then,
but the meaning remains the
DX CODE OF CONDUCT FOR
HAM RADIO OPERATORS
Used courtesy of DX-Code.org
It is no secret that the
on-the-air behavior of hams, especially in pileups, has gotten worse in
the last few years. Unpleasant, uncivil, impolite behavior of our fellow
hams reduces the enjoyment of our hobby.
It does not have to be
that way nor should it be. Impolite behavior is counter-productive and
simply inconsistent with the aim of our hobby, to have
Just as we work
to improve our technical skills, we should all aspire to hold ourselves to
the highest ethical operating standards.
This DX Code of Conduct is a reminder of the high
ideals of which we are all capable.
Use, and publicize this
Please feel free to
copy and distribute with or without the explanations!
DX Code of
explanations for a better understanding by
1. I will listen, and
listen, and then listen some more.
Try to refrain from transmitting when you hear
another station. Your voice may be among thousands heard at the
same time by the DX station. Wait for a pause when you believe the
frequency is clear and then
will only call if I can copy the DX station
Did you copy his call as,
XE5JU or was is XE5KU? If you did not hear him clearly, then
saying the wrong call sign may not get you the contact without
taking up lots of time from others who did copy his call
3. I will not trust the cluster and
will be sure of the DX station's call sign before calling.
Many DX clusters have wrong or
outdated information.... depend only on what you hear from the DX
station on the air!
will not interfere with the DX station nor anyone calling him and
will never tune up on the DX frequency or in the QSX slot.
This could be considered as
intentional and malicious interference. If you must tuneup on the
air, find a quite frequency nearby....remember, listen, listen,
listen before you transmit! Make sure you ID!
used on the DX Packet Clusters to indicate where the DX station
was listening or contacted during a split
will wait for the DX station to end a contact before I call him.
Again, listen, listen and wait for
him to receive more calls. He will let everyone know he is "ready"
for contacts. Most DX stations simply say....."QRZ" when they
will always send my full call sign.
Does this need an explanation? The DX operator may
call for stations by their prefix or suffix, but make sure you
identify legally with your full call when it comes
will call and then listen for a reasonable interval. I will not
The DX operator
may be very busy recording log entries and attempting to pull out
single calls from hundreds of stations calling him, so
give him plenty of time to respond to your call sent only once. Of
course you can keep trying, but give others a chance also. Use
will not transmit when the DX operator calls another call sign,
You may be interfering with
the transmissions which is illegal! Don't take that chance! Don't
intentionally "double" with any
will not transmit when the DX operator queries a call sign not
He, the DX
station, was unsure of the exact call he heard but only part
of it. So if your call or part of it is not like what he is
looking for, don't
will not transmit when the DX station calls other geographic
areas other than mine.
The DX station is looking only for other
countries, not yours. Don't add to the confusion by transmitting!
If he wants your country contacts he will say
When the DX operator calls me, I will not repeat my call sign
unless I think he has copied it incorrectly.
This is a time saving measure for both him, you and
the other stations that want to contact him.
I will be thankful if and when I do make a contact.
You should be not only thankful, but
proud of your DX techniques and your station performance when
making contacts outside your countries
will respect my fellow hams and conduct myself so as to earn their
Follow all of the above in
the DX Code of Conduct, use good common courtesy and you will have
made the experience much better for all concerned.
When you follow these helpful suggestions, procedures and
tips above, your enjoyment and the enjoyment of other Amateur radio
operators worldwide will certainly be enhanced and you will be known
as a good operator and not a "LID".
Enjoy your ham bands and
WELCOME TO HF!
Hamuniverse.com uses Green Geeks Web