Ver 1.1Things to do, now that you have your ham radio license...
If you want the most economical way to get on the air, purchase a hand held transceiver (HT) or Handi-Talkie. (But don’t forget their are a lot of other bands and modes to explore as well.)
If you’re so inclined, keep your eye out for a used HF radio being sold by someone you trust. If you need advice, talk to anyone on the LARC board, or on the weekly nets.
Especially if you get an HF rig going, you’ll want to get logging set up. The club uses the N3FJP software, and there are a lot of other packages out there, many of them free.
If you took our course, you’ve already joined the London Amateur Radio Club. Otherwise, think about becoming a member. Lots of benefits for not a lot of cost.
You may wish to join Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC) the national organization for ham radio in Canada, as well. Gets you the monthly TCA magazine with good info relevant to Canadians. They also offer members an email forwarding service, which I use. If you send email to VA3DAE@RAC.ca, it will be forwarded to my main email address, email@example.com
While you’re thinking of organizations, a lot of Canadians are also members of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), the American equivalent to RAC. Their monthly magazine, QST is excellent.
Get yourself some vehicle license plates with your call sign. It’s not as expensive as regular vanity plates, and it’s a bit of a tradition in ham radio.
Check in to some of the weekly nets. The Elmer net is a good place to start, because it’s aimed at new hams and helps you learn how to operate. There are other nets you can try after you feel comfortable, including international ones.
If you’re a computer person, try using your computer and radio together some digital modes, such as PSK31. There is lots of information available on the internet to get you started.
If you like to build
things, get something useful for your radio shack in the form of a kit, and work on putting
it together. Once again, lots of help is available - just ask. Some resources available
If Morse Code is something
that interests you, set aside some time, and learn it a bit at a time. The recommended
approach, and computer software, is outlined here:
If helping out with emergency communications in times of disaster appeals to you, consider joining the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES). Get in touch with Doug Elliott VA3DAE, the ARES Emergency Coordinator for the City of London.
Similarly, if you’d like to help with radio communications in support of planned community events such as the MS Bike Tour, Goblin Patrol, or the Run for Ovarian Cancer, contact Doug Elliott VA3DAE.
Still with public service, you can get free training on how to recognize the characteristics of severe weather, and take part in special CANWARN nets. This gets verified sightings by trained observers to Environment Canada quickly, so the public can be warned if necessary.
If you (or maybe your spouse) would like to track the location of your vehicle using a GPS and ham radio technology, look into “APRS”. An offshoot of this is tracking High Altitude Balloon (HAB) launches.
Explore all the repeaters in our area. Many have links to other repeaters, distant hams that monitor them, and interesting nets.
Explore even further, using the Internet Repeater Linking Protocol (IRLP) or Echolink. Your VHF radio can reach around the world, you just have to ask enough questions, or do enough googling, to figure out how.
Tag along when a group goes to a local “HamFest”. These are sometimes called flea markets, and have all sorts of gear for sale. Just looking around is educational, especially if you’re with someone who can explain what some of the things you’re looking at actually are, and do.
See what gear is needed to communicate with an amateur radio satellite, and think about what you would need to give it a try.
What is this “Software Defined Radio” stuff anyway? Do some investigation, and see if you can set up an HF receiver for less than $50.
Build something you can use in ham radio. Antennas are a good place to start, and 2 meter antennas are really straightforward, especially if you consult all the helpful information available on the internet.
Take part in a Fox Hunt. This is a local contest to find a hidden ham operator, using a directional antenna, compass, and maps. You can just ride along and observe the first time, but you’ll likely want to be an active participant after that.
(Post pandemic) Visit the club station at the 427 Wing at least once, and maybe regularly. Use the radios and antennas, maybe work on a kit, and get your questions answered by the other hams in attendance.
(Post pandemic) Come our to “Hams & Eggs”, our Saturday morning get together at the “Mary’s Place” restaurant in the Eastown mall. There are people there from 8:30 to 10:30, and there’s continuous friendly conversation, and great opportunities to learn and get your questions answered.
(Post pandemic) Come out to the club station at the Wing for Summer or Winter Field Day. Great chance to see HF in action, and to try it out, as well as a social event.