There are no secrets in ham radio, of course. However, there are aspects that are not well understood or even not known at all by many.
The secret to amateur radio, if there is one (!), is to first get an overview of all it has to offer then pick the activities that suit you.
This website is meant to help you unlock the mystery of amateur radio, while preserving its magic!
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This amateur radio Web site will help you find the basic information you need to...
Amateur radio offers so many captivating sectors of activity that even the most seasoned ham (no pun intended here ;-) never gets to experience all the fascinating possibilities!
Equipment such as ham radio antennas, transceivers, receivers get a lot of attention here, of course.
Furthermore, in recent years, software has rapidly invaded the daily activities of the amateur radio hobbyist.
Learning to program is no more difficult than learning the theory and operations of ham radio communications.
Amateur radio software has been, and is continuously being developed, to help - among other things - with rig control, antenna design, logging and digital communications.
More recently, software defined radio (SDR) is slowly making the most sophisticated radio receivers and even portions of transceivers ... increasingly obsolete!
Most of us use ham radio software. Some of us like to modify software to suit our taste or even develop applications from scratch.
What if you have never written a line of code in your life but would like to try your hand at programming to meet your specific needs? You can if you want to.
I consider Python to be the easiest to learn and the most appropriate computer programming language for amateur radio needs. Look it up and try it.
So, take the plunge! Learn to program your own amateur radio software utilities or even full fledged applications. In doing so you will increase your enjoyment of amateur radio operations considerably.
What does amateur radio have to offer
that "smart phones" cannot?
A highly rewarding challenge!
Some amateur radio operators volunteer their skills and equipment to help people in times of need.
These special ham radio operators are in small numbers scattered across your country. They devote a significant amount of their time to train for emergencies. You can rely on them to establish and maintain emergency communications when natural disasters occur, such as tornadoes, hurricanes and widespread floods.
What amateur radio operators contribute to the community and their country is one the many reasons why almost all countries grant a license to operate radio equipment to otherwise ordinary individuals like me, and you.
In exchange for the privileges that come with their license, amateur radio operators are expected to help their fellow citizens, and contribute to the development of new technology, while enjoying themselves constructively!
Above and beyond technological feats, ham radio operators continue to - silently and selflessly - make amateur radio history by providing vital emergency communications . . .
Ham radio operators are also often called upon to lend a hand with communications during major outdoor events.
Each amateur radio operator has preferences. Many concentrate their activities in one of the following categories.
Those that have the inclination and the available time ... end up doing a little bit of everything!
I've been a ham since 1973 with VE2DPE as call sign. I have seen many turning points in this great hobby.
The coming years are going to be significant for two main reasons.
Fortunately, the detrimental effects the slowly weakening sunspot cycle 24 will have on propagation over the coming years will be compensated by the much improved performance of SDRs!
Efficient antennas will become a must!
Amateur radio history was made - and is still being made - by countless unique individuals throughout the world.
It takes skill and patient determination to. . .
Acquiring that skill of being able to overcome often poor propagation conditions, not to mention man-made interference, with amateur radio equipment (sometimes modified military or commercial surplus equipment), has and will continue to motivate a certain type of individual.
What sort of individual tends to make amateur radio history?
The curious. The patient. Someone who likes to learn. The adventurous. The person who likes to go where few people can thread! Those who thrive on taking on new and difficult challenges.
That, dear reader, is what the history making ham radio enthusiast is made of.
Nuclear science is not within most people's grasp. Nor is biotechnology or astrophysics, for that matter.
On the other hand, the technology of radio communications, and digital
communications over radio, are well within the grasp of many.
Countless amateur radio operators - all over the world - have proved it for more than a century now . . . and they still do!
Why did the Internet fail to make amateur radio disappear?
Because amateur radio has always been as "high-tech" as hams wanted it to be, often way ahead of mass market technology!
Here is a "short" list of examples:
Amateur radio communications in CW mode (continuous wave), using Morse code, is the "granddaddy" of digital communications!
As far back as the 1890's, Morse code was already being used extensively for radio communication, much before it was possible to transmit voice!
Ham radio operators have been using other forms of digital communications over the air waves since the end of WWII, more than half a century ago!
When I first began receiving reviews of my ham radio Web site, such as the ones below, it was a real surprise!
Granted, I share my love for - and what I know about - amateur radio with passion. Admittedly, I aim to please as well as inform.
Let's just say that I did not expect fellow hams to write
such flattering testimonials.
I humbly accept the praise ... but I also admit to being filled with pride. ;-)
I wish to thank each individual for taking the time to write their appreciation and for allowing me to publish their testimonials here.
"What a great site! I've just started to return to my electronics hobbies, and ham was one of them. I need to get my license and I'm sure this site will help me. Thanks for a wonderful site! I enjoy reading your e-books. Good information."
"Wow, your website is a gold mine of information. Thanks for all the great information!"
"I also bought your book on kindle. Excellent read. The clarity of your writing is great."
"I think your site is an excellent informative tool for the antenna builder and amateur radio operator in general. Bravo!"
"I compliment you on your extensive and thorough website, and especially how you personally take time to assist others! Thank you!!"
"You have a wonderful resource with your website. Nice of you to put all of this together. Keep up all your good work there, very impressive."
"Claude, you have a great website with a gargantuan amount of useful information. I greatly appreciate your time and effort you have shared with us all. I look forward to digging into your site for some much needed information and education. Thanks again!"
Avid Shortwave Listener
"I'm starting all over again and your website is a wonderful wealth of information. Thank you sooo much."
"How the heck did you ever pack this much knowledge in a book so down to earth and practical? Thank you sooo much for your gift of keeping things simple and clear for us nuts and bolts kind of guys!"
KI7YGW (commenting on Amateur Radio HF Antennas Book 5)
"A lovely, informative website for a beginner like me. A pleasure to read."
"I am writing to tell you how much I enjoy your website. Like you,
I started by listening to shortwave. I built several Heathkits. It took
me much longer than you to get my ticket. Keep up the good work with
"I want to tell you that your website is excellent! I am 60 years
old, but I have only been a ham for one year. I began learning code at
twelve years of age, but did not take a test until 2012! I like your
website very much, and I'm learning a lot from it. My friends and I
visit Montreal every year for the Grand Prix du Canada. We love Quebec!
I have not yet worked HF, only VHF/UHF. I'm installing an OCF dipole
for HF soon. Thanks for your great work. I'll be reading more soon.
Robert E. Rayner Jr.
"I am quite pleased with my Linear Loading Yields Short Ham
Antenna, which I found on your informative website. I build it from 450
ohm ladderline and it works great. I build it for the 17 meter band, but
it also tunes nicely on the 15 and 20 meter band."
"Congratulations! Your ham radio web site is the FIRST one I ever
bookmarked. I have looked at ham sites for years, but they were
throwbacks to the early years of HTML, buggy with bad links. Your site
was current and flawlessly built. Great job and thanks for the days it
took to build the website. Merci, mon ami!"
Charlie L. Young Jr.
"Hello, great site!!! I've always been interested in getting my
license,(my dad was K8BRS out of Detroit area, silent key '72), and
recently I've been checking out sites to get info on home-brew gear and
licensing help; That's how I came upon your excellent site. Just wanted
to give something back, even though it's not much! Your site is a
wonderful source of useful info, kind of like a notebook with all of
this good stuff in it you don't want to forget, and refer to often.
Thank you for being out there, spreading the word; I will be visiting
often! I will let you know when I get my license!"
M.A. Glemser, Atlanta, GA.
Update January 1, 2015:
"I noticed my quote was still up on your ham radio web site. Now
you can change the signature to "Melanie, KM4GQN", although THAT may
change soon - I'm currently studying for the Extra, so I'll give up that
long 2x3 with a large CW weight for a sequential 1x2".
73 de Melanie,
"Claude: Have been a ham since 1971 (original call: DK5LH) and
never bothered much about 160 meters until about 15 years ago. Tried
out a variety of antennas in my backyard (low-hanging half-wave dipoles,
trap dipoles, adjusted 80-m dipoles), but nothing ever worked. In less
than an hour, this afternoon my sons and I installed the design you advertise
with its low feed point, a vertical/horizontal portion, and a
quarter-wave ground poise. It tuned just fine on the first effort, even
without the recommended balun. Initial RX comparisons showed a gain of 3
S-Units over previous designs with considerably less noise. Just a few
minutes ago I worked a new DXCC country on 160 meters (VP2M) before 8
PM local time on my first call. In short, a huge MERCI BEAUCOUP to you
for finally giving me the 160 meter capabilities I never had in past
"Having just entered the world of Ham Radio after a 40 year hiatus
- I felt really behind the curve. I discovered your ham radio web site
today and appreciate the work that you have put in it. Your page is
bookmarked, and is one that I will refer to often. I am interested in
the 160m dipole you built, and will be considering it for my own use. My
single HF antenna is a Carolina Windom 80 but I'd like to explore and
learn the quirks of 160m. What I did not see on your site was
information on digital modes such as PSK31. I've just interfaced my PC
with my FT-950 and am having fun exploring that technology. Keep up the
73, Phillip Hare
ByteWyze Computer Services
"I found your website via Google and knew I had struck the mother
lode. I'd like to thank you for the treasure trove of information here. I
can only hope to someday be as knowledgeable and helpful as you. I will
share your link(s) with others. Yours is a gold mine I want others to
"Your website is one of the very best I have encountered. I am a
new amateur radio operator, no equipment yet, so you can appreciate my
position. Your advice is great. Thanks for doing this."
Olgierd C. Dobrostanski "Doby"
"I don't provide feed back very often, but I have to let you know
that this is one of the more enjoyable sites I've been on in a very long
time. Thanks for putting the effort into it. I do not know of anyone
(ham or otherwise) that I would not recommend this site to. It has
something for everyone and regardless of your class of license or level
of experience, there is something there for you too!"
"I visited your ham radio web site and weblog and I want to
congratulate you. The website is very professional and has lots of very
Johan van Dijk
"Hello Claude, and greetings from Vancouver Island. Just popping
in to say " thank you " for providing one of the most informative sites I
have yet discovered. All your efforts are greatly appreciated. Cheers."
Robert "Bob" Bartlett
"I enjoyed your Web site. Very well done."
W4THU - RadioWorks.com
"What a great site! You tell it as it is, easy to understand, and to the point. Thanks so much."
"Good show on your books and website!"
Fred J. Fuhrer
Why is my ham radio web site working its magic on these hams and countless other silent ones?
I like to think that it is because of a well balanced mix of...
... all played a part in prompting fellow amateur radio operators to find my ham radio Web site worthy of praise.
I have a confession to make.
At first, I did not know how to share my knowledge of ham radio
in a well organized and effective manner.
I did not know how to build
a ham radio Web site that really works
at getting my intended audience's attention.
I learned how
with the help of a Web "presence" building process
and "infopublishing" process called
More on the many fascinating aspects of ham radio inside!
73 de VE2DPE
P.S. Have a question, a comment or request? Please do not hesitate to write here.
73 de VE2DPE
7, Rue de la Rive, Notre-Dame-des-Prairies, Québec, Canada J6E 1M9
QTH Locator: FN36gb
If you make a purchase via a link on this site, I may receive a small commission on the transaction, at no extra cost to you. Thank you!
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CQ CQ CQ
If you have a question, a comment or a topic you would like me to cover, please do not hesitate to ask here.