Ham Radio Clubs
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The easiest way to get in touch with other ham radio operators in through a ham radio club. Ham radio clubs have been around as long as ham radio. The first clubs were just groups of like-minded experimenters who collaborated to build radios when the technology was raw and success by no means assured.
Ham radio clubs are great resources for assistance and mentorship. As you get started in ham radio, you'll find that you need a lot of basic questions answered. I recommend that you start by joining a general interest ham radio club. If you can find one that emphasizes assistance to new hams so much the better. You'll find the road to enjoying ham radio a lot smoother in the company of others.
Most ham radio operators belong to at least one ham radio club. Many belong to one general interest club and two special interest clubs. Most local or regional ham radio clubs have in-person meetings. Membership is drawn largely from a single area.
Specialty ham radio clubs are focused on activities. Activities such as contesting, low-power operating, or amateur television may have a much wider membership. Individual ham radio club chapters might not hold in-person meetings. They may hold meetings only on the air.
To find local ham radio clubs, do a simple search on the Internet. The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) also has a directory of affiliated clubs on its website. Just enter your state, city, or zip code to find a list of nearby ham radio clubs. Focus on general interest clubs and look for clubs that offer help to new hams.
If more than one ham radio club is available in your area, check out the meeting times for the clubs and choose the one that's the most convenient for you. If you have special interests, see if any of the local clubs devote time to your area of interest. The best alternative may be to just attend a few meetings at each club and see which one you like best.
You'll quickly discover that the problem isn't finding clubs but rather choosing the best ham radio club for you. Unless the club has a strong personal participation aspect, such as a public service club, you can join as many as you want just to find out about particular aspects of ham radio. Most clubs have a newsletter and a website that give you a valuable window into one of ham radio's many specialties.
After you choose a general interest ham radio club, show up for meetings and make a few friends and start participating. You'll get as much out of the ham radio club as you put into it so volunteer to set up before meetings and clean up afterward. You'll make friends that may last a lifetime.
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Jim Monahan owns and operates 35 Webcast Radio offering the latest news & information on webcast radio, CB radio, two-way radio, FRS radio, digital FM radio, and more. More articles are available at http://www.35webcastradio.com/