If you were to scratch any random hacker from the last 100 years, chances are pretty good you’d find an amateur radio operator just beneath the surface. Radio is the first and foremost discipline where hacking was not only welcomed, but required. If you wanted to get on the air, you sat down with some coils of wire, a few random parts — as often as not themselves homemade — and a piece of an old breadboard, and you got to work. Build it yourself or do without, and when it broke down or you wanted to change bands or add features, that was all on you too.
Like everything else, amateur radio has changed dramatically over the decades, and rolling your own radio isn’t exactly a prerequisite for entry into the ham radio club anymore. Cheap but capable handheld radios are available for a pittance, better quality radios are well within most people’s budget, and commercially available antennas have reduced the need to dabble in that particular black art. The barrier to entry for amateur radio has never been lower; you don’t even have to learn Morse anymore! So why haven’t you gotten a license?
Whatever your reason for putting off joining the club of licensed amateur radio operators, we’re going to do our best to change your mind. And to help us do that, we’ve asked Mark Hughes (KE6WOB) and Beau Ambur (K6EAU) to swing by the Chat and share their experiences with getting on the air. Both are relatively recent licensees, and they’ll do their best to answer your questions about getting on the air for the first time, to get on your way to building that first radio.
Our Hack Chats are live community events in the Hackaday.io Hack Chat group messaging. This week we’ll be sitting down on Wednesday, June 7 at 12:00 PM Pacific time. If time zones have you tied up, we have a handy time zone converter.
Click that speech bubble to the right, and you’ll be taken directly to the Hack Chat group on Hackaday.io. You don’t have to wait until Wednesday; join whenever you want and you can see what the community is talking about.