Become a Ham

Becoming an Amateur Radio Operator

Amateur Radio operators are people from all walks of life – no matter what age, gender or physical ability. There are around 5,500 in New Zealand and about 4,000,000 around the world in almost every country. Getting started in Amateur Radio has never been easier!

With an amateur radio licence and your own transmitting station, you can talk to people around town, around the country, or around the world. You can also talk to astronauts on the Space Shuttle or aboard the International Space Station. You can become involved with communications for Civil Defence and for Search and Rescue.

Amateur Radio is a great stepping stone into a career in electronics, communications or other technologies. There are many satellite systems and digital communications systems that you can experiment with.

There are many different and exciting aspects to Amateur Radio communication that can involve people of all ages. New Zealanders as young as eight become radio amateurs and senior citizens study and succeed too! About one person in 600 of the New Zealand population is a Radio Amateur.

Amateur Radio Equipment is not difficult to obtain and setting up a radio station need
not be expensive. There is plenty of good used equipment available and it would be easily possible to get on the air with an investment of less than $500. It is equally possible to build a “Super station” costing much more!

In New Zealand the licences are issued by the Ministry of Economic Development – Radio Spectrum Management Group. They open the world to you! Your licence gives your station a unique CALLSIGN beginning with ZL. The licence is does not require a Morse Code test and gives you all the amateur radio privileges to operate in all the allocated amateur radio bands of frequencies. You can enjoy using small 2-metre hand-held radios to stay in touch with other amateurs in your area or you may operate FM voice, digital packet (computers), television, single-sideband voice and several other interesting modes to talk around the world. You can even make international radio contacts via amateur radio satellites, using relatively simple equipment.

The New Zealand Association of Amateur Radio Transmitters (N.Z.A.R.T) is a most worthwhile group to belong to. www.nzart.org It has local Club branches in most cities and towns and you will find that the members of those branches will be very helpful in answering your questions and assisting you to get “On the air”

To earn a licence, you’ll need to pass the written examination. This is a computer-generated test made up from questions taken from a public-domain question-bank. You can usually find an amateur radio class in your area sponsored by friendly volunteers who will help you to learn the ropes, or you can successfully study on your own, as many others have done. You can download all the study information you need from HamDisc

David Fraser ZL3AI has compiled the “HAMDISC” which will help you study. The examination questions are all multiple-choice. The examinations are administered by volunteer supervisors appointed from amateur radio operators in your area. Your result is given to you on the spot following the conclusion of the test. With a pass result, you can take your result notification the local office of the Ministry of Economic Development Radio Spectrum Management and apply for an Amateur Radio Licence. The licence and callsign are usually also available on the spot. Your local club members will be only to happy to help you get on the air and talk to other amateur radio operators around the world.

A free STUDY GUIDE is available here for down-load. It is written with beginners in mind. You’ll study topics such as radio operating practices, the amateur radio rules and regulations, and basic electrical theory. You can test yourself as your studies proceed.

Free examination software is available for download here: NZART Examination Questions and answers 

Where Do I Start? Contact: Laurie Winton ZL2TC (06)843 8519 or Lee Jennings ZL2AL (06)844 1226 or Peter Dingley ZL2LF in Napier at (06)844 2664 or Dave Walker ZL2DW in Hastings (06)876 5014 for further information on how you can participate in this rewarding hobby. Talk to any of them about becoming a Licensed Amateur Radio Operator.

Getting started in Amateur Radio has never been easier. Come and join us – the Amateur Radio Operators of Hawkes Bay

Amateur Radio Websites

There are thousands of great Ham Radio websites around the world and computers are widely used in radio stations. The links below will get you started into the world of DXing

Some great websites for Ham radio information and Logging Programs

AC6V – The reference site for ham radio, 700 Topics, 6000 Links and 132 pages
DX4Win – The most popular general purpose Logging program
N1MM – The best Contest Logging program
Logger 32 – Excellent Free Logging Program
Ham Radio Deluxe – Excellent Logging program
W6EL – Propagation prediction program (and it’s free!)
VE7CC –  Packet Cluster program (and it’s free!)
CQ Magazine – The CQ Magazine awards and contest website
ARRL DXCC Awards – The ARRL DXCC awards and contest website
eHam –   Great website for general Information
DX Summit –  Live DX Cluster spots from around the world

The Amateur Radio operators of Hawke’s Bay participate in all facits of the hobby. You will hear them daily on the local two metre repeater “670” on Mt.Kahurangi just south of Hastings. The 670 repeater covers all of Hawke’s Bay to south of Danniverke. The “725” repeater located on Mt. Taraponui on the Napier Taupo road gives excellent coverage north to Taupo. There is a local UHF repeater on 438.700 MHz and access to the National system is on 439.000 MHz. You will also hear them on the HF bands working DX or their mates around New Zealand.

Beacons are on 145.240 MHZ, 51.030 MHz and 433.240 MHz using the callsign ZL2MHB. A tradition in HawkesBay has been the local Corn Flakes Net (See Below) at 7.30 AM each morning.

The Club’s joint Newsletter is Breakout which is issued monthly as an eMagazine. Contact the Editor of Breakout for a complimentary copy.

The Hastings based Hawkes Bay Branch 13 club night is the 4th Wednesday each month at 7.30 pm at the Pakowhai Hall at Pakowhai, half way between Napier and Hastings. Contact: Dave Walker ZL2DW in Hastings (06)876 5014

The Napier Branch 25 club night is the 1st Wednesday of the month (except January), 7.30pm at the Club Rooms: 123 Latham Street, Napier. Contact: Laurie Winton ZL2TC (06)843 8519

All visitors are welcome at both club meetings especially those who are interested in becoming Amateur Radio Operators. Both clubs can arrange training and examinations to gain your licence. Weekend courses are run every year to help you study for your licence. The test is not difficult with a pass being 40 out of 60 questions on regulations and basic radio theory and does NOT require morse code as it once did.

The Next Radio Amateur Examination is on January 19 & 20, 2013 at Rob’s place on Brookvale Road at Pakowhai. 3 Instructors will use power point presentations and demonstrations to help you.  You will sit your examination at the end of the second day and will know immediately if you have passed and are now an Amateur radio Operator.

The “On the air” Joint Branch Meeting Net is 9.00 am Sunday mornings 3615 kHz and the “725” repeater on 147.250 MHz. Anyone is welcome to join in!

Visitors to the Bay and anyone else who wishes to join us for a friendly chat, don’t forget to check in to the local repeater on 146.700 Mhz. You will nearly always get a reply and a chat with the locals who are able to help you with most requests. We look forward to making your acquaintance.

73, Lee ZL2AL     leezl2al@gmail.com

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Copyright (c) 2012 ZL2AL All rights reserved.

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3 thoughts on “Become a Ham

  1. Hi lee,
    I am most impressed with this site and the reference material especially!
    Could it be that the Sunday morning net no longer uses 725 but can be accessed through the Clifton repeater?
    73
    Karl ZL1TJ

  2. I want to join your radio club but I am a bit shy just to turn up at your meetings. I want to get started from home with a radios, I really just want to listen to stuff going on around. I have no equipment and no experience at all, but I have always liked radios.

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