Ham Radio Links

From Ideasplace
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Manufacturing and Making - Electrical and Electronic - Tools and Techniques - Tips and Tricks - IT Related - Stuff and Nonsense - Ham Radio Links - Other Links - Main Page

In development: These pages are very much in development and need much work - send any suggestions to us on the normal channels!

What is Amateur Radio?

Amateur (Ham) Radio is a hobby that combines interests in communications, electronics, digital technologies and other disciplines. Radio Amateurs use primarily radio based systems to talk or communicate with like minded people from all ages and walks of life across the planet.

Ham radio has a community social aspect and also can be competitive with regular competitions to DX or make long distance connections. The community also offer emergency communication to remote areas or those affected by adverse weather or disaster.

From a maker's perspective the advantage to being a licensed amateur is that it opens up legal ways to play with radio frequencies that are normally tightly controlled. From a technical hobby perspective there is a worldwide community of helpful well informed people who would be glad to share their knowledge and experience in RF, electronics and other disciplines.


In the UK Amateur licences are provided and regulated by the UK Office of Telecommunications (OFCOM) in conjunction with the Radio Society of Great Britain.

UK Band Plan (FAT)

Radio frequency spectrum is finite and its use is tightly controlled in the UK (as it is in most countries). OFCOM, the government organisation who controls how the radio spectrum is allocated and used in the UK publishes a reference document defining who can use which frequencies, under what circumstances and certain licence restrictions.

There are a number of licence free bands defined (used for example by WiFi, PMR and LowRa), however to transmit on most parts of the radio spectrum requires a licence, for which conditions need to be met to ensure the spectrum is used appropriately.

Amateur Licencing

In order to obtain an Amateur Radio Licence the operator needs to prove that they understand the basics of the hobby and the restrictions placed upon them by the license conditions. This is regulated by licensing. Amateur licences are obtained by passing an exam.

There are three exam levels of increasing complexity which allow the licensee to use higher power and additional frequency allocations.

Types of licence



Note: Although there is some correlation between UK and US license structures, licensing, training and even frequency band plans are different across the world and licenses and exams are not interchangeable. If you are training for a Radio Amateur exam, be sure to use information resources dedicated to your country's organisational body. See below to links for Radio Amateur Organisations around the world.


  • RSGB - The Radio Society of Great Britain
  • ARRL (orig. Americal Radio Relay League)


There are a large number of regional Amateur Radio clubs in the UK. The clubs tend to be quite active and good places to meet other radio enthusiasts in person, learn new skills or work on your next level exam prep. Many hold events such as competitions and meets.

The RSGB website hosts a Club Finder tool to search for a local club in your area.

Personal Sites

  • KO4BB Radio Ham and Electronics enthusiast personal site, Manuals, Microwave and a wiki.


Detailed information is available on this Wikipedia page, however over time we will build some information resources on ideasplace. Temporarily below are placeholders while the articles are being written.

CW (Carrier Wave)

Analogue Voice (AM, FM, SB)

Digital Audio



Internet based services

Amateur Frequency Bands

Operating frequencies for Amateurs are limited and spread across the spectrum, slotted in-between frequencies used by professional and government entities.

The band plan does change over time and is quite complex with many restrictions on how, by whom and where the frequencies are used.

Because there are legal implications of misuse we have opted to not list further information here, please use the links below to access the information from the authoritative RSGB website

  • The RSGB has a Band Plan page with resources detailing Amateur frequencies and their use restrictions.
  • A very well laid-out and printable band plan document is available from Radcom magazine here.

Equivalent resources are available for your location if outside the UK, please always check with the relevant authorities if you are unsure as your band plan may differ from the UK one.


Transmission equipment

Transceiver types

Tranceiver Manufacturers


More column inches have been written about the dark art of radio antennas than about any other subject related to Amateur Radio. Anything we write here will only touch on the subject but there are a few basic types of antenna that are good to get started and can be divided into two basic functions:

Omni Directional

Antennas that radiate in all (useful) directions. Note: generally they don't radiate in ALL directions and have a distribution pattern based on their shape and configuration but generally omni antennas radiate in 360 degrees.

  • A half wave dipole is the the most basic omni directional antenna that most people are familiar with or will use.
  • Ground Plane antennas use a horizontal reflector to improve their distribution pattern.
  • Slim Jim antennas are a type of folded dipole which can be made cheaply from simple materials. M8UKD has a calculator for frequency matching SlimJim and J-Pole antennas (and many others).


  • Yagi (Directional) (think TV antenna shape)

... Contributions very welcome here

Peripheral Equipment