Ham radio is a hobby that is resource intensive. This hobby can be technical and in anything technical there usually are a lot of manuals full of “how to” instructions, specification charts, diagrams of circuits and controls, etc.. In recent decades the emergence of computers and the internet have provided quick cheap access to an enormous amount of resources that may not have been considered. Here are some thoughts on resources you may want to explore!
I discovered internet user groups some time ago and they have provided a wonderful stream of spot-on information and new relationships that I have continued to value over time. To find user groups relevant to your ham radio pursuits turn to search engines and social networks. I use Google, Yahoo!, LinkedIn and Facebook as well as Twitter to access such information. Here are a few ways to find these wonderful resources:
- Search for “Google groups” in your favorite search engine. Once there do a search on your specific topic. I did one for my specific models of radios. Do the same after you search for “yahoo groups” and other favorite search engines + the word “groups”. Most groups will require that you request permission to join. This permission can be obtained fairly quickly (hours to days usually) depending on who the moderator is and how much time per day they devote to moderating the group. Including a message about yourself and why you are interested in the group usually helps ensure you getting approved.
- Do a search for the term “ham radio forum” without the quotes. This will return a wide range of forums related to ham radio in general. You can also try more specific search terms such as your general or specific equipment. For example – “hf radio forum” for “FT-857 forum”.
- Search for ham radio related groups that may be of interest to you. Start with the generic “ham radio group”. Enhance this search with specifics like “hf group” or “emergency communications group”, etc..
- I find resources offered on vendor websites to be quite valuable. For example, the ability to access PDF versions of manuals to find very specific information is quite nice. For example, if you have a Kenwood ham radio then try www.Kenwood.com and if that doesn’t work search Google or your favorite search engine for “Kenwood ham radio” until you find the correct site. Once there search through the menus or use the site’s search box for “manual”, etc..
- Search for “ham radio club” + city without the quotes and exchanging the word “city” for your specific city or general city area. Ham radio club sites in your area probably offer a lot of good information about local repeaters, local hams that can answer questions, etc..
This is a good start to use of the internet to find ham radio resources. I am sure that, with time and practice, you can find more. The more you use them the more you will find. Good luck!