TMRA Information Booklet
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New Ham?
  How to Become a Ham!   |   Helpful Info for Newer Hams  
Website:   Home   |   Calendar   |   E-Mail List / Reflector   |   Picture Gallery / Docs   |   Newsletter  
Club Info:   Membership   |   Officers   |   History   |   Service   |   Contact Us!   |    
Events:   Hamfest   |   Field Day   |   Classes / Education   |   Swap N Shop  
Resources:   Icom D-Star   |   Yaesu Fusion   |   Links   |   Downloads   |   Net Recordings   |   On-Air Aids  
W8HHF FM Repeaters (All 103.5PL): 147.270+ | 224.140- | 442.850+ | 927.025- (131.8PL)
W8HHF Downtown FM Repeater Link TX 147.870 (250.3 PL) and RX 147.270 (103.5 PL)
W8HHF D-Star: 442.750+ | W8HHF Fusion: 146.835- | APRS Digipeater/IGate: 144.390
Live Streams: 147.270 FM

Helpful Info for Newer Hams


So you are a new ham... now what?

  • Join a club! Amateur radio clubs are the best way to learn about the hobby. They are filled with other members who can help you. Remember, if you took your test through a TMRA class, you get your first year of membership FOR FREE! For more information on membership, see the Membership page!

  • Consider joining the ARRL ARRL, formerly an acronym for the American Radio Relay League, is now known as the National Association for Amateur Radio. For more information on the ARRL, please visit their website. Benefits to joining the ARRL include:
  • Supporting the hobby. Hams aren't guaranteed access to the radio spectrum. We have to constantly fight for it. Supporting the ARRL helps with that.
  • The monthly magazine - QST. A wonderful publication always full of interesting information.
  • The amateur e-mail forwarding service. All ARRL members enjoy the use and simplicity of having an e-mail address in the form of YOURCALL@ARRL.NET. Easy to remember, and easy for other hams to find you. All e-mails sent to this address are forwarded to your existing e-mail account (you configure this - it's easy).
  • And much more! Please visit their website for more information.

  • Sign up for the TMRA E-Mail Mailing List! This e-mail list is a way for you to ask questions of other hams and see what other hams are talking about. You can sign up for the e-mail list here.

  • Meet other hams! The home page of this website has a section titled Meetings/Events/Nets (scroll down to see it). This section lists TMRA-related meetings, events, and on-air nets where you can meet other hams. Feel free to ask them questions!!!

  • Learn the lingo! To the layperson, hams tend to speak a foreign language filled with strange terms, jargon, and crazy acronyms. Study up on these terms! Also, the ARRL monthly magazine QST has a section towards the back called Ham-Speak which often contains terms used in that issue of the magazine.

  • Get on the air! The Links page contains a list of area club repeater where you can make contact with other local hams. You DO NOT need to be a member of a club to use a repeater, although all clubs appreciate membership as that is how they pay for the repeater equipment & maintenance. The Calendar has a TON of information for on-air nets, club meetings (TMRA and others), and events. click on an entry to see more information about that event.

  • Attend Field Day! What is Field Day??? Field Day is where hams go to play. The last full weekend of June is Field Day. Your local club (the TMRA included!!!) typically hosts a full weekend of amateur radio-related events at a local site. There are no two ways about it, Field Day is FUN. Hams bring out their gear and get on the air. If you can't normally find someone to talk to on the air, you WILL find someone to talk to on Field Day. Hams congregate together on Field Day at your local clubs Field Day site and get on the air. At some of the larger Field Day gatherings there will be hams on almost every single HF band, as well as six and two meters, 440Mhz, and even higher. Phone(voice)/digital/CW, it's all there. Although it's called Field Day, this event spans the entire weekend. At the core of Field Day is the ARRL Field Day Contest. This event starts at 1800 UTC time on Saturday (2PM Toledo, OH local time) and ends as 2059 UTC time on Sunday (4:59PM Toledo, OH local time). That's right, this event goes on for more than 24 hours straight. But if contesting is not your thing, there are typically other events going on simultaneously. Lots of hams will be there to talk to! If your new to the hobby, Field Day is one event not to miss!!! For more information on Field Day, check out the ARRL Field Day website!

  • Attend a hamfest! A hamfest is an event, typically put on by a club, where hams come to buy and sell amateur radio equipment. It's like an amateur radio flea market. Other types of things are typically available too... computers, electronics, etc... A hamfest is the best way to get ham gear locally at decent prices (unless you are fortunate enough to live close to a ham radio retail store!). Hams call these "toy stores". Hamfests are also a great way to get odds and ends (parts, pieces, connectors, wire, etc...). These items typically cost more at a retail store, but can be usually be found at hamfests for cheaper. The TMRA puts on a hamfest in March, typically the weekend after St. Patricks Day, for more information check out the TMRA hamfest page!

  • Attend the Dayton Hamvention! The Dayton Hamvention is the mother of all hamfests. Nearly -ALL- amateur radio equipment vendors are there. And fortunate for us here in Toledo, OH, we're not that far away! The Dayton Hamvention takes place in Dayton, OH in May. The TMRA hosts a bus trip to and from Dayton, an all-day affair, on the Saturday of the Hamvention weekend. The Dayton Hamvention starts on a Friday and ends on a Sunday. Saturday is the longest day of the Hamvention. For more information, check out the Dayton Hamvention website!

  • Set up your QRZ.com account! Also known as The Zed, many hams use QRZ.com to find information on other amateurs they have either talked to or heard on the air. It's a great way to find out the location/country of another ham. Hams can also write a little about themselves for other hams to see. QRZ.com is free and easy to use, but if you wish to add any details to your information, you must sign up for a free account.

  • Design your own QSL card! Many hams enjoy receiving, and sending, QSL cards. What's a QSL card? It's a postcard sent from one ham to another to verify that you've made an on-air contact. These cards can be used to win awards for amateur radio contests. For more information, click here.

  • Set up your eQSL.cc account! Traditionally QSL cards are sent through physical postal mail. However, many hams are turning to the Internet for instant QSL cards. eQSL.cc is a popular site for doing so and is free and easy to use. Addiontally, eQSL offers a program called Authenticity Guaranteed which allows amateurs to verify they have a license and are who they say they are. For the purpose of contesting, only hams who have gone through the Authenticity Guaranteed process can get awards using eQSL records. For more information, click here.

  • Set up your ARRL Logbook of the World (LotW) account! Similar to the above item, this is an electronic way to send QSL information. However, unlike eQSL.cc, the ARRL LotW site is set up in such a fashion that records entered into this system DO COUNT for ARRL awards... just like a postal-mailed QSL card is. The ARRL LotW is FREE, and DOES NOT REQUIRE ARRL membership to participate. Postage rates aren't getting any cheaper, and many hams around the world are turning to the ARRL LotW in order to save money. In fact, some countries are nearly impossible to get postal mail to, so the ARRL LotW helps here. There is a bit of setup involved in the ARRL LotW in order to verify you (similar to the above eQSL.cc Authenticity Guaranteed process, in fact, eQSL.cc honors ARRL LotW membership as one method of proof for Authenticity Guaranteed approval!). Additionally, there is specific software you must use to electronically "sign" ham radio contact log files. For more information, check out the ARRL Logbook of the World site!

  • Check out the digital modes! Like computers? You can do even more with amateur radio by connecting your computer to your radio and using the computer sound card to generate digital sounds to communicate with other hams. For more information, check out (although many of these links reference the digital modes as working on HF, they also work very well on UHF/VHF FM):
  • FLDigi software package web page - A great radio digital mode software package which works on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X!
  • WB8NUT's Digital Mode Page
  • RV3APM's Digital Mode Software Page (for Windows-based computers)
  • AC6B's Operating Modes Page - has information on digital modes and more.
  • KB9UKD's Digital Modes Samples Page - Has sample audio files of many many different digital modes. This is helpful to learn what different modes sound like so you can figure out which mode to operate on when listening to digital mode sounds on air.

  • Learn CW/Morse Code! Once upon a time learning CW / Morse Code was required for ham radio operators to receive an operating license. It has since been dropped from licensing requirements. However, CW is still alive and well. CW is very powerful because the signal can travel further and be heard by more when voice transmissions won't make it or are unreadable. Here is a tip: if you get frustrated by using a straight key, don't give up, try using a paddle!!!
  • Wikipedia Morse Code article
  • Learn Morse Code Online - sign up for a free account and you can gain full use of the site's functionality.

  • Learn more! This website is full of helpful information. Take a look around and you will find information on a number of subjects. Be sure to check out:
  • Picture Gallery / Docs - The software used by the TMRA Picture Gallery is also quite useful for storing and indexing helpful documentation/reference information. Scroll down and find the Reference/Documents section for a wealth of resources. Oh, and it has pictures from various TMRA events too!
  • Calendar - More ham radio related events than you can shake a stick at!
  • Links Page - More ham radio related links than you can shake a stick at! It's even half-decently organized. Kinda.
  • And so much more!

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