HAM Radio Basics- HAM 101

HAM Radio Basics- HAM 101

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Lot’s of you stand on the fringes, intimidated by HAM, or amateur, radio. While there IS much to learn, this video is the start of a series that will answer all of your questions and get YOU licensed and on the air. Stay tuned, as we will go through all the examples and MORE in this series.

Links mentioned in this video-
The Baofeng UV-5R ( and a $15 license is all it takes to get started. Check out our article on how to get your HAM radio license in 7 days-
This ARRL HAM Radio License Manual is also a good resource-

A solar backup is a great way to ensure you always have communications, check out our solar series on how to do this here-

Mobile Radios are a great way to communicate locally (mounted in a fixed location). In the video, I talked about Cross-Band Repeat using the Kenwood TM-V71A ( and showed you the Comet GP-3 antenna ( For fixed locations, you will also need a power supply (

HF Communications lets you talk to the world. In this video you saw the Icom IC-7200..well, this video is a few years old now, so the Icom IC-7300 has taken its place:
You will also need an antenna tuner ( power supply ( and an antenna (

If you just want to get on the air with little hassle, they’ve begun offering packages like this one with the Icom-718 with power supply, antenna, headset, foot switch, and cabling:

why do we need ham or amateur radio it's a question that I know many of you ponder and the answer is quite simple ham radio allows for local and planet-wide communications when all other forms of communications fail today's world is connected by complex forms of communications namely cellular communications and the Internet these forms of communication are very easy to use but rely on massive infrastructure between two individuals communicating if one cog Annette wheel breaks the whole thing can come crashing down conversely amateur radio relies only on the two parties involved the electronic epitome of individual responsibility just a few things are needed on either end power a radio and antenna and depending on the mode of communications maybe a few accessories in this series we will show you how ham radio and frankly the entire radio spectrum can be an indispensable tool in emergencies large and small the radio spectrum is huge you can think of it as millions of channels to which you can tune into to learn all about what is available to you is a lifelong endeavor but learning just a few basics is rather simple so that's where I'll start there are two basic types of communication in the ham universe communicating short range and worldwide communications in ham speak I'm referring to VHF and HF communications or very high frequency and high frequency being new to amateur radio you may have no idea what this means so let's talk about it with some examples starting with short range communications let's say that you need to keep in contact with friends family members or even local emergency responders you're going to need to use a certain portion of the radio spectrum that is conducive to local communications a portion of that spectrum that offers clarity and reliability and possibly extreme portability a proven solution to local communications has always been the very high frequency portion of the spectrum or VHF VHF is chosen by police fire air traffic dispatching FM radio TV and businesses and there's a nice section of the band that's carved out for you and I as well the term VHF refers to the frequency in the case of VHF that is 30 to 300 megahertz as the amateur radio operators our little slice of the pie is right in the middle from 144 to 148 megahertz but being new to ham radio that probably means nothing to you so let's show you how it works in the real world this is a Preppers favorite the bow fan you v5r this little $30 radio on a $15 test is all it takes for you to get started in ham radio but more on that later for now there's a link below to our article on how to get your ham license in seven days what can you do with this radio well in its most basic method of communication say one bow thing to another or simplex communication as its termed you basically have two low powered radios with small antenna how well this radio works is dependent on the laws of physics and is directly tied to the characteristics of VHF frequencies while VHF is mostly unaffected by atmospheric noise giving you clear and reliable communications it is restricted to line-of-sight communications simply put line-of-sight communications means things like mountains hills large buildings and most importantly the earth itself can disrupt the signal let's take an example of two people standing on relatively level ground because of the curvature of the earth there is a limited distance that these two can have line of sight before the earth itself gets in the way in the case of these two radios the antennas are say six feet above the ground the distance to where the earth starts blocking the signal due to the curvature is three miles this is called the radio horizon for the other individual the distance is also three miles added together two people with Bo fangs can theoretically talk to each other from six miles apart in reality if you have trees building small hills or other terrain you are probably going to be limited to just a mile or two while a mile or two is more than enough to talk to your own property and to your own neighborhood what do we do to extend this coverage yet still use these convenient handheld radios dotting the landscape around the world are repeaters what do they do exactly what their name implies they take the signal that you transmit receive it then repeat it generally speaking these repeaters are publicly available to licensed ham operators and are run mostly by preparedness minded individuals lots of these repeaters operate on backup power for use in emergencies and some are perpetually powered by the likes of solar and other renewable forms of backup these repeaters are most often located in ideal locations that is high up in the air the higher the antenna the further the radio horizon combined with the fact that the antennas themselves are really efficient they can help the range of your handheld radio go from a few miles to 50 miles or more there's a third option for the preparedness minded individual and that is to set up your own repeater mobile radios such as my Ken with tmv 71a have a feature called cross band repeat in normal operation these types of radios operate just the same as your handheld but you can permanently install a bigger antenna much higher up in the air the radios also have more power and you can choose to backup that power with a system that you control check out the links below on our Solar series for more on that one the function of cross band repeat allows them to receive on one band and simultaneously transmit on another effectively creating your own repeater in a future video we will show you exactly how to do this but for now there are some links below to radios that can do this now keep in mind the performance of this system is dependent on your antenna its height to train around your location and so on but it should greatly enhance the range of a communication system that you own and control lastly we'll talk about HF communications or high frequency this is the type of communication an outsider to amateur radio mic picture HF communications allows you to talk to the world HF consists of different frequencies compared to VHF between three and thirty megahertz and these frequencies have different characteristics for example some of your signal when you key up on the bow Fang actually radiates directly out into outer space HF is different the radio waves actually bounce off the ionosphere called skip propagation allowing for communications that are not limited to line-of-sight this skip can allow Interstate two intercontinental communications there's many reasons for this and it's way outside the scope of this video but communicating with the states around you can be relatively reliable and depending on the conditions of the Bands you can to the world with my modest setup it's more of like firing a signal out there bouncing off the ionosphere and wherever it lands it lands I'm right here in the Great Lakes and I've talked to both coasts Europe South America and listened to the world the most important fact you have to remember about all of this is there's nothing that exists between your radio and there's no infrastructure to rely on you control it and nobody can shut you up HF radio will be the de facto mode of communications in a regional national or worldwide disaster the downside to HF is the equipment can be quite expensive while I would expect each and every one of you to get licensed have a radio like the Baofeng and know how to use it HF radio takes a little more knowledge a general license and a bit more equipment if considering new the cost of entry to the HF world is going to be around a thousand dollars this is my icon ic 7200 in multicam of course it's not the absolute least expensive HF radio but for what it does it's one of the best deals with an HF rig in addition to the radio you'll need a power supply antenna and antenna tuner also the antenna might not be what you picture in your mind as an antenna the most popular type of HF antenna is the dipole basically two pieces of wire that are spread horizontally as opposed to vertically this requires you to have some real estate and a place to hang the antenna just like in our solar series I tend to pick a vendor to work on with complicated systems in the case of amateur radio I like to work with Giga parts they've got a very of a knowledgeable staff of licensed enthusiasts a huge inventory and the best prices in the industry my plan with the series is to give you specific examples of all the modes of communications that we just mentioned so you can follow along check out Giga parts in the links below Communications are one way the prepper can utilize the radio spectrum but stay tuned is our series on radio is about to blow your mind if you found this information insightful drop us a comment hit the like button below share this video with your friends and subscribe to the tin hat Ranch Channel thanks for watching

47 thoughts on “HAM Radio Basics- HAM 101”

  1. i was a combat medic with the infantry while i was in the military, i never quite understood what the radio operators were talking about but i was always interested, this video wants me to learn more about radios and maybe even take up a hobby in HAM radios

  2. I am currently a few days from completing a purchase of an offshore ready sailboat that we will be using to sail around the world..the vessel comes with an old analog ham radio with an antenna mounted on the mail mast. my question is, can I just be the anarchist prepper that I am and say fuck a license and fuck regulation and just go for it or will I get the coast guard coming after me? also what are the laws for international waters? I understand if you don't know or don't want to answer. thanks.

  3. WOW !
    You have what I call perfect self-expression in this post.
    I am a ham and this was very concise, perfectly explained and I for one thank you for your post.

  4. Finally, a very well presented preso on HAM basics. Gotta start from the beginning if you ever want to get anywhere w HAM. This is the place. Can’t wait to get into the series. Thanks!

  5. Thanks. I’ve watched this vid before (been studying for my tech for months on and off) and wanted to check in again for a recap on vhf vs hf vs uhf. It’s one thing to study the material and another to learn about what people actually use in their vehicles and camping. Helpful

  6. Muslims cannot use ham radio…..just as Burger King is no longer calling their hamburgers HAMburgers….they are now just burgers to not anger the Muslims. So it is now just radio….not HAM radio. Now Muslims can be radio appliance operators.

    PS…ham radio has become a cesspool of sociopaths and psychopaths. Death threats by the criminally insane, neo Nazi's and Cosmotheists are now displaying their insanity on the bands. Glad I got away from it all. Best thing I've done. No more weather reports. No more contest Nazi's. No more bland discussions on things of little importance. Don't believe me? Then get yourself a shortwave radio and listen in….

  7. 🙂 KG5CUO – you can not forget the modes as well 144.200 the ussb calling freq for example there are more then FM and you should explore the world of SSB My rig a Kenwood 700 -A
    is a 2 meter rig with a broke VFO unfortunately I fought it to 144.200 and i enjoy USB or LSB or AM not min rings today have AM I was truly heartbroken when i found out my radio was broken it only means i have to fight the VFO if i ever decide to change the channel i used a hand held on FM until i head myself clear on the feq. We invite all new hams to check out and come hang out on 144.200 USB The ARRL is trying to help us keep the 2m band as businesses try to take it over. I am fixing to put up a j pole temp so i have time to save and build my Beam for 2/m rg/58 to lmr 400 my gig does about 95 watts barefoot but it does not take much we need more people hanging out on the channel for sure so your invited….come hang out as you learn the hobby I have been into radio all my life it started with my parents and there CB my father built his first antenna that could go vertical or flat and only had about 150 watts back in the day and talked all over the countryside on 11 meters 2.m is just as fun of course the HF is a lot more fun but i plan to get my General on my own time but i will still hang out and sue the 2/m call freq 144.200 usb well that's all for now catch you on the air maybe we will get the chance to work each other's stations 73 KG5CUO EM34SR

  8. "Being new to ham radio you probably don't know……." In the past there was something called a novice class license. As the title implies…it was an entry level license with very limited privileges….relatively low power….small portions of the radio spectrum….and almost entirely using morse code. It had a one year non-renewable expiration date. You had one year to learn and upgrade to a higher class license….or lose it. During that year you learned…a lot…..or you lost your license. That license class no longer exists which I think is a huge mistake….because, when you have only one year to learn what you need to learn you do. I am constantly amazed how little new hams know…and how much we had to know in years gone by.

  9. Hello to and greetings to The great Ham Radio Community.
    Whereas I am not a Ham Radio enthusiast, I am a vintage computer and video game system collector. As it was mostly the early Ham Radio enthusiast, who also helped
    build the enthusiasm for the computer industry, by purchasing and building the first kit computers ever released here in the US.
    Systems like the Altair 8800, the IMSAI 8080 and the SOL-20 Terminal Computers, to name a few.
    As I mentioned, I am a vintage computer collector, and there is one system, that I need your help in finding. I am looking for the IMSAI 8080, to add to my collection.

    I am completely fascinated by these vintage computers, and I love working on them. As you can tell, by watching a few of my videos.
    So, if you know anyone who has any of these vintage computers, I would love to hear from them. I am hoping to open a small vintage computer and game system museum,
    someday. I may never reach this goal, but I will have a good time, learning everything that I can about these old system, while I work to make, this dream come true.

  10. My off-roading buddies teamed up with my aero soft buddies and bought about 200 baofeng
    Got the long foldable antenna
    Gonna be riding the waves bros


  11. I read conflicting things about mores code. Is it required or not?? I am NOT going to try and learn it. A make or break for me. I am studying for the humble Techs. level. Thanks.

  12. I actually have a marine operator license from a full blown maritime academy. You are a better instructor than the one I had at a 4 year university. Good job man keep it up.

  13. We need HAM to give Hannibal Lecter than great line in "Silence of the Lambs". It was insulting the students and faculty of any psychology department…if memory serves…not HAM so much. My uncle was one well-traveled, very self-educated, great man… and his one hobby, if one doesn't count Gran Torino style handyman activity (he did an entire driveway…4 bags of sakrete at the time, rather than have Home Depot drop it off at his house, or hire someone. It probably had tolerances comparable to something made at the Bovet Castle. That sort of Air Force man) God I miss his refresher talks on the Iran Contras during Thanksgiving dinner. Seriously, we just huddle at one end of the table, and…Iran Contras time. That's what being avuncular is all about.

  14. I'm developing a quick release mount and exploring the possibility of an adhesive plate that goes on a radio's back panel. This would be instead of the belt clip or buying a dedicated pouch, and it would cost something like $10-20. Similar to how GoPro does it, just beefier. It would allow you to attach, detach, and reattach your radio to your belt, backpack strap, or molle gear in 1 second. Would anyone be interested in that? Good idea? Stupid idea? Any input would be much appreciated.

  15. I don't think the FCC is going to be kicking doors in on people for not having a license during a national/global emergency.

    They don't (very rarely) now unless you're being an absolute dumbass on the airwaves – then it's a $10,000 fine and confiscation of your equipment.

    But, yeah. get your license kids.

  16. He forget to mention 6 meters which is vhf also and has better propagation than 2 meters. 6 meter signal will hug the earth more than 2 meters thus giving greater communication range!

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