How can I become an Amateur Radio Operator?
The best place to start is to buy a book called Now You’re Talking, from your local RadioShack, or favorite book store. It is typically about $20.00 plus tax, and has all the information you need to get your introductory Technician-class amateur radio license from the FCC.
In addition, TARS periodically sponsors instructor-led training programs for those interested in getting their license. Details can be found on our training page, along with a great presentation you can view to get a head-start on the material you need to learn to pass the exam. The page also contains links where you can download the latest question pools.
And, of course, check out the How Do I Become a Ham. We have all the info needed to get you started.
I’ve heard that you need to know Morse Code to be an amateur radio operator. Is that true?
Nope. There is no longer a Morse Code requirement for ANY class of license in the Amateur Radio Service.
How much does it cost to become a ham radio operator, and how much will I have to spend to get started?
Sitting for an exam session is only $15. As long as you continue to pass the exam elements, you need not pay an additional fee. Once you pass your exam(s), if you don’t have equipment already, you will need equipment to get on the air and enjoy your new privileges!
You can find decent used handie-talkie (HT) transceivers on eBay starting around $50 or less. For talking to people around town on UHF or VHF repeater systems, an HT will get the job done most of the time. For mobile operation outside the city limits, you may need the extra power that a mobile radio can deliver, and a magnet-mounted antenna on your vehicle. Of course, such an outfit will be a little more expensive. If you obtain privileges to operate on HF (frequencies below 50 MHz), you should be able to find used early model tube-based transceivers for a few hundred dollars. You can get started in amateur radio for as cheap as you want, or spend as much as you can afford – it’s your choice. A typical initial investment in the hobby is around $200 – 300.
When and where does the Society hold it’s meetings, and how much are dues? Where do I send my check?
You can find meeting information by following on our Meetings page or see our Calendar of Events. Membership dues for the Tallahassee Amateur Radio Society run $20 annually per family/household. Students (with current, valid ID) can join for free! You need not be a licensed amateur radio operator to join the Society. An interest in radio communications is all that is required. New members pay pro-rata based on the number of months remaining in the calendar year ($1.70 per month). Renewing members pay $20 dues anytime throughout the calendar year.
Please make your dues check payable to the Tallahassee Amateur Radio Society (or TARS). If not printed on the check, please include your home and work phone numbers on a separate piece of paper or use the TARS Membership Form. Also, if you have an e-mail address, please include it. That way, you will be placed on our e-newsletter distribution list. Also note your ARRL membership status (ARRL member, non-member). Bring your check with the additional information to the next monthly meeting of the Society and give it to the Treasurer, or mail your check and information to:
- Tallahassee Amateur Radio Society
- C/O Treasurer
- P. O. Box 37127
- Tallahassee, FL, 32315
There is also a national amateur radio operators’ organization, called the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), which you may also be interested in joining. Their dues are $39 annually. The Society is an ARRL sanctioned organization.
Okay! I’m ready to take my test and become an Amateur Radio Operator – when and where are the local testing sessions held?
You can find that information on our training page.
I am a student. Do any of the area high schools, or colleges have an Amateur Radio Club, or special interest group?
The FAMU/FSU School of Engineering had a radio club some time ago. However, that club is no longer active.
As for local middle schools, and/or high schools – the Society is working to raise awareness and get area youth interested in our exciting hobby.
TARS lets full-time students (elementary school through college) become members for free. Just submit a membership form to the club treasurer.
The club has formed the Youth Council of the Tallahassee Amateur Radio Society and has a FaceBook page in that name. It is dedicated to proving younger members with an opportunity to enjoy amateur radio with other youth. For more information or to assist with this endeavor, please contact the Society’s Public Information Officer (K4SBZ.Stan@gmail.com).
How do I change my address on my Amateur Radio License?
To make any changes in your license, you need to go on-line to the FCC’s Universal Licensing System (ULS) at http://wireless.fcc.gov/