Amateur Radio Getting Started Guides

Essex Ham Getting Started GuidesAt Essex Ham, we know that once you’ve got your licence, taking the next steps can be tricky – we’ve all been there. To help out, we’ve put together some handy Amateur Radio Getting Started Guides, available as web pages or PDF files. We’ve also got a few videos. We’re in the process of adding more content, and your suggestions are welcome.

On this page, you’ll find links to our various “How to” guides created for those new to the hobby, as well as links to some of our training material.

We’re in the process of creating some additional content for this section, and you might be able to help: If you’re an M6 or M3, let us know what guides would you like us to add. If you’re interested in contributing an article to help newbies, we’d welcome your submissions, which will help others. Please Get in touch

Thinking of joining the hobby?

Already in the hobby?

Here’s our collection of guides. Also, take a look at our Amateur Radio FAQ for some tips.

Basic Guides
Get Your Callsign Just passed your Foundation? How to get your licence and callsign PDF (Essex)
Just Licensed? You’ve got your callsign, so what do you do next?
Your First Handheld What can you expect from your first handheld, and how can you improve on the experience? PDF File
Set Up Your Station What can you expect from your first handheld, and how can you improve on the experience? PDF File
A Parent’s Guide Son or daughter taking up the hobby? What you need to know! PDF File
Using Repeaters Want to start using your local repeater? Here’s our guide to the basics PDF File
VHF QSO Script Here is a script for a basic VHF simplex contact. You can also take a look at our short VHF QSO example video PDF File
Set Up QRZ How to get your callsign registered with the website PDF File
eQSL Basics Starting out into the world of electronic QSL cards PDF File
Introduction to HF Part 1: The HF Bands – A look at what to expect from each of the HF bands PDF File
Part 2: Selecting a Transceiver – What to consider when buying your first rig PDF File
Part 3: Aerials – A look at feeders, HF aerials, and options for what may work for your shack PDF File
SOTA – The basics What is Summits On The Air, and  how to get started
2m SSB Contests Thanks to Terry G3VFC for this guide on the monthly 2m SSB contests
Working Portable A handy checklist on what to make on a field day PDF
D-Star Basics A short introduction to D-Star (Icom’s digital voice mode)
EchoLink Basics A hands-on guide covering how to use Echolink PDF
Foundation Glossary A selection of terms and abbreviations you may experience when studying for the Foundation exam. PDF
Data Modes Guides
Data Modes Basics The basics on getting started with the various data modes and what you’ll need to get started PDF File
PSK31 Basics Getting Started with this popular digital mode. Also – check out our free EssexPSK application – the easy-to-use PSK31 and RTTY decoder PDF File
SSTV Basics Information on how to send and receive images using Slow Scan TV PDF File
Balloon Tracking Details on how to track high altitude balloons PDF File

Video Guides

Welcome to Amateur Radio Thumbnail
What is Amateur Radio?
What is Amateur Radio Thumbnail
Amateur Radio: Getting Started
Amateur Radio Rallies Thumbnail
Amateur Radio Rallies

 For more videos, see the Essex Ham Videos page

Related Content

Need Help?

See our Amateur Radio FAQ for some tips, or ask in our forum

Amateur Radio Training Material


Got a suggestion for a guide we should add? Please let us know in the comments section below.


  1. 2e0emo 8 December 2013
    • Pete M0PSX Pete M0PSX 8 December 2013
  2. Bob Houlston G4PVB 11 December 2013
  3. Patrick Bell 17 December 2013
    • Pete M0PSX Pete M0PSX 17 December 2013
  4. Steve Webb 7 September 2014
    • Pete M0PSX Pete M0PSX 7 September 2014
  5. Michael Priest 28 December 2016

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