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.

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 CallsignJust passed your Foundation? How to get your licence and callsignPDF (Essex)
Just Licensed?You’ve got your callsign, so what do you do next?
Your First HandheldWhat can you expect from your first handheld, and how can you improve on the experience?PDF File
Set Up Your StationGot your licence and looking to get your first radio? We offer some ideas and tips.PDF File
A Parent’s GuideSon or daughter taking up the hobby? What you need to know!PDF File
Using RepeatersWant to start using your local repeater? Here’s our guide to the basicsPDF File
VHF QSO ScriptHere 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 QRZHow to get your callsign registered with the websitePDF File
eQSL BasicsStarting out into the world of electronic QSL cardsPDF File
Operating HintsSome suggested Dos and Don’ts for operating on-airPDF Files
Introduction to HFPart 1: The HF Bands – A look at what to expect from each of the HF bandsPDF File
Part 2: Selecting a Transceiver – What to consider when buying your first rigPDF File
Part 3: Aerials – A look at feeders, HF aerials, and options for what may work for your shackPDF File
SOTA – The basicsWhat is Summits On The Air, and how to get started
2m SSB ContestsThanks to Terry G3VFC for this guide on the monthly 2m SSB contests
Working PortableA handy checklist on what to make on a field dayPDF File
D-Star BasicsA short introduction to D-Star (Icom’s digital voice mode)
EchoLink BasicsA hands-on guide covering how to use EcholinkPDF File
Foundation GlossaryA selection of terms and abbreviations you may experience when studying for the Foundation exam.PDF File
Data Modes Guides
Data Modes BasicsThe basics on getting started with the various data modes and what you’ll need to get startedPDF File
PSK31 BasicsGetting Started with this popular digital mode. Also – check out our free EssexPSK application – the easy-to-use PSK31 and RTTY decoderPDF File
FT8 – The BasicsInformation on how to get started with the FT8 data mode
JT65 – The BasicsInformation on how to get started with the JT-65 data mode
SSTV BasicsInformation on how to send and receive images using Slow Scan TVPDF File
Troubleshooting Data ModesHelp and advice on resolving problems sending and receiving data
Balloon TrackingDetails on how to track high altitude balloonsPDF 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. Avatar 2e0emo 8 December 2013 Reply
    • Pete M0PSX Pete M0PSXAuthor 8 December 2013 Reply
  2. Avatar Bob Houlston G4PVB 11 December 2013 Reply
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  5. Avatar Michael Priest 28 December 2016 Reply
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