Listening to ham Radios
Listening to a ham radio is one of the most important ways of adding a contact which is also referred to as QSO. Therefore when you turn on your radio you may need to tune the band to different frequencies and assess any activity going on. This helps you know of ham operators who are tuned in and what they are doing. You also what the radio condition are like and you get an opportunity to determine the best way to make a contact.
The different bands you can listen to are:
HF (High frequency) bands. They are like the shortwave bands covering 3 MKz to 30 MHz. VHF (very high frequency) bands. These cover 30 MHz to 300 MHz. UHF (ultra high frequency) bands. These cover from 300 MHz to 3 GHz Microwaves. These start from 1 GHz
On HF bands, you may locate stations on any frequency that offer a dear spot to make a contact.
HF Bands / shortwaves are different from VHF bands in their clarity and the sound they produce. On HF bands you can tune and find frequencies that offer a clear spot for making a contact while on VHF bands, majority of contacts do take place by means of repeaters on specific frequencies or on channels found between a different KHz.
Repeaters are radios that capture what is being transmitted by another radio and transmit the same information on a different frequency other than the original one. This makes it challenging to find out hams on these VHF bands.
In most cases a beginner who wants to communicate over ham radio or to listen to ham radio will usually tune on VHF or UHF bands, its advisable to also tune on HF bands even though their frequency is lower and may discourage you from tuning on the band.
Now as you tune your ham radio on either HF or VHF band, you should note that hams already tuned will be engaging in some specific activities and in most cases they tend to squeeze on or near specific frequencies eg digital hams using PSK31 mode will usually be found on 14.070 MHz. (It’s not a mandatory requirement for them to be found on this frequency, hence its subject to change find them there).
Anyhow this consistency in the hangout frequency makes it easier for you as a beginner to locate and meet other hams with similar interests and modes. These kinds of frequencies where you will meet a group of several hams congregated together are known as calling frequencies.
Once you locate any ham who serves your interest, you should take a step and add them as contact and start communicating. Moreover, it’s vital that you know if the ham is involved in nets or other discussions so that you too can join them.