Amateur radio is a radio service in which people are allowed and encouraged to build their own radios, antennas, and so forth. It can be used to communicate all around the globe without any intervening infrastructure such as satellites or cables.
Information for other hams
If you’re a ham looking me up, this is relevant information:
- My callsign is
KR0Land my name is John Goerzen
- I was initially licensed as
KD0MJT, which was used from July to October 2010
- Some information about me, including my email address and interests.
- QSL via LOTW is preferred, or direct.
- My base station radio is a Kenwood TS-2000.
- My digital setup involved a RigExpert USB interface box and, of course, Linux.
Background on the hobby
- Introduction to Amateur Radio
- Why Get Involved With Amateur Radio?
- Getting Started With Amateur Radio
- Digital Amateur Radio
- Linux Amateur Radio
- Packet Radio
- Amateur Radio on a Bicycle
- Morse Code
- Using the Kenwood TH-D72A with PC APRS Software
- WinLink 2000 and APRS
Alternatives to ham radio
Links to this note
I am frequently asked, “Why bother with radios? Don’t you have cellphones? VOIP? Skype?”
For a number of years, this was a public wiki, but due to high volumes of spam, it hadn’t been editable for a number of years. In February 2022, the content from that site was folded into this one.
These sites are hosted on the complete.org server. Some are hosted with resources donated to non-profit organizations.
Note: This page is a bit dated and doesn’t reflect some newer modes like FT8, but what’s here should generally be correct.
Note: this page is a few years out of date, but the concepts, ideas, and reasoning should remain relevant.
The TH-D72A is a very nice handheld Amateur Radio Transceiver. Among other things, it has an integrated GPS, built-in APRS functionality, full AX.25 Packet Radio TNC, and a USB port (which shows up as a serial device) to a computer – all built in.
I was a bicyclist until about 2012, and was interested in using Amateur Radio on my bicycle. This page reflects the experience through then.
Amateur Radio really a very interesting hobby. It is the most versatile radio service available in many ways. Users of amateur radio get to choose their own radios and antennas, and can even design and build these things themselves if they like. They can operate with a surprising amount of power in many situations, and can work with all sorts of modes including CW (morse code), voice, and digital. Most other types of radio restrict people to only government-approved radios, certain specific channels, etc.
So, you may have read the material on the Why Get Involved With Amateur Radio? and are wondering how to get started. This has two main components: licensing and equipment.
I am a programmer, manager, hobbyist, advocate, volunteer, dad, and nature lover. I live out on an old farmstead in rural Kansas that once belonged to my grandparents. The nearest paved road is about 3 miles away, and the nearest town (population 600) is 7 miles away. I have three incredible children, which I might occasionally mention on my blog.
When things are difficult – maybe there’s been a disaster, or an invasion (this page is being written in 2022 just after Russia invaded Ukraine), or maybe you’re just backpacking off the grid – there are tools that can help you keep in touch, or move your data around. This page aims to survey some of them, roughly in order from easiest to more complex.
Most of us carry cell phones with us almost everywhere we go. So much so that we often forget not just the usefulness, but even the joy, of having our own radios. For instance:
Here are some (potentially) interesting topics you can find here: