QST – Shortwave Radio for the Millions
Homage to first shortwave trans-Atlantic radio broadcast https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-38262397

Shortwave radio is a incredible hobby, combining practical physics, environmental studies, and human connection for fun and education.

Shortwave radio is radio transmission using shortwave (SW) radio frequencies. There is no official definition of the band, but the range always includes all of the high frequency band (HF), which extends from 3 to 30 MHz (100 to 10 metres); above the medium frequency band (MF), to the bottom of the VHF band.

Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shortwave_radio. Retrieved 27 July 2021.

A network of progressive and communist licensed, experienced amateur shortwave radio operators, or Hams, can strengthen the world movement, creating a global communications network that is independent of corporate control or influence, and can survive the turbulent winds of political struggle even if social media and the internet are disrupted.

What does QST mean? See Prosigns, Q Signals and CW Abbreviations Used in Amateur (Ham) Radio, provided by hamuniverse.com. “QST – General call proceding a message addressed to all amateurs”.

Licensing

To send on a short wave radio in the United States of America one has to be licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Information about this is available at the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) website.

There are three classes of license available:

  • Technician
  • General
  • Extra

Each class has access to different radio frequencies. To take the General class license test, one must be a Technician class licensee. To take the Extra class license test, one must be a General class licensee.

Shortwave radio is all about sending electro-magnetic radio waves over distances to a receiver. Frequencies have different characteristics, and are used in various ways. All frequencies are reserved for various constituencies. Mobile phones, for example, send and receive radio waves over short distances on reserved frequencies. Aircraft also communicate on reserved frequencies by radio wave. One of the most important and basic things a new Technician class licensee must know is the frequencies available for their use.

Different frequencies have different characteristics when interacting with the environment. Understanding those characteristics is vital to achieving long distance radio communications.

Technician class

Technician class is the introductory level of license available. Once you have your Technician license you can broadcast by radio to other Hams around the world, as well as receive their responses.

Technician class license exam

To get recognized by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as a licensed radio operator, a test must be passed.

The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) Licensing, Education and Training provides all the information needed to get started.

The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual is recommended to prepare for the exam, available for order here.

HAM Radio 2.0 has produced a set videos augmenting, not replacing, the License Manual’s information.

Preparation for the Technical license exam is covered here:

Radio to learn with (no sending until licensed)

There are many inexpensive handheld shortwave radios available. As of 27 July 2021, the recommended radio for studying for the Technician level license is a BAOFENG BF-F8HP (UV-5R 3rd Gen) 8-Watt Dual Band Two-Way Radio (136-174MHz VHF & 400-520MHz UHF) Includes Full Kit with Large Battery, $69.89 at time of writing.

It is not required to have a shortwave radio to study for or take the Technician class license exam. A phone enhances practical understanding in ways that can be very helpful.

Practice tests

The ARRL Exam Review for Ham Radio provides practice exams.

This is an ARRL web site but requires a different login.

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