Handy Radio Operating Aids

  • BAND CHART- There are different levels of FCC Amateur Radio Licenses. Each has different privileges on various bands and modes. Click for a color PDF that summarizes the privileges on the Amateur Ham Bands
  • THIRD PARTY - When passing messages to hams in foreign countries, it is illegal to pass messages for a third party (ie, someone who is neither of the control operators), unless both countries have reciprocal "third party operating agreements." Click HERE to see which countries a U.S. operator may legally pass third-party traffic to.
  • RADIOGRAM, FSD-220, FSD-218, OTHER AIDS. Click HERE for the ARRL field services operating aids and forms including phonetic alphabet, signal reports, time zones, and an explanation of all the fields in the Radiogram.
  • ARL NUMBERED MESSAGES - the ARRL has developed a list over the years of the most commonly needed phrases and numbered them. Messages can be shortened considerably by using them - each message, no matter how long, takes up only three letter groups to transmit. Click HERE for a PDF of the official list.
  • COMMON TEXTS - Some messages passed by the National Traffic System are "pro forma" messages sent by individuals who greet all new hams when their call sign is listed on the FCC's website, remind people of expiring ham licenses, or just want to verify a ham's phone number or whether they are still alive. This is a compilation of about two dozen or so of the most common messages passed. If you have this printout and you receive one of these messages, the sender only has to give you the addressee information over the air. Several organizations compile these lists based on traffic through their location. Click HERE for the ARRL's common text; HERE for Ohio version.
  • Ham Exemption Law - the legislature has removed the exemption allowing use of ham radios while driving, to conform with national laws on distracted driving.  The wording describing which devices can and cannot be used while driving is now ambiguous.  Until the interpretation is resolved by court cases or subsequent legislation, the webmaster recommends caution while using mobile radios.

Other handy sites

Emergency Communications

ARES - Amateur Radio Emergency Service

ARES is a non-governmental volunteer organization , a field arm of the ARRL, a national umbrella association of hams headquartered in Newington, CT.  Its mission is to connect ham volunteers with served agencies who request radio operators.  ARES has agreements with the state of Connecticut, the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the Connecticut Medical Reserve Corps, and other organizations who respond during emergencies and disasters.  It also has served many local charitable organizations during their public events.  ARES members are activated within Connecticut by the Section Emergency Coordinator, Mike Walters, W8ZY.  When Mike receives a request for operators from a served agency, he passes the requests to the five Distict Emergency Coordinators, who then consult the ARES Emergency Coordinators in the towns and make individual task assignments. The BEARS repeater is located in ARES Region 3, whose DEC is AB1GL, George Lillenstein.

ARES' Connecticut Section uses a digital network known as DMR for command and control.  The state's W1SP ham club has so far implemented 28 DMR UHF repeaters throughout the state at hardened sites with their own microwave links and independent power supplies, co-located mostly with State Police radio towers.  They have also invited private ham clubs with coordinated UHF pairs to put a repeater in the digital network. All five ARES districts are well represented on the network.

Download a Powerpoint presentation specifically for our ARES region (Connecticut Region 3). Includes org chart, EC names by town, DMR repeaters and talkgroups, much more.

To view a live (one second delay) display of the call signs of DMR network users, go to

UHF DMR radios that work on this network are available from Motorola (TRBO), Hytera, Anytone, Bridgecom, Baofung and Connect Systems, among others.

If you wish to volunteer for ARES, please sign up at https://secure1.ema.arrl.org/qilan/ares/CT/CT_ARES_about

For more information about who to contact and what frequencies are used, go to www.ctares-region3.org

RACES - Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service

RACES is a team of volunteer radio operators sanctioned by FEMA, and recruited and trained (in Connecticut) by an individual Town government.  Generally under the auspices of the town's Emergency Manager, this team is formally activated by the Emergency Manager and is sworn in annually by a State official, which entitles them to limited state-funded insurance coverage while in the performance of their duties during an activation.  Technically, the part 97 FCC regulations having to do with RACES stations and emergency operation has been repealed.  FEMA radio operations are governed mostly by ESF2 and the National Communications System. To join a RACES team, contact your town's Emergency Manager.

Emergency information apps for your mobile device

The federal government has assembled more than sixty apps you can download to your Android or IOS device with handy guides for assorted emergencies. Click HERE for link to the download page.


Logbook of the World - www.arrl.org/logbook-of-the-world

This downloadable program lets your computer record your contact's call sign, contest exchange, time, date, band, mode and frequency of the contact.  It checks for duplicate entries and after a contest allows you to upload your log to a central server where your entries are matched up with all the other LOTW users and you are notified if you have achieved any award certificates and your score is entered in the contest you just completed.

DX Spotting - www.dxsummit.fi

This website contains real-time DX spots filtered by band or mode or "most wanted" category.  Download the "DX Summit" software.