Sotabeams is proud to co-sponsor Ham Community and its members – keeping it free of advertising clutter – right up to the end of February 2020.
Say thank you by visiting their website or special Ham Community page.
Is it possible for a club to have mostly public content while reserving some info, such as member contact info, for logged in club members only?
Yes and no. In fact there are two ways of accomplishing this.
I'll start with the no part. There is no way to have both a private and a public set of conversations simultaneously in a club. The reason for this is that club permissions are managed by the type of club that the club owner has opted to create. There are five of these types of clubs, as follows.
Everyone can see the club and its posts, and can participate without joining.
Everyone can see the club and its posts, but only members can participate. Everyone can join.
Everyone can see the club and who's in it, but only members can see posts and participate. Users need to ask a leader to join.
Only members can find the club and see its posts. Users need to be invited by a leader to join.
Everyone can see the club and its posts, but only members can participate. Users need to be invited by a leader to join.
Most clubs opt for the Reserved type which means that people can see that there is a club, they can see the members, but they cannot actively see or participate in content without being members. If one chose, one could create an Open club in which case non-members could see all the content but not participate. And then there is the more drastic option, one that we do not allow for chartered clubs, and that is one in which everything is open. As you can see, there are two other types, Private and Read Only.
Now for some reasoning. The idea behind Ham Community is to encourage both private conversations among club members, but also the opportunity to converse with the broader amateur radio community. As such, a club member who wishes to start or engage in a more open conversation, would simply post the topic in the general community. This paradigm encourages closed discussions within the club and open discussions with the community at large.
How much does it cost for a club to join and use Ham Community?
Amateur radio clubs use Ham Community for FREE! FOREVER!
To be transparent, the Ham Community business model does not depend on membership dues. Our goal is not to charge clubs or members. Quite the contrary, we benefit from a large number of happy and engaged members.
This said, there are occasional services for which Ham Community will charge clubs a minimum fee to cover transactions. For instance, clubs who use our payment system to charge their own members' dues, are charged a minimal percentage to cover PayPal transaction fees. This is not a profit-driven charge, we just want to cover our own costs.
Future, optional, specialized software tools may also be offered for a fee. Again, these would be very specialized tools that in no way affect the fundamental running of the club.
We insist on repeating that our community grows only if our individual and club members are satisfied with the platform and can enjoy it free of charge.
Is Ham Community a replacement for a club website?
It can be, or not. Personally, we believe that Ham Community is the perfect HAM club environment. It provides all the key features needed to manage a club. There is a nets calendar, there are blogs for leadership, there are discussion forums, club moderators can send out newsletters, there are even member image galleries to post Field Day photos, meeting photos or other. There is also a downloads section where clubs can keep their important files such as the club constitution, or meeting minutes, for members to download freely.
This said, clubs are welcome to have their own website and use Ham Community as their community building tool.
Note that clubs can keep their own domain name (url) and simply 'point it' to their personal Ham Community space.
Does Ham Community allow the club to manage its members? Can it be used to charge membership dues?
In addition to the many tools available to clubs (blogs, image galleries, discussion forums, etc.) Ham Community also offers the ability to manage club membership and dues collections. This is absolutely not a condition for clubs to join Ham Community. We do not even encourage clubs to use Ham Community to charge their membership dues. However, should they want to, they can.
Dues are collected using Paypal. Ham Community charges a minor fee to cover Paypal transaction costs only.
The advantage of using Ham Community to charge dues and manage membership is that it centralizes all club activity in one place.
Who is Ham Community for, and why was it created?
Ham Community was built by amateur radio operators for amateur radio operators, clubs, associations, manufacturers, resellers, and service providers. We were looking for a place where conversation, camaraderie, and collaboration stood above all else. Sure, we should have gear reviews, a links directory, even a calendar, but above all, Ham Community had to be for us.
It also had to be a place where entry level to advanced HAMs could converse with experts and elmers. Ham Community strives to offer direct dialogue with these experts. Our goal is to provide entry level to advanced HAMs with a place to get advice from validated and recognized experts and elmers.
Ham Community is not a club or association. In fact, Ham Community actually serves clubs. Our mission includes offering clubs the best possible tools, all for free. Basically, each participating amateur radio club gets their own blogs, forums, calendars, photo galleries, and – if they choose to – a tool to charge their membership dues, or even the ability to sell fundraising items.
Going forward, Ham Community will grow using feedback from its members, that is, after all, what a community is all about.
We hope that you will join us! If you already have, great to have you on board!
Can I contribute to Ham Community?
We could use your help
Ham Community depends on goodwill. We need people to do a variety of tasks, especially in these early days.
Here is a tentative list of how you could help us become better:
We need help populating our Links Directory by seeking out websites that fit into our categories. Then post those links. They will appear pending moderation. You can apply to volunteer here: https://hamcommunity.com/staffapplications/application/3-link-directory-contributing-editors/
We need to populate our Calendar with both hamfests and contests. There are multiple sources, including clubs directly. We will share our vision on how to best do this.
We need help to insert items for review in our Gear Reviews section. You can apply to volunteer here: https://hamcommunity.com/staffapplications/application/2-gear-reviews-contributing-editors/
And there is more. The bottom line is that we are a community by HAMs for HAMs so to succeed we need HAM involvement. To connect with us, simply make a request on our Support Desk.
What type of content will I find on Ham Community and how is it organized?
This is how our content is divided
Give & Take :: Forums
This is the heart of the Community, use it to discuss, learn, and share! Note that the Forums are also our Ham Community Homepage! If you click the Main Content tab on the upper left of the menu bar, or the main Ham Community logo at the top of any page, it will always take you back to the Forums.
A very useful tool to use when browsing through the forums is the Shortcuts section. There you will discover many 'filters' to allow you to view the latest content, content you have not read since your last visit, content that you started, and many others. Generally, the Shortcuts section is a great place to start every time you come back to the Community.
Team Up :: Clubs
Hams thrive on clubs. Amateur radio clubs fuel the hobby. If you are a club leader, use Ham Community as your club web presence; all the tools are free! If you are a club member, enjoy the club discussion forums, calendar, image gallery, blog, downloads sections for articles of constitution, etc., and your very own links section to create links to various useful websites.
Give & Take / Gear Reviews
We've got them! If you don't find the gear you are looking for, just click Add Item. It will not appear right away because one of our moderators will take a look at it, format it, add some additional content and then post it for you, and all others to review.
Give & Take / Links Directory
While our hobby is geared to the airwaves, we have definitely taken advantage of the internet. The Links Directory is your growing guide to what's out there, no holds barred. We link to everyone that is related to HAM radio in a positive way.
Give & Take / Image Galleries
That's an obvious one. Note that some members can create their very own gallery while others are limited to posting images in the general categories.
Give & Take / Calendars
So much to do, and so little time. Our goal is to list the top events, nets, hamfests, etc. in both North America and around the world. If you would like to add an event, go ahead, then a moderator will review it.
News & Editorials / Blogs
While the forum is for discussion, and Ham Com Magazine is for curated content, the Blogs are for recognized amateur radio opinion leaders. If you would like to have a blog and can meet our requirements, please contact us, we would love to have you on board.
Give & Take / Downloads
Over the next several months and years, this section will continue to amass instruction manuals, manufacturers' brochures, FCC documents, and all sorts of useful information for the community. If you have something you feel should be up there, make sure you submit a file.
Support / Support Requests
Still need guidance? If so, don't hesitate to submit a Support Request!
Are there membership levels or categories?
These are our member categories
- Guest are unregistered visitors or registered members who have not signed in.
- Several parts of the community are not visible to Guests.
- When you first register on the site, you become a member.
- Membership is free.
- Members gain access to most of the site; there are really very few parts of the site that are reserved for other member groups.
- Members are, however, limited in the number of images they can upload, messages they can send, etc. Those limits are still very generous.
- Members receive additional privileges as they post more. They also receive achievement badges, notably in the form of +5db, +10db, +15db, +20db, +25db.
- QRO Members are members with higher privileges (see below).
- Their limits are higher: they can post more content, post bigger images, store it all longer, search more often, etc.
- Currently, QRO Membership is free. If ever QRO membership is no longer free, current QRO Members will remain free for life.
Members become QRO Members when they achieve a given, unrevealed level of posts, with a good reputation; so post away!
- Early members – those who join while the Community is still small — will become QRO members more quickly. As the Community grows, criteria for becoming a QRO Member will be revised upwards.
Experts & Elmers
- Experts & Elmers are members with a high and proven knowledge of Amateur Radio, electronics, propagation and other related fields.
- To become Experts & Elmers, Members have to pass a series of quizzes that allow Ham Community staff to ascertain their level of knowledge. As a result, when they give their opinion or counsel, there is a high degree of confidence that it is well-founded in expertise and/or experience.
- Our Links Directory features links to multiple useful sites. The links are posted by Members or Ham Community Staff.
- When properly identified, the owner of a featured website (or its company or organization) can 'claim' the link and manage it. By doing so, Link Owners can add information, images, links, and other content to make the link more attractive.
- Packages are available for Link Owners who wish to promote their link's position in the Links Directory.
- Clubs are a cornerstone of Ham Community.
- Each Club must have at least one designated 'Leader'.
- Clubs can have more than one designated leader. Usually, these leaders are the current club officers such as President, VP, Treasurer, Secretary
- Club Leaders have the permission levels to make changes to the Club details in a way that members cannot.
- Backer status is given to those who have financially, or otherwise, supported the development and growth of Ham Community.
- We are truly grateful for their support!
- Though mostly volunteer, Moderators are considered Ham Community Staff.
- They are authorized to approve or reject content.
- Moderators also have the ability to suspend members who do not respect Ham Community Guidelines.
- They can recommend that a member be expelled from the community though that decision rests with Administrators.
- Members who are very active in the community are often asked to become Moderators so as to better help other members to post relevant and useful content.
- Administrators control the direction and ambiance within Ham Community.
- They have the ability to cancel membership.
- They are also responsible for support and software development.
Does Ham Community have guidelines or can I post whatever I want?
Ham Community has a strict set of guidelines posted separately on our Guidelines page (see link below). We encourage all our members to read these guidelines. Failure to comply with them could result in removal of content or revocation of membership.
What is amateur radio and why should you get involved?
Remember playing with walkie talkies when you were a child? Amateur radio, also known as HAM radio, is an extension of those walkie talkies. The difference is that we can now use radios to talk much further and to talk in different ways. We can talk using our voice, but also morse code, we can chat via keyboard, we can send images and television-like transmissions, we can even send emails, via the airwaves, thousands of miles away.
Some have called us the last person standing. If all else fails, if the cell network falls and the internet crashes, we will still be able to communicate. That is pretty much true, but amateur radio is so much more. It is also a way to just chat, or 'ragchew' with people across the ocean. Talking about the ocean, many sailors use amateur radio to keep in touch with friends and family while far at sea. Amateur radio is also used as a public service. Next time you run a marathon, if you see people with radios and yellow vests, they may very well be amateur radio operators acting as the event's communications team. You may also run into amateur radio operators during emergencies. Even federal agencies, such as FEMA, use amateur radio operators to deliver specialized communications services that are less suited to their own capabilities.
But why do we really do it? Aren't there cell phones? Think of cell phones as a date, two people, maybe three or four, out at a restaurant. They're great for talking to someone specific. Instead, amateur radio is more like a really big meeting, a really big one. In fact, imagine a meeting with a few million people, all listening for your call. Basically, ham radio allows you to call out, we call it CQ, over the airwaves. Depending on the 'mode' or 'band' you use, you might be able to talk to people as close as your neighborhood or as far away as around the world. You might be talking to a king (King Hussein of Jordan was a famous amateur radio operator), to an astronaut (astronauts on the ISS have their ham radio license and operate a radio; they regularly talk with amateur radio operators on the surface), or you might be talking to a farmer in the middle of Iowa who would love to hear about your HAM setup in northern Quebec, Norway, Tasmania or wherever you may be.
Amateur radio is also a tinkerer's dream come true. Putting together an amateur radio 'station' is fun. It combines modern electronics with good old 'building stuff'. HAMs put up antennas, build portable operating boxes, some even outfit entire vans as mobile operating stations. There is no shortage of things to build, connect or otherwise put together.
Lastly, and very importantly, amateur radio is a hobby that will introduce you to many friends. HAMs make friends, lots of them. Though we usually talk 'over the air' with people we will never meet, we regularly meet with those that live nearby. Amateur radio clubs are, without a doubt, among the most welcoming social spaces you will ever encounter.
We hope that this community will expose you to the many aspects of amateur radio and facilitate your conversation, camaraderie, and collaboration with fellow hams.
How many classes of amateur radio exist in the United States?
Most new amateur radio operators start at the Technician Class and then may advance to the General Class or Amateur Extra Class. The Volunteer Examiners (VEs) give examination credit for the license class currently held so that examinations required for that license class need not be repeated. The VEs prepare the written examinations from question pools that have been made public. Helpful study guides and training courses are widely available.
The privileges of a Technician Class operator license include operating an amateur station that may transmit on channels in any of 17 frequency bands above 50 MHz with up to 1,500 watts of power. To pass the Technician Class examination, at least 26 questions from a 35 question written examination must be answered correctly. Technician Class licensees also have privileges in four amateur service bands in the HF range (3-30 MHz) (Refer to Section 97.301(e)).
The General Class operator license authorizes privileges in all 29 amateur service bands. Upon accreditation by a Volunteer-Examiner Coordinator (VEC), an individual can help administer certain examinations. In addition to the above written examination, the requirement for a General Class operator license includes a 35 question written examination for which 26 correctly answered questions is the minimum passing score.
The privileges of an Amateur Extra Class operator license include additional spectrum in the HF bands. In addition to the two above written examinations, the requirement for an Amateur Extra Class operator license includes answering correctly at least 37 questions on a 50 question written examination.