The Federal Government favors ham operations and has
made it relatively easy to become a licensed radio amateur.
TO GET YOUR LICENSE: You must be an American citizen,
must pass an FCC exam (about as hard as learning to drive). Cost: nothing. To
prepare for exam get in touch with a local ham club for details, or write the
American Radio Relay League, La Salle Road, W. Hartford, Conn. and ask for How
to Become a Radio Amateur and The Radio Amateur's License Manual. Each costs
50�. Most newcomers to amateur radio start with the novice license (code speed
five words per minute), good for one year only, then progress to the
"general" classification (code speed 13 words per minute), good for
five years and renewable indefinitely.
TO OUTFIT A STATION: You will need a receiver capable
of covering popular ham bands (1.8-29.7 mcs.). Cost $29.95 (Heathkit AR-3,
assemble and wire at home) to $695 (Collins 75A-4). You will need a
transmitter. Cost: $35.95 (Heathkit DX-20, assemble and wire at home) to $2,095
(Collins KWS-1). You will need one or more antennas. A piece of wire between
two trees with ordinary TV lead-in will work. Cost: pennies. Or it can be as
elaborate as rotating beams for each band on a special tower. Cost: up to
$2,000. Finally, you will need basic home tools such as a screwdriver, a pair
of pliers, a knife, a soldering iron.
WHERE TO BUY EQUIPMENT: If you cannot obtain the
above-listed essentials, they can be ordered by mail from Harrison Radio Corp.,
225 Greenwich Street, or Harvey Radio Co., 103 W. 43rd Street, both New York;
from Allied Radio, 100 N. Western Avenue in Chicago; or from Henry Radio
Stores, 11240 West Olympic Boulevard in Los Angeles.