I'm brand new to amateur radio, with no previous relevant technical background, and I, unfortunately, will be unlikely to participate significantly in a local club.

So, I am trying to learn and grow in a hands-on hobby without "without adult supervision," so to speak, and would like to remedy that: I'm way too old to get a Boy Scouts merit badge counselor to help me :)

Are there any 'virtual' coaching/tutoring (Elmer) tools?

I am thinking more than a standard Q&A-type forum, but an environment where I could schedule focused coaching to assist in station set-up, initial GOTA coaching, etc.


1 Answer 1


As you seem to be in the US you can start learning on your own by preparing the US Ham exams.

Start easy with the Technician Licence, where you don't need to have much technical knowledge, and from there you can go up to General and Amateur Extra.

I'm not in the US but still did the US licences for 'fun' and trained a lot using the Android application https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.iversoft.ham.test.prep&hl=en

This gives you training questions arranged around different themes as well as the correct answer. But instead of just learning the correct answers, use the question to identify themes you don't know much about or don't understand, and then try to learn as much as you can or want about this subject, using wikipedia, books, google or whatever you want. Once you feel confident to have a basic understanding about the field go back and train the questions about it. Repeat if necessary. And then move to the next question pool about another subject. I prepared and passed all US Licences using mainly this app as a 'Training plan'.

Passing the exams will give you already much theoretical background. But it won't help you much with the 'Hands-on' part to set-up a station.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Amateur Radio Stack Exchange! Please do not include “signatures” in your posts. If you'd like to display your call sign, you can set it in your name or profile info. $\endgroup$
    – Kevin Reid AG6YO
    Apr 21, 2016 at 15:20
  • $\begingroup$ I'd like to add onto Martin's fine answer. Despite your assertion that you're unlikely to participate with a club, I'd urge you to do just that. They won't be bothered by your lack of relevant technical background. If you ask nicely for help, and show that you're committed to learning and not just being lazy, then you'll probably get all the help you need. In the US and Canada, a great time to approach your local club is the upcoming Field Day event. You could learn lots by helping set up antennas and operating the radios with supervision. Good luck! $\endgroup$
    – rclocher3
    Apr 21, 2016 at 16:55
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you. I did not know the sig block rule; corrected - So, I'm a Technician, prepping for General, and my first rig arrives tomorrow; IC-7100, hopefully all the minimum accessories -- Want to/will join a club, but in-person may sporadic due to work-life balance issues - I am hoping to find virtual tools; e.g., like taking guitar or online beer homebrewing video classes to practice hands-on skills. - I'll be sitting on my equipment trying to figure out how to set it up by myself -- Probably a bridge too far. $\endgroup$ Apr 22, 2016 at 0:36
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks Kevin, updated my profile info. And for Mike, there are many youtube videos about the IC-7100 that should cover what you need to set it up and make first QSOs. But indeed a "Virtual HAM Class" for amateurs with already a license but just want a guide before first going on air could be nice. But i don't have heard of any. In the mean time the best tip i can give you is listen, listen and listen many QSOs until you feel confident to make your own. $\endgroup$ Apr 27, 2016 at 12:21

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