List of Ham radio activities you can do

There are so many aspects to the radio hobby. So it really is a question of where your interest lies. Here’s a partial list of things you can do with an amateur license:

  1. Talk to people (rag chewing; could be local or long-range)
  2. Work DX (long-distance contacts, foreign countries)
  3. Exchange QSL cards with stations you’ve contacted
  4. Make morse code contacts (CW)
  5. Make contacts via digital modes (RTTY, PSK31, etc.)
  6. Make contacts via VHF/UHF satellites (OSCAR – orbiting satellites carrying amateur radio)
  7. Talk to astronauts on the ISS
  8. Make low-power contacts (QRP)
  9. Work towards some ham radio awards (confirmed contacts in all 50 states, or 100 different countries, or other awards)
  10. Participate in contests (see how many stations you can contact within a certain time period and certain rules for the contest)
  11. Run a repeater
  12. Operate a propagation beacon
  13. Operate portable (carry a radio to some interesting spot and set up; one group does mountain summits)
  14. Operate mobile (car, boat, plane)
  15. Operate with emergency power / off the grid (solar, wind, generator, etc.)
  16. Build your own radios (your own design or from kits)
  17. Design, build and test antennas
  18. Experiment with circuits
  19. Emergency preparedness, emergency communications (CERT, ARES, RACES)
  20. Public service (marathon coordination, maritime service net, etc.)
  21. Special event stations (commemorating an event in history, etc.)
  22. Providing email to ships at sea (pskmail, winlink)
  23. Track a high-altitude balloon (ARHAB)
  24. Remote control a plane with first-person live video being transmitted from the plane (FPV)
  25. Study the ionosphere and produce ionograms
  26. Travel to faraway places and operate (DXpedition)
  27. Bounce signals off of the moon (EME – earth-moon-earth)
  28. Bounce signals off of meteor trails
  29. Bounce signals off of aurora (northern lights)
  30. Make contacts via microwave
  31. Make friends at a local club
  32. Run an APRS node, such as position tracking, weather station, digipeater
  33. Assist the National Weather Service in weather observations (Skywarn)
  34. Find a hidden transmitter (Fox Hunting / Radio Direction Finding)
  35. Explore digital signal processing and software-defined radios (SDR)
  36. Create an 802.11 (WiFi) mesh node and explore wireless networking
  37. Interlink repeaters with IRLP, Echolink, or Allstar VoIP links
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