Getting Started

Amateur Radio is still relevant
In a world full of cell phones and FRS/GMRS radios and the Internet, amateur radio’s role in society has changed. Amateur Radio still provides a fun, challenging and rewarding experience including:

  • Mobile two-way communications via our well situated VHF FM Repeater – This is not a substitute for cell phones of course, but still provides a party line style of communications that still has a place in modern society.
  • Worldwide Shortwave Communications via the HF Bands – Not a substitute for the Internet, but still a fun and practical way to contact someone around the world with just a radio, an antenna and no additional infrastructure.
  • Digital Communications – The PC with sound-card has revolutionized methods for sending digital data over the ham bands. Many applications relay messages much like cell phone texting.
  • Morse Code, but only if you want – Morse code is no longer a requirement for testing and some are saddened by this change. However, this has elevated morse code from a must-do task to a voluntary and skillful art-form. Don’t let the code hold you back from getting your license. You can ignore it or learn it at your own pace. Shhh, I’ll tell you a secret… Some of us use our sound-cards to decode morse ; )
  • Confidence – Being a ham means you have more communications options to help yourself and others in need. In the very rare chance infrastructure fails, you have one more trick up your sleeve. As unlikely as this is, additional peace of mind is nice.
  • Public Service – Occasionally we receive requests to help provide communications for local events in Virginia. In the 21st century, these needs can often be met with other means. For the times where the unique qualities of ham radio equipment and operating techniques are helpful, FARA steps in.

You may be thinking this is all well and good, but wonder how amateur radio competes with other forms of entertainment in the 21st century. The answer may be with something known as “Radio Sport” or “Contesting.”

Contesting involves many operators participating in an organized on the air event where each station makes contact with as many others as possible despite the challenges presented by mother nature on the radio signals. Whether operating from the comfort of your home “ham shack,” a remote camp ground or “roving” in your car, contesting combines construction, electronic, electrical, scientific, endurance and everyday skills plus operating into one focused goal of attaining the highest possible score.

As a group, FARA participates in two contests annually: Virginia QSO Party and the ARRL Field Day. Many members participate individually in many other contests.

The competitive spirit in contesting provides hours of fun for many operators and FARA is very active.

Don’t have a license yet?
We are considering hosting classes for Technician and General licenses to help you take and pass your written FCC exam. Visit this web page often for new details.

Self study is also a practical approach using the materials available from the ARRL. Visit…

…for more ideas on how you can become an amateur radio operator.

Examinations are administered by the Volunteer Examiner (VE) corp and Northern Virginia is blessed with many VE Sessions around the area. Some occur weekly. FARA has some VE qualified folks and an interest in hosting examinations in Warrenton, VA. This web page will announce updates.

Become a member
If you are interested in joining our merry band of amateur radio operators please visit any of our meetings as our guest anytime. We have our regular meetings the second Thursday evening every month.

If you would like to receive regular email announcements from the club secretary (about 1-5 emails per week) concerning upcoming FARA events, send your name and contact information to secretary@w4va.org.

If you like what you see, plan to attend a regular meeting for new membership voting.

Membership Form

You can print this out and bring with you to a meeting.

Get On-The-Air in Fauquier County
Finally the club is starting up its Roving Club Station project. Please read more about this getting started event by clicking here.

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