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Amateur Radio Info & Exams - Clubs

There are a variety of groups and clubs, such as local clubs, usually covering a variety of interests; special interest groups; state clubs; and national bodies.

Some clubs, including local clubs, run significant events, such as Field Days, Hamfests, "Hamvention", and Transmitter Hunts (also called "Fox Hunts").

Clubs, especially local and specialist ones, can play an important role in mentoring (or "Elmering") new Amateurs. They my be able to provide practical assistance with setting up equipment.

National Associations

Many countries have a peak body which represents the Amateur community, including to the national government, which regulates the hobby. (Some are more successfully than others.)

The largest groups publish high quality magazines which also appeal to Amateurs beyond their borders, and thus have large numbers of overseas members.

* A reference to radio equipment which can receive between the "dits" and "dahs" of transmitted Morse code, allowing interruption to request re-transmission, or for emergency traffic.

State groups - Australia

When the WIA changed from a federal body, with branches in each state and major territory, to a single national company, some state divisions voted themselves out of existence, while others, especially those with significant broadcast facilities, continued as the lead body within their state.

The ARRL have large "Divisions", and smaller "Sections". Sections are often a state, but may be a portion of a state. In some cases Division boundaries may also divide a state.


These provide a social group for local Amateurs. Some run a local repeater, others provide training and examination services, some form teams to take part in contests. Some have permanent clubrooms, with an extensive station with capabilities on many bands, and modes of operation; others meet at a community or scout hall, or SES training rooms.

For the UK: British Clubs & Links from ML&S. There are some dead links.

I am unsure how many groups are continuing COVID-19 practices by streaming meetings via Facebook, Jitsi, etc, also making it possible to take part in a meeting beyond normal travelling distance.

If a web search for "amateur radio + your location" is unhelpful, finding your national association may be helpful, as there is often a listing of local or affiliated clubs. The IARU region pages below list national bodies.

"Makerspaces" or "Hackerspaces", essentially community technology workshops, in some cases have Amateurs among their membership. An example is Sydney's Robots & Dinosaurs, a play on "R&D", which usually stands for Research & Development.


Some clubs support special technical interests; or are for certain groups of Amateurs. Some are city-wide, some national, others global.

While not strictly a club, The Australian Travellers Net provides an important service to travelling amateurs.

Emergency Communications Support

Around the world there are groups which assist during disasters, and often support community events as part of their training.

In Australia there are groups in each state and territory. They started as sub-committees of the WIA branches, so were named WICEN, standing for "Wireless Institute Civil Emergency Network".
In NSW, for example, WICEN NSW Inc is now an independent group, and part of the VRA. In the past few years this group has supported several searches in remote and rugged bushland.

A directory of WICEN groups can be found here: WICEN

Others are the UK's RAYNET, Ireland's AREN, NZ's AREC, the US's ARES & RACES, plus SATERN and SKYWARN and Canada's ARES.

Many wear green pants, so here are some sources.

Commercial magazines

There are a diminishing number of magazines published by commercial publishers.

From the US, CQ Amateur Radio is a general interest magazine, but as of early 2024 has been on a hiatus for a few months. The company also publishes various Ham books.

From Germany, but in fully bilingual for English readers, DUBUS, is a VHF, UHF, and Microwaves publication.

From the Amateur focused UK Practical Wireless has had some aspects of the more general Radio User integrated. Back issues can be purchases as electronic files. Current electronic and paper issues: Radio Enthusiast. They also have a free email list.

Scans of older issues of many Ham and hobby electronics magazones are available on-line. The old US magazine, styled "ham radio", had many interesting articles.


Many clubs and associations have groups, pages, or accounts on Facebook, Twitter / 𝕏, and image sharing sites.

There are Facebook groups with ranging from global and general, to specific and local (eg VK DMR) to making antennas, to using Motorola radio on Ham bands to emergency support.

I believe it is possible to register an account with the ARRL even if you do not join, and so receive emails from them. This may apply to some other groups.

Mastodon / Fediverse

Mastodon is a "distributed" social media system. To use it you join up with an "instance" or server. You can read, like, and boost content on other servers. Servers can relate to an interest, a personal characteristic, or a location, or various combinations of these, or to an organisations. You can join or apply to a server, or build one yourself. They are named for their domain name, with many in the newer .social or .radio spaces, or in a subdomain of an existing domain.

Ham related examples include the global mastodon.radio, the US-centric mastodon.hams.social, with more listed at fediverse.radio. DARC, the German association provides social.darc.de within its own domain. Beyond Mastodon, in the wider fediverse is lemmy.radio.

You can use a web browser, or an app such as the Tusky.


While we are discussing non-billionaire-owned social media, Tribel is a newer one which I use. It can be used at tribal.com, or via the app.

I have set up a Ham / Amateur Radio group under Hobby & Leisure - Communications when the site was new. There are also some Ham groups under Technology - Communications.


Libraries at various levels hold, or should hold, a range Amateur material. These include public libraries, technical colleges, and universities. Given many are publicly funded, they are generally available to the public, at least for on-site use.

Many public, and some university library use Dewey Decimal, which is a system based around the world of the 1870s. Thus means that all of electrical engineering is in 621.3. Drilling down several steps, Amateur Radio has a number at 621.3841. These cover many be an extra digit or two, or fewer digits (public libraries don't like long numbers), leaving it in Communications engineering or Electronics. While the Dewey manual is copyrighted and pay-walled, a related open system is MDS, and you can see the structure here: Library Thing - MDS - Amateur Radio

In a few cases numbers like 384, Telecommunications under Social sciences gives a number like 384.54. Government regulation documents, including relating to AR might be at 351, or 351.1 (for USA), 351.87454 (for Australia). Radio orienteering, RDF, T-hunting, or "fox-hunting" might be somewhere like 796.58, as a Recreation.

Sometimes additional "subdivisions" are added, such as 01 for "philosophy of", or geographical subdivisions. The latter can be indicated by the addition of 09, 9, or just going straight into the extra digits. For the US it thus may be 0973, 973, or 73. 94 in the position is Australia, 944 is NSW, Wyong & Newcastle is included in 9442. However 44 is France. I have seen at least one case there the geographical 9 was left off, placing a NSW book in the France number (or a northern inland NSW one in Burgundy). 994 the Sun, so a bonus 9 would be even weirder. Numbers for things like Remote, Rural, or Urbanised areas are available too. Thus one example is: covering Amateur activity in the US is 384.540973.

Various libraries use Library of Congress Classification, including US and some Australian academic libraries, and others. Amateur Radio books would thus be in the range of TK5101-6720 Telecommunications - Including telegraphy, telephone, radio, radar, television; or perhaps TK9900-9971 Electricity for amateurs. Amateur constructors' manuals.

Radio propagation lives around 621.38456 or QC661 (LOC). It is possible some radio books may turn up in Science numbers such as 537 or 538, for electricity or magnetism.

National, and State or Territory libraries are "legal deposit" libraries, which means that publishers are required to lodge their publications with them. This is a way to prove their copyright. Several amateur publishers have been slack in this area, and while they might not lose their copyright, they can't simply show an accession date, should someone publish items "relying too heavily" on their material.

The State Library of NSW does hold various historic and current magazines, and these are available from their collections for in-library use, and for limited copying. Noting some material is in off-site storage, you can search for material before visiting at: sl.nsw.gov.au

I am not sure that Classification number lists are the most efficient way to locate material, when catalogues are available both online, and in libraries. Of even greater value are "union catalogues" which enable searching across a country, etc. In Australia "TROVE" is a service of the National Library, with material held in many public, TAFE, and university libraries listed. See: trove.nla.gov.au. For UK academic libraries search: discover.libraryhub.jisc.ac.uk. WorldCat is a global version: search.worldcat.org

In the US the Library of Congress in Washington DC is the de-facto national library, open to the public, noting that security screening is in place, and DC has restrictions on weapons. See: loc.gov/

You can also request that your local public library orders Amateur manuals, antenna books, and the like. You may also be able to borrow in in inter-library loan. Organisations such as TAFEs can transfer material between their libraries too.


The International Amateur Radio Union represents Amateurs to ITU-R, and assists in the development of Amateur Radio globally and regionally. It consists of a global body, and three regional bodies, reflecting the three regions of the ITU. The sites also list member societies, so can help you find yours.

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Written by Julian Sortland, VK2YJS & AG6LE, January 2024

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