Amateur (Ham) Radio information request follow up from How-To Festival

Hello –

Thanks for stopping by our booth at the How-To Festival back on May 13 at the Louisville Free Public Library.

Ham radio is basically a social/technical/collector/radiosport/experimenters/service/hands-on/indoor or outdoor hobby. The Amateur Radio Transmitting Society is one of the active (non-profit) Ham Radio clubs in the Louisville area – the oldest at 96 years!

This is our website link:

It is helpful to register to this site in order to log in and see the full content listed on the left. (Registering on the web page does not mean you joined a club; but it helps us keep spamming minimized.)

The ARTS Club has monthly meetings on the 2nd Thursday at 7:30 pm at the Jeffersontown Firehouse #2 at 4318 Taylorsville Rd. You are welcome to come and check it out! Park in the back of the building; accessible from the right side. There is a short business/activity planning portion followed by a radio-related presentation.

There are other active Ham Radio clubs in the area as well, such as Bullet Amateur Radio Club and Clark County ARC, with their respective web and Facebook pages. and and and

The primary national organization is called American Radio Relay League which is based in Conn. It has lots of info to get started, current event info, and offers various publications.

In order to obtain a license to transmit, the FCC requires passing a multiple-choice test. (Anybody may receive on any type of radio.) Although still used if you want, there is no longer any Morse Code test. Practicing for the license test is primarily by self-study. There are several resources for this such as the ARRL “License Manual” or from Amazon, also W5YI books.

There are three levels of radio license:

  • Technician      (35 question test / 26 correct to pass)
  • General           (35 questions / 26 to pass)
  • Extra               (50 questions / 37 to pass)

There are several sites having practice questions (that work like old school “flash cards”) such as:

ARRL list

When you can get ~ 75% of the practice questions correct, you are ready for the test! There are local test sessions in Jeffersontown and Sellersberg as well as on-line VE testing. All testing is conducted by Volunteer Examiner teams consisting of Hams acting as agents of the FCC.

Occasionally, a local club will offer a license class. Check on their websites or (ask on their) FB page.  The ARTS is planning on a 9-week General class starting Aug 1, 2023.

The next major operating event coming up is the outdoor Summer Field Day. It is June 24-25, 2023. There are 3~4 clubs setting up in the area. The ARTS venue will be Horine Group Campground of Jefferson Memorial Forest. All are welcome to visit! The curious are invited to actually operate one of the radio stations that will be set up in portable popups at the campground.

Hobby entry pricing is generally $78 to $10K or more. For example, license fee $35 + test fee $15 + a Baofeng handy talkie $27.59 for local VHF (Very High Frequency) communications. For more worldwide HF (aka shortwave radio) use, decent used transceivers usually start at ~$300ish. Much nice equipment is available pre-owned. Much of it can be “googled”. Many Hams like to try the latest then move on to the next, making a nice used market. Some of the prominent suppliers of new equipment are:

And, to see any model ever made:

For example, search “hf transceiver ham radio” on ebay. “QRP” means low power (under 5 watts transmit experimenters sub-hobby) and is not really recommended to get started with for HF (High Frequency). An external antenna is generally required for worldwide HF and can be a no- or low-cost strand of tuned-length wire.

There are events called Hamfests which are basically a flea market along with a few meetings/forums. The next local one is Sept 12, 2023 in Shepherdsville called Greater Louisville Hamfest and their FB link. All are invited. Great place to look for a first radio. There are hamfests every weekend, somewhere.

If there are further questions, please email the club folks found on the CONTACTS page of the club websites, or below.


Greg G.


ARTS club secretary

Paul I.


ARTS club president