eBooks of the popular weekly podcast

Six years in the making, after much prodding from fellow amateurs, the transcripts of the weekly podcast "Foundations of Amateur Radio" (and its predecessor "What use is an F-call?") are now available as a series of eBook volumes on Amazon to bring together the over 400 different episodes covering topics about our amazing hobby. Short discussions about hundreds of different topics outlining the thousand different hobbies that amateur radio represents.

Starting in the wonderful hobby of Amateur or HAM Radio can be daunting. Using low power with little experience is challenging but can be very rewarding. Originally published as a weekly podcast, each volume contains a year of edited audio podcast transcripts, each article looks at a different aspect of the hobby, how you as a beginner might fit in and get the very best from the hobby.

In these pages I outline many of the amazing attributes and activities that a beginning or aspiring amateur can discover with the base level license - in Australia the "Foundation" or "F-call" license.

My aim is to inspire and encourage new entrants into our community and to rekindle the fire for old hams, to explore and experience all that we have to offer without fear of failure. I share my own journey through this experience and explain what I’ve learned along the way about the hobby, the community, the science and technology.

de Onno VK6FLAB

Join the hobby

Volume 1: Join the hobby

In this volume you'll follow my initial journey through the community, what to buy when you start, how to participate in the community, things to practice, what the first steps look like once you have a license, playing in radio contests, encouragement and sharing.

Available on Amazon Kindle now.

Find the spark

Volume 2: Find the spark

In this volume you'll follow the second year of my journey through the hobby of amateur radio, what's the point of Morse code, making contacts during lunch, Magnetic Loop Antennas, keeping your shack tidy, the identity of your callsign and more.

Available on Amazon Kindle now.

Share the fun

Volume 3: Share the fun

In this volume you'll follow the third year of my journey, how to make contacts on HF, how to go on-air QRP, propagation planning, how to deal with trolls, online resources and more.

Available on Amazon Kindle now.

Just get started

Volume 4: Just get started

In this volume you'll follow my journey through the amateur radio community, how to use QSL cards, mobile antennas on HF, licensing requirements, policing the airwaves, the super check partial list, packing up coax, lightning protection and more.

Available on Amazon Kindle now.

Getting on air

Volume 5: Getting on air

In this volume you'll read about the perfect SWR, how to become a better operator, what batteries to use, the difference between a propagation forecast and reality, the phonetic alphabet, antenna compromises, Q-codes and more.

Available on Amazon Kindle now.

Joy of discovery

Volume 6: Joy of discovery

In this volume you'll read about microphone technique, the dead band, propagation maps, melting coax, amateur radio satellites, strange antennas, self-training, SOTA adventures and more.

Available on Amazon Kindle now.

Test yourself

Volume 7: Test yourself

In this volume you'll read about how various digital modes work, measuring your station performance, how waterfalls work, what SSB really is, how much loss there is in a connector and much more.

Available on Amazon Kindle now.

By the same author

Article: What computer should I buy?: 5 basic questions to help you pick the best solution for you.

In this article, you are guided through the process of choosing a computer without resorting to buzz words. Included is decision making about desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile phones, because really, they're all computers.

As a bonus, some of the technical terms you're going to come across are explained, including what the various numbers mean on the sales pitch and what to look at when comparing computers.

Written in basic terms without resorting to buzz words by an experienced teacher, you will quickly get through the process of selecting the right technology for you.

(Article: 7,400 words)

Article: Keep Breathing ... Already: Flying an ultralight on your own for the first time

One morning I was doing circuits with my flight instructor when he asked me if I thought I could do this without his assistance. I thought about it and said "yes". This is the story about what happened next.

(Article: 1500 words)

About the author

Based in Perth, Western Australia, Onno Benschop is an unashamed geek with a history of explaining complex topics to decision makers. He runs his consultancy from home, wherever that happens to be, offering advice, recommendations and solutions to clients around the world, face-to-face or via the Internet. With a background in software development, radio broadcasting and public speaking, Onno often finds himself solving problems for clients that others have been unable to.

Amateur radio started as a hobby to get away from computing and has transformed into an adventure that shows no signs of letting up. Licensed in Australia with a Foundation License, Onno (VK6FLAB) produces a weekly podcast, "Foundations of Amateur Radio", co-produces the weekly local amateur radio news and co-hosts a net called "F-troop" for new and returning amateurs.

In his spare time, Onno participates in hackathons, contributing to society with data analytics, teaching and public speaking.