How to Make Ham Radio Contacts on a High Frequency Band
Your big moment approaches! You’re ready to use your ham radio to make contact with other ham radio operators. To show you how to do this, these examples use the call signs NØAX and KD7FYX, respectively Replace the call sign with your own.
Follow these steps when tuning one of the HF bands:
Find someone to talk to.
For this example, use a voice contact. When you come across a fellow ham who’s making a general “Come in, anybody” call, you’ve found someone who’s calling CQ. This situation is the easiest way for you to make a contact. You’ll hear something like this: “CQ CQ CQ, this is November Zero Alfa X-ray, standing by . . .”
November, Alfa, and X-ray are phonetics that represent the letters of the speaker’s call sign. Phonetics are used because many letters sound alike (think B, E, T, and P), and the words help get the exact call sign across.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has standard phonetics that hams use. You may encounter alternatives, such as Germany instead of Golf. When in doubt, respond or call with the phonetics used by the station you want to contact.
Carefully note the other ham’s call sign, and respond (come back).
Press the microphone button and say something like this: “November Zero Alfa X-ray, this is Kilo Delta Seven Foxtrot Yankee X-ray [repeat twice more], over.”
Give the calling station’s call sign once (you don’t have to repeat it; the other ham already knows it) and then give yours three times — a setup known as a 1-by-3 call. If the calling station is strong, you can give your call twice instead of three times — a 1-by-2 call.
You don’t need to shout. Just speak in a normal, clear voice.
Listen for a response.
You may hear something like this: “KD7FYX [possibly in phonetics] from NØAX, thanks for the call. Your signal report is. . . .” When you do, you have a QSO in your logbook!
Letter Phonetic Letter Phonetic A Alfa N November B Bravo O Oscar C Charlie P Papa D Delta Q Quebec E Echo R Romeo F Foxtrot S Sierra G Golf T Tango H Hotel U Uniform I India V Victor J Juliet W Whiskey K Kilo X X-ray L Lima Y Yankee M Mike Z Zulu