Tools and Links

Here we’ve collected links to web sites and products that radio amateurs may find interesting and useful. If you are learning about electronics, be sure to check out “Simple Electronic and Circuit Projects” on this page: All About Circuits.


ARRL is a national ham-radio association. It publishes journals like QST that covers general ham-radio interests and QEX that covers technical experimentation. It also helps promote and protect the hobby and organizes contests. It publishes amateur-radio frequency allocations.

Software Tools

Station control and logging tools available include N1MM and HRD.

Tools to help learning Morse Code include G4FON for beginners and Morse Runner for the more serious wanting to learn contesting skills. The ARRL offers introductory material, and provides On-The-Air listening practice sessionsAmateur Operators (CW Elmers) that can help the new Ham become code-proficient can be found via FISTS.

Digital mode decoders (PSK, TTY, CW) include MM TTY, CW Skimmer, and for the adventurous Multi PSK. Decoders for the MAC include Cocoa Modem.

Several antenna-design software tools are available. EZNEC and 4NEC2X run on MS Windows; Cocoa NEC runs on Mac platforms. With them, antenna designs can be entered and simulated. Some of these tools have a limited “introductory” capability; purchasing of a full version lets you simulate more complex antennas.

Electronic Circuit Simulators are tools which, given an input circuit design, can perform an electrical simulation of its behavior. Some of these tools are available for free and some for purchase. Many are based upon the original SPICE tool. Popular models include LTSpice.

Contests and Clubs

There are many contests staged through the year. Some of the more popular include ARRL Sweep-stakes and the California QSO party.

Clubs sponsoring events include NCCC and SKCC.

For those desiring a classic experience, consider the AMI or the MRCG.


Amateur Radio Kit Roundup is a blog post by W2NDG that lists 29 kit sources (when counted on May 25, 2012). Most of the kits highlighted are transmitters and/or receivers, but some of the featured manufacturers have non-transceiver kits, too.

Elecraft is a local Aptos-based company that makes amateur-radio equipment and kits. It is known for its K1 ultraportable, K2 CW-SSB-kit, and K3 competition-grade transceivers.

ICOM and YAESU provide a full range of Amateur equipment ranging from QRP portables and mid-power mobile to high-power world-class contest stations.

Flex Radio offers a line of software-defined radios. Ten-Tec offers a range of products.


A full range of components can be found at Mouser and Digi-Key. Classic components are at TubeAndMore. Many types of special tubes and components can be found at RF Parts.

Surplus and Used components are offered locally by Excess Solutions and nationally by SSN and FairRadio.

Refurbished test equipment (Tek, HP) is sold by Sphere.

Local suppliers include Ham Radio Outlet and Santa Cruz Electronics.

Manuals & Documentation

Various information for ICOM and YAESU are available.

Classic Radio gear is documented on the EDEBRIS site.


Some miscellaneous items-of-interest are found on the wonderous web.

  1. EHam Radio Calculator
  2. whole bunch of stuff by W1WC
  3. DXZone utilities
  4. Wire Guage calculator