Get on the Air

Came across an old article I wrote some time ago for VA3CTA and decided to crosspost it here. The article was addressed to the newly licensed hams.

Every weekend, rain or shine, there is a great opportunity to be active on ham radio! Participate in a net, in a contest, call CQ on shortwaves or VHF, or just talk to somebody on a linked repeater – there is always an opportunity to meet a ham operator, exchange knowledge, promote fraternalism, and improve operators efficiency.


Many hams actively monitor repeaters activity so you can enjoy a quick chat, road or emergency assistance, or address a technical question.

If you’re new to repeaters – RAC has a good page on procedures and etiquette:

RepeaterBook has an up-to-date list of GTA repeaters:

There in Android app for that too:

If you prefer a hardcopy (may be outdated!) – contact VE3AYR or stop by a local hamfest / fleamarket to buy one.


There are several daily ARES nets running in GTA / Ontario area. For some hams, this is the only opportunity to be radio-active so join the nets and keep the nets active! There is no centralized list and all info is usually scattered along clubs websites – this page is an attempt to collect most up-to-date information in one place.


Contests are a great opportunity to hone your operating skills and meet many great stations and operators on the air. These are sporting competitions between amateur stations on specific bands and modes according to simple published rules.

If you are new to HF or the contests, please make sure to read Ethics and Operating Procedures by IARU and check this introduction here.

Many contests are informal and easy-going. The QRP (low power) contests can even be participated in from a park or camping setting. They are a great way to improve your CW skills – check out SKCC, Run for the beacon QRP contests

There are also several annual Canadian contests:

To find up-to-date information on more contests, special event stations, and state/provincial QSO parties, check these resources:

RAC has also lots of good links to contesting resources –

Useful links

UTC Time and Propagation info

Grid Square Convertor

Great Circle Path Calculator


About va3paw
Ham radio enthusiast, software developer

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