We'll bet you didn't know that today is World Amateur Radio Day, which is celebrated by radio amateurs on April 18th to commemorate the founding of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) in Paris in 1925. In honor of WARD, here are five apps that seasoned hams (sounds tasty, doesn't it?) and those who are just thinking about getting a license can all enjoy.
Morse Code Guru Lite (free, with in-app purchases; universal)
Knowing the dits and dahs of Morse Code is no longer a requirement for licensure in the United States and a number of other countries, but many radio amateurs still like using CW (Continuous Wave) and Morse Code for low-power, long-distance radio communications. If you'd like to learn Morse Code or at least be able to translate that word in the headline (it's TUAW, by the way), Morse Code Guru Lite is a pretty handy app. In-app purchases can help you to get your code speed up to a respectable level.
RepeaterBook (free, universal)
Two of us here at TUAW are radio amateurs -- Kelly Hodgkins (KB1LLJ) and myself (KC0EZH). While neither of us currently does any long-distance (DX) radio work, we both make use of FM transceivers and local radio repeaters. RepeaterBook is a necessity for anyone making use of the repeater networks in the USA and Canada. Kelly did a full review of RepeaterBook recently that outlines how the app works.
QST (universal, requires subscription)
The organization for radio amateurs in the US is the Amateur Radio Relay League, which just so happens to be celebrating its 100th year of existence in 2014. If you're a member of ARRL, one of the benefits is a subscription to QST Magazine. To read QST on your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, just install this free app and you'll have access to current and past issues.
Amateur Radio Exam Prep: Technician (US$4.99, universal)
So, you're intrigued by the idea of communicating with other people without the need for a monthly cellular plan? The first step toward getting an FCC amateur radio license is to pass the Technician level exam. Amateur Radio Exam Prep provides the test question pool for the technician exam so you can take sample exams. I recommend, however, that you also look at the excellent books by Gordon West so you actually understand what the answers mean...
PSKer (US$2.99, universal)
Once you have your license and then move up through the ranks of General or perhaps even Extra class, you might want to get into some of the fun digital modes. A great way to do that is just to put your iPhone or iPad next to your HF transceiver and have PSKer decode (or send) the squawks of the digital PSK-31 mode. It's almost like magic to hear a faint warbling translate into a message from somebody 5,000 miles away.
Those are our choices for World Amateur Radio Day. See you on the air! 73!
- Key specs
- Form factor Tablet
- Operating system iOS (8)
- Screen size 9.7 inches
- Storage type Internal storage (16 GB, Flash)
- Maximum battery life Up to 10 hours
- Dimensions 9.4 x 6.6 x 0.24 in
- Weight 0.96 lb
- Announced 2014-10-16
Apple iPhone 6s