MyAmateurRadio.com, The Practical Amateur Radio Podcast and Become A Ham

Q What is the purpose of MyAmateurRadio.com and The Practical Amateur Radio Podcast?

A  This is really a personal purpose.  Amateur radio is an important hobby for me.  It’s been a life-long journey for me to get where I am.  I have no desire to earn a living through this website or the podcast.  It’s all about my being able to pay-it-forward and help my fellow amateurs.  The content available through MyAmateurRadio.com is and always will be free.  If you would like to help offset my monthly hosting costs, please read the information below about advertising, sponsorship and donations. 

Q  When did The Practical Amateur Radio Podcast debut? 

A  The Practical Amateur Radio Podcast debuted on May 7, 2008.  As of October 2012 over 115 audio and video podcast episodes have been produced.

Q  How do I listen to the Practical Amateur Radio Podcast?

A  There are many ways to listen to the podcast.  You can download/listen through iTunes and if you have an iPod/iPhone you can sync the podcast to your device and listen to the podcast on a plane, on a train or just about anywhere.  You can also listen to the podcast directly from the MyAmateurRadio.com website.  Just look to the right.  You’ll see a menu box titled categories.  The podcasts are organized by the year they were released.  Once you locate a podcast you want to listen to, an audio player should be just above.  Click the play button.

If you have a web-enabled mobile device like an iPhone, Blackberry or other smart phone device, you can now stream our podcasts direct by visiting http://mobile.myamateurradio.com.

Q How frequently is the podcast released? 

A At the present time, I produce 1 episode per month of the regular practical amateur radio podcast (the educational version).  However, I create a weekly podcast titled PARP + which includes many of the on-air special event stations, contests and the great face to face hamfests/conventions for the week and weekend.     

Q How long is a typical episode and why are they not longer?

A An average episode of the Practical Amateur Radio Podcast is between 30 and 45 minutes in length.  If I had to guess what my average was if I calculated it out, it would probably be around 35 minutes.  While each podcaster has his/her own reason for creating a short episode versus a longer episode, I conducted a little research and determined that the average commute time was 24.3 minutes.  Yes I realize many of you are in the car, on a bus etc. for much longer.  But this is the national average as provided by the US Government.  I wanted to provide content which could be consumed in one session.  Meaning, if my podcast episodes were 60 minutes or more and your commute was only 30 minutes, you would have to stop the episode and resume it later. 

PARP+ episodes are typically much shorter and average around 15 minutes in length.  The idea is I realize many of you are busy and may not have time to review all the special event and contest calendars.  Having this information provided to you in an audio edition you can listen to on your commute, will hopefully help you.

Q How much production time goes into an epsiode of the Practical Amateur Radio Podcast?

A Let me just say, a lot.  🙂  I spend anywhere from 10-12+ hours researching, planning, producing (including script writing, recording and all post production work) for each episode I release.  This may sound like a lot to some people, but I pride myself in the accuracy of information and before I talk about it, I’ve often researched, cross-referenced that research, read and read again all the information before I sit down to record.

The PARP+ editions typically only require about 90 minutes of my time to research special event, contest and hamfest schedules then record and edit the show.   

Q Do you prepare and read from a script?

A Yes absolutely.  I figure if reading from a script is good enough for the evening news and Jay Leno’s monolog, it would be good enough for me.  100% of the information in a typical 30-45 minute podcast episode is read from a script I prepare before hand.  Believe it or not, public speaking is not the easiest thing for me.  Preparing a script and sticking to it will help eliminate the huh’s and ah’s which drive most people (including myself) crazy.  This also saves on post-production time.  The process works for me and it ensures I deliver the most accurate information to you the listener.         

Q Who is behind MyAmateurRadio.com and The Practical Amateur Radio Podcast?

A  My name is Jerry Taylor, KD0BIK.  I am 46 years old, married with three cats and live in Denver, Colorado.  My primary hobby is amateur radio.  I work for Oracle as a Technology Manager.  You can learn more about Jerry here.  I also blog about amateur radio between podcasts.

Q  What future plans are in store for MyamateurRadio.com and The Practical Amateur Radio Podcast?

A  Well…(yes I know, that is a deep subject) I have a ton of ideas and a growing spreadsheet listing and documenting them all.  Many of these ideas are to just keep both the podcast and the supporting website fresh and popular.  However, I also have many, many ideas that I hope to be able to share in time.  One plan which I will share is you can expect more supplemental videos throughout 2012/13.  I really enjoyed producing the supplemental APRS video and have sketched out a list of topics I plan to cover in both an audio only podcast and the supplemental video concept.  Rest assured that both the podcast and website will be around for many years to come.

Q  Can I play podcast episodes at my club meetings or broadcast podcast episodes over a repeater?

A  The answer to both of these questions is YES.  Please share The Practical Amateur Radio Podcast with as many of your friends and club members.   

Q  I only have dial-up access or no computer, can I get your podcast on CD?

A  Yes, I can provide volume 1 through volume 4 on CD-ROM.  There is absolutely no charge.  However, a small donation to cover the cost of postage would be appreciated.  To request a copy of volume 1 through volume 4, please contact me and provide your mailing address.  A partial version of volume 5 will be available after July 1. 

Q  Can I modify or use your podcast or website for any commercial purpose or can I modify your podcast and make it my own?

A  This may sound like a silly question to place in an FAQ.  The only modification I grant permission for is in the sole purpose of broadcasting the content over amateur radio where removing any commercial content is removing the chance of being in violation of your licensing authority.  

Using this content for commercial gain or any other modification is not allowed.  The Practical Amateur Radio Podcast, MyAmateurRadio.com and all content associated is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.

Q  What awards and/or recognition has The Practical Amateur Radio Podcast received?

A  No awards yet!  However, The Practical Amateur Radio Podcast has been featured in CQ, QST and Practical Wireless magazines and Jerry has made guest appearances on Ted Randall’s QSO Shortwave Radio Program and Podcast and the ICQ Podcast.  The Practical Amateur Radio Podcast is also heard on repeater systems across Australia and Tasmania via Spectrum Tasmania.

Q  Where do the majority of The Practical Amateur Radio Podcast listeners and MyAmateurRadio.com visitors live?

A  According to Google Analytics, visitors from over 5 Continents, 57 different countries, and over 1000 different cities visit the website and listen to the podcast.  Of course, the majority of our visitors are from the US with the UK, Canada, Ireland, and Australia all making up the top 5.  We also receive regular visits from India, Russia, China and Japan just to name a few.  The bottom line is amateur radio is a global hobby and I’m focused on trying to provide content which is useful regardless where a fellow ham calls home.

Q  Do I need an iPod or other MP3 Player to listen to the Practical Amateur Radio Podcast?

A  No, you do not need any type of secondary device to listen to the podcast.  However, many of our listeners enjoy listening to the podcast during their commute or on a plane or train or bus….or even in their car.  You can stream the podcast direct from MyAmateurRadio.com.  Each episode has its own embedded flash player.  Just click play, sit back and listen. 

Q  What are podcast giveaways and how do I win?

A  Podcast giveaways are items which have been donated to The Practical Amateur Radio Podcast by individuals and by our awesome sponsors.  These items usually consist of t-shirts and caps.  But they can also be other items as well.  In 2009, we gave away a set of exam prep cards provided from Flash and Pass.  We also gave away a couple of monogram call sign caps compliments of CallSignWear.com.  Finally, a couple of lucky listeners received handcrafted solid-wood callsign plaques from HamPlaques.com. It is my hope to be able to bring you more giveaway items like this again in the near future.

The way to win is always announced during the podcast episode.  In most cases, I ask you to send me an email by a certain date.  After that date I take all the emails I received and have my wife draw the lucky winner.  I then contact the lucky winner via email to discuss the particulars of sending the item. 

Q  What happened to the podcast giveaways?

A  Simply put, I ran out of items to giveaway.  But…we have some super listeners who are sending aid ASAP.  I hope to get the podcast giveaways rolling again very soon.

Q  I have a question or comment, how do I contact you?

A  You may contact me one of several ways.  We have a brand new Google Voice listener line.  If you look on the right-hand side of the main page you’ll see a “Call Me” button.  If you click that button, you be prompted to enter your name and your telephone number.  You can select to keep your number private.  Google Voice will call you and then connect you to my Google Voice voicemail account.  Please leave your name, your call sign (if you have one) and then leave your comment or question.  I encourage everyone to use this feature.  It is absolutely free, it’s fast and it does allow me to easily mix in your voicemail into podcast content.    

Alternatively, you can use the Contact Us link on the left-hand side.  This form will send your question or comment and copy you.  Third, my email address is kd0bik @ arrl.net. 


MyAmateurRadio.com Accounts

Q  Do I need to register for a MyAmateurRadio.com account to listen to your podcast?

A  No,  there is no need to register for an account to access content.  All content is available without an account.. 

Q  Once I register for an account on MyAmateurRadio.com, do you SPAM me with a bunch of useless garbage?

A  No, my promise to you is I will never share, sell or make available to anyone your email contact information.  In addition, I will never SPAM you with useless garbage. I do occassionally send an email announcing a new podcast has been released.  But this is the extent of the email communications you will receive from MyAmateurRadio.com.


Become A Ham

Q  What is the “Become A Ham” section of the website about?

A  The “Become A Ham” is an audio study program designed to assist someone preparing for either the US Technician or US General amateur radio exams. 

Q  Is the “Become A Ham” section of the website free?

A  Yes, the “Become A Ham” section is available to all visitors of MyAmateurRadio.com

Q  How can I be notified when new content is added to the “Become A Ham” section?

A  Subscribe to either of the US Technician or US General RSS feeds.

Q What is the 2010 Technician Audio Study?

A This is another feature of MyAmateurRadio.com and the Practical Amateur Radio Podcast Become A Ham feature.  This audio program covers all of the questions in the exam question pool.  Use it much like you use flash cards.

Q What is the 2011 General Audio Study?

A This is another feature of MyAmateurRadio.com and the Practical Amateur Radio Podcast Become A Ham feature.  This audio program covers all of the questions in the exam question pool.  Use it much like you use flash cards.

Q Will there be an Extra Class Audio Study Program?

A Unfortunately, No not at this time.  If you’ve already started to prepare for the amateur extra exam then you know the question pool is much larger than the technician and general pools.  In addition, the number of questions which refer back to a diagram also number more than the other two pools.  Finally, I just don’t have the time right now to tackle this project.

Q  Will the Technician, General and Extra Audio Study programs be updated as the question pools change?

A Yes, of course.  The question pools are valid for four years.  Once I record and release the extra class material with the new 2012 – 2016 question pool, I’ll have a year off and then pickup with re-recording the technician class audio material based on the 2014 – 2018 question pool.

Q How long did it take to record the technician and general class audio program?

A I estimate the technican and general class audio programs (including pre-recording research, recording, post-production editing and all website work) has over 60 hours of effort. 

Q Do you plan to include other countries in the Become A Ham audio program?

A At the present time, No.  However, if you are interested in doing something like this for your countries license program, I would be more than happy to discuss hosting the material and making it available to all.       

Q  Are you writing a book about how to get started in amateur radio?

A  Shhhhh, Yes…but don’t tell anyone just yet.  Before I created the Practical Amateur Radio Podcast I was writing a journal of how I became interested in amateur radio as a young boy and my experiences of finally taking the exam and getting on the air some 30 years later.  The journal project was shelved to make time to launch the podcast.  One of my 2011 New Year’s Resolutions was to pickup where I left off on the journal project…but expand the scope and turn it into a book.  But don’t worry, this won’t be just another text based book project.  It will be much, much more.

Q  When will the book be available?

A  This is a very good question.  I suppose I could say the book will be ready, when it is ready.  But in all honesty…the entire Become A Ham project (which the book is only a small part) is a fairly big project and I have a lot of ideas.  I work on it when I have time and while it was a 2011 NewYear’s Resolution to get the book project started…the resolution was just to get it started.  At this point in time I would say sometime in 2013 or 2014. 




Advertising, Sponsorship and Donations

Q  Why do some podcast episodes include advertising and some do not?

A  There was a brief time where I took on a sponsor in an effort to earn revenue to cover all costs and not require any support through donations of listeners.  Episodes recorded in early 2010 do feature a short 60-90 second advertisment.  I am no longer seeking any advertising or sponsorships in this form.  I believe the spirit of amateur radio means all knowledge, tips and such that I could ever share via this podcast should be available at no cost to the listeners and be 100% commercial free.

Q In some podcast episodes I heard a commercial for GoToMeeting.  What’s up with that?

A  In an effort to allow a very brief 30-60 second commercial sponsor announcement, cover all internet hosting expenses ($489.69 per year) I brought in a company who was interested in sponsoring the podcast.  The sponsor was mentioned in approx. 8-12 episodes in the April/May 2010 timeframe.

Q  You stopped accepting sponsorships in 2010, but resumed in 2012.  Why did this happen?  Have you once again sold  out?

A  First, I never “sold out” in 2010 and I’m not “selling out” in 2012.  The circumstances from 2010 are very much different from what they are today in 2012 and beyond.  While my hosting costs absolutely have not increased in the past three years, I have been asked to attend Pacificon in the fall of 2012 to participate in a panel forum to discuss new media Elmering.  This is an incredible opportunity for me and for the podcast.  However, I will have various costs which I’m hoping to offset via the new sponsorship opportunites in 2012.

Q  Am I trying to earn a living podcasting about amateur radio?  What exactly will the sponsorship revenue be used for?

A  I am absolutely NOT, trying to earn a living or supplement my income through podcasting about amateur radio.   I’m extremely blessed to have a great job, working for a great company and doing what I truly enjoy doing.  Amateur radio is my primary hobby and podcasting about amateur radio is simply an extension of it.  Having said that, As I have already addressed above, I do have recurring costs associated to making the podcast available. 

While some will tell me it is no one’s business what I use the revenue for.  I do want to be open and honest about this.  Whether you choose to believe me is up to you.  All revenue earned through direct sponsorships will go to cover costs.  These costs are web hosting and costs associated with travel etc.  Anything extra will be used to further promote the hobby of amateur radio.  This might be a donation to a local amateur radio club, it might be the purchase of a study guide for the purpose of a giveaway and it might simply be used to upgrade/replace the equipment used to create the podcast. 

Q  Do you accept donations?

A  YES I DO!  If you feel you’ve received some value from this website, from the audio podcasts or the video supplements and would like to help support my efforts, I will gladly accept the help.  We currently accept Paypal donations.  If you look on the top menu bar of the website you’ll see a Support tab, click that tab and look for the yellow donate button.  Clicking that yellow donate button will take you to Paypal.  Any amount is appreciated.

2012-03-14 Due to popular demand, I’ve reinstated the donate button.

Q  What if I don’t have a Paypal account?

A  I fully understand some do not want to use Paypal.  At this time, Paypal is the only way you can donate electronically.  While I don’t encourage you to mail cash, I will gladly accept a check, money order or even cash if that is how you want to help.  My address is good on QRZ and Thank You.

Q  How much does it really cost to operate this website and produce the podcast and video content?

A  This is a very good question and I’m glad you’ve asked it.  I can imagine some would not want to answer this question.  But I will.  First, MyAmateurRadio.com is hosted with MediaTemple and I currently use a Grid-Service (GS) type of an account.  If you visit their website, you’ll see that a Grid-Service account is $20.00 per month.  In addition, to the GS account I also use a dedicated MySQL Grid Container.  The dedicated MySQL Grid Container provides fast and reliable database interaction.  This additional service is $20.00 per month.  Finally, I use NameCheap.com as my domain name registrar.  The cost to maintain a .com through NameCheap.com is $9.69 per year.  So as you can tell, the annual cost to operate the website is $489.69.

The equipment I use to produce both the audio podcast and video content is bought and paid for.  The cost to produce the content is my time.  While time is valuable, I will not place a dollar value on it in relation to the podcast or the website and therefore does not become a factor in the total costs.

Q  The annual costs stated above seem like a lot of money.  Isn’t there a cheaper alternative?

A  The cost to host a website ranges anywhere from free to hundreds of dollars per month.  The free or less expensive web hosts work great for a static website or even for a podcast just starting out.  As a matter of fact, for the first 12 months or so, I ran the podcast website on a web host which cost me only $9.99 per month.  This worked fine until the popularity of the podcast and the website started to grow.  As they say, you become a victim of your own success.  YOU the listener were impacted with slow downloads or sometimes even no downloads due to exceeding the available bandwidth.  I needed to take action and move the site to a faster, more reliable hosting provider.  With the web traffic MyAmateurRadio.com is experiencing, the free or less expensive providers just won’t cut it. 

Q  Are there other costs associated with the podcast that are not included in the annual cost number mentioned above?

A  Yes, I estimate when I provide podcast giveaways (typically t-shirts, caps etc.) the costs to send these is approx. $10-$12 per month.  I’m watching these numbers closely in 2010 and will add this to the budget in 2011.   

MyAmateurRadio News

Q  What is MyAmateurRadio News?

A  The MyAmateurRadio News link on the main page just simply shows you all the articles written which have been categorized as “news”.


2011 Statistics

The following statistical data is provided as a courtesy to those who might be interested in sponsoring podcast episodes or those who are just curious and want to know if anyone listens to the podcast and visits the website.

2011 was an incredible year and I’m humbled by all the numbers.  Here’s how 2011 looked.

Total Visits to MyAmateurRadio.com website 114,312
Total Podcast Episodes Produced 10
Total Podcast Downloads 93,824
Most Downloaded Podcast Episode – Ep 26 3542

With your help, we are on track to surpass these numbers in 2012.

Content Contributors

Q  Can I contribute content to MyAmateurRadio.com and the Practical Amateur Radio Podast?

A  At the present time the answer is maybe.  If you or your club has special news you would like to communicate out to the amateur radio community (example special event station), please contact me at least two months prior to the event.

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