Learn how to get involved in club activities

There are so many facets of the Amateur Radio hobby sometimes it can be difficult to know where to get started. At the Bowie Wireless Association, we are committed to getting our members access to the resources required for them to begin using their license for the good of the community. With many club members to reach out to on a variety of topics as well as our handwritten guides, BWA hopes to get you on the air as painlessly as possible!

BWA now has it's own YouTube Channel! For videos about all the below topics, visit https://www.youtube.com/@BowieWirelessAssociation.

Below you will find helpful links and getting started guides for some of the activities the club partakes in on a regular basis. This is a growing knowledgebase that will expand alongside our member's skillsets. If you have specific topics you would like to see listed, please send an email to bowie.wireless+feedback@gmail.com.

Getting your Amateur Radio License

In order to particpate in the hobby, the most basic step to complete is to first get your Amateur Radio License! Getting your license takes just three simple steps: 

Don't let taking a test deter you! As Tim (KB3YQK) always says, "Getting your ham license is getting a license to learn." For detailed instructions on how to obtain your license, study resources, and help finding an exam, visit BWA’s guide to Getting Your License. Upcoming license classes hosted by the AARC can be found here. 

Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES)

The Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) is an ARRL organization that focuses on amateur radio operators providing communication support during emergency situations. Amateur radio operators have the unique capability of being able to communicate with other operators anywhere in the world despite infrastructure failures . Individuals who join ARES are called to serve their communities in times of emergency.

Despite the initial time commitment to become properly trained, your involvment with ARES can be one of the most impactful and meaningful uses of your amateur radio license. To learn how to get involved with the ARES effort here in Prince George's County, visit BWA’s guide to ARES. 

Digital Mobile Radio (DMR)

Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) stands at the forefront of modern communication within the Bowie Wireless Association. DMR is a digital radio protocol that revolutionizes ham radio operations by offering efficient and reliable communication. Unlike traditional analog systems, DMR utilizes time-division multiple access (TDMA) technology, enabling two simultaneous conversations on one frequency. This results in improved spectrum efficiency, allowing our members to engage in clear, crisp conversations over the airwaves. Whether connecting with local hams or participating in global networks, DMR opens up a world of possibilities for our club, fostering a vibrant community of radio enthusiasts pushing the boundaries of communication technology.

To learn how to get started with DMR, watch our instructional video course! 

Digital Modes

Welcome to the fascinating world of amateur radio digital modes! In this dynamic realm, enthusiasts utilize various digital technologies to communicate, opening up a realm of possibilities beyond traditional voice transmissions. Unlike analog methods, digital modes enable the transmission of data in a more efficient and reliable manner. Whether you're interested in chatting with fellow operators worldwide, experimenting with cutting-edge technologies, or participating in digital contests, amateur radio digital modes offer a diverse and engaging experience. Get ready to explore modes like PSK31, FT8, and many others, each with its unique characteristics, as you embark on an exciting journey connecting with fellow ham radio operators across the globe through the power of digital communication.

Learn about digital modes in our detailed guides!

Parks on the Air (POTA)

Parks on the Air (POTA) was created by the ARRL in 2016. At it's core, POTA is a fun way to practice portable amateur radio operations. Hams gather up their gear, take it outdoors to a park, and attempt to make contacts from that location. 

There are two main ways to participate in the POTA hobby:

For more detailed information about the hobby and an in-debth getting started guide, visit BWA’s guide to POTA. 

Satellite Coms

Embark on the exciting world of amateur radio satellite communications! This fascinating hobby empowers operators to connect globally by using radio frequencies to communicate through orbiting satellites. Explore the joy of two-way communication, experiment with diverse equipment, and open a door to an engaging and rewarding adventure in radio technology.

If you are interested in learning about satellite communications, check out Sergio’s (AC3SS) presentation materials. 


SKYWARN is a program that was created by the National Weather Service. The NWS utalizes people all over the country to provide insights into realtime weather information. During events like severe thunderstorms, tornados, and floods, amateur radio operators coordinate nets to communicate hazardous incidents and personally recorded weather station data. 

From an amateur station located within NWS headquarters in Silver Spring, MD, the NWS takes realtime updates from SKYWARN net control operators to assess damage and assist with the dispatching of emergency services.

If you are interested in reporting on dangerous storm effects in your community, visit BWA’s guide to SKYWARN. 

Missing information or suggestions? Feel free to send us an email at bowie.wireless+feedback@gmail.com!