iPhone and Ham Radio


The iPhone has taken the “smart phone” market by storm with something like a 25% market share in a minute. Now, my rule on technology is that I’m into purchasing version 1.1 after the bugs have been worked out. (Example: I am on XP, not Vista, and would wait another year before moving there. Except Microsoft just announced Windows 7 or something…).

In any case, after Apple released the iPhone 3G, I got into the act after watching the YL work with hers for about a month. I can tell you that the phone is truly revolutionary from a use perspective. It is simple to use for just about anything. But what really differentiated the 3G for me was the ability, finally, of getting applications from third parties. There are a ton of applications out there.

Except ham radio.

Now, over on the ARRL Web Site, Surfin’ is up with an article called “I Phone, Therefore I Ham,” a good look at the ability of the iPhone to use applications.

WA1LOU gives a good review of what is out there. But the truth is, what is out there is really just an access to another web site to do your stuff. Sure, you can use an “application” to go look up callsigns — but you can use the imbedded browser on the iPhone to do the exact same thing. Sure, you can use the map and GPS function on the iPhone to find QTH’s, but you can do that in native mode as well.

If you carefully look at what are “applications” for ham radio, most of them are simply portals to information you can find on the web already.

But, a suggestion, however, for all those web sites: build your site for mobile use. Most sites will benefit from signing up for a service to do this and almost all services build the site for a mobile phone and specifically for an iPhone.

Want to see? Access K9JY.com on your mobile phone. What you see is targeted for the mobile screen. And if you have a iPhone, you will get an iPhone version. While this site will automatically detect your mobile or iPhone if you access it that way, you can also bookmark the mobile version of K9JY.com as http://m.k9jy.com and get your stuff a little bit faster.

It is Sweepstakes this weekend. Go rock on some radio.

  • While I do agree many amateur radio apps for the iPhone are just pointers to portal sites, you give no recommendations for the applications you would like to see developed for the iPhone. Any suggestions?

  • I wish I had access to some Kep’s files, Satellite tracking and a few other things. Used to have those on my Treo…

  • @Mike – I would like straight shots at propagation numbers and prediction software, an ability to update logs, beam paths (since the iPhone has GPS in it, it can tell your location), antenna calculations so you can continue to work outside.

  • iPhone ham apps I enjoy:

    GoSatWatch – excellent satellite tracking
    LineCalc – coax loss and impedance transform calcs.
    RF Calc – path loss calcs. and dBm conversions

  • I have been searching the net trying to find a list of apps that are designed with HAM radio in mind. I read your article, and then saw the post from Robert – N6ILC. This is interesting because I download his app 2 days ago (before reading this page), and I have to say the app he built reallly is one of the few apps out there that can be really be called an “app”. He has basically taken the repeater book, and turned in to a useful and easy to use application for the iphone. The fact that it uses GPS to figure out which repeaters are closest to you automagically, is why I would have to say his app is a is one of the first to be classified as a “real app”. I would have to recommend “Freq Finder” to any ham out there with a cell phone.

    Again, I do not know Robert, I do not work for him, with the exception that I purchased the app he created off the app store, and was completly and utterly impressed by it, is the only connection that I have with him.

    Besides this app, I hate to say it, I am still searching trying to find actual “useful” apps that tie the Iphone and HAM radio together.

  • Ham Radio Callsign Lookup
    This webapp provides an iPhone-compatible lookup of Amateur Radio Callsigns. It provides the name, address, and license class (from the FCC’s public records) of any US-Licensed Amateur Radio Operator.

    You can search for individuals or clubs by callsign or name, and even look up someone’s old callsign to find out what the new one is!

    What’s New in this Version
    – Added access for the iPod Touch
    – Added the ability to search from either the beginning of a name or anywhere within a name. This primarily makes it easy to locate clubs with a common name such as “South Bay” or “Microwave”.
    – Added reference links from a trustee to the calls that he/she is the trustee for. This lets you see every club/RACES callsign that someone is the trustee of. Of course, when you look at a club call, you see who the trustee is too.
    – Added links to a new call from a former call; handy for when you know what call someone used to hold but not that new vanity call!
    – Broke super long names (primarily clubs) into two lines and truncated all names at 50 characters to prevent turning the name search results into a big mess.

    Company:Joseph TomasoneURL:Ham Radio Callsign LookupPost Date:January 9, 2008

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