The parts shown below can be found in a basic amateur radio station. Information on how these parts are connected can be found in the article "Setting up an Amateur Radio Station".

Antenna (or aerial) used to receive and transmit radio signals. The size and shape of antennas vary depending on the frequency of the radio waves being transmitted and received.

The antenna shown in the image is used for vertical polarised radio signals. Antennas can also be horizontally polarised, similar to most TV antennas.

Antennas are generally mounted on a mast, to raise the antennas height above the ground. The higher the antennas the better the radio signal strength.

Coaxial Cable used to connect the antenna to the radio transmitting / receiving equipment. Coaxial cable consists of a centre conductor, enclosed with a layer of insulation (dielectric), which is then enclosed in an outside conductor (shield). 

The impedance (AC resistance) of the coaxial cable must match the radio equipment and the antenna. Amateur radio equipment mostly use 50 ohm coaxial cable. 

SWR (Standing Wave Ratio) Meter - used to check that the impedance of the antenna system (antenna and coaxial cable) matches the radio equipment correctly. The SWR meter is connected to the radio transmitter and measures the ratio of radio waves from the transmitter to the antenna (forward power) and radio waves returning (reflected) from the antenna to the transmitter. 

When the antenna is matched (or resonant) at the frequency of the radio transmitter, the amount of reflected power should be minimal, the SWR of no more than 1.5:1. An SWR of more than 2:1 indicates a problem with either the antenna or coaxial cable, which could damage the transmitter.

Transceiver (Transmitter / Receiver) come in many shapes, sizes and types from large, older valve type transceivers, to transceivers designed for use in vehicles (similar to transceiver shown in the image) to portable hand held (walkie talkie) type transceivers.

Transceivers may be designed for use on only one set of frequencies (or band) or two or multiple bands, and for different types of radio signals or modes, such as amplitude modulation (AM), single side band (SSB), frequency modulation (FM), and many digital modes such as packet, ACPO25, D-Star, PSK, WSPR, SSTV, JT65, etc.


Power Cable is used to connect a transceiver to a power supply. Most amateur radio transceivers are designed to be powered from a 12 to 14 volt DC (direct current) power source, as found in most motor vehicles.

The size or cross section area of a power cable determines the ability of the cable to supply current (power) to the transceiver. The larger the cable the current carrying capacity. A transceiver with an output power of 100 watts requires a current supply of 22 Amps.

The red coloured wire is the positive polarity and the black coloured wire is the negative polarity of a DC supply.


Power Supply is used to provide power to a radio transceiver. A typical power supply (as shown in the image) converts the AC mains supply to 13.8 volts DC.

The output current of the power supply should be greater than the current required by the transceiver, to avoid overloading the power supply and distortion of the output radio signal.

Test Meter (multi-meter) can be used to make many electrical measurements such as voltage, current, resistance etc.

A meter can be used to check the output of a power supply is correct, before connecting a transceiver to the power supply, to make sure the voltage and polarity are correct.

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