Congratulations on getting your Ham license !! Now that you have it you might be wondering what's next? One way to get started is join a club. Often you can find one or more club members with the same interests as you that will be more than willing to help you get started. A great place to find local clubs and tons of more information is the American Radio Relay League website. And we encourage you to join the ARRL.
If you're a new Ham Radio licensee, you should get you license and call sign in about 10 to 14 days or sooner ! The FCC will email you as soon as soon as the application is approved. And you can check your application at the FCC License Manager website. It's important and fun to listen in on local repeaters to get familiar with how we talk on the radio and the different lingo used. For instance, using the phonetic alphabet to spell out your call sign because it can be hard to differentiate between certain letters. There are some useful apps you can put on your phone to help you learn the NATO Phonetic Alphabet.
Is your repeater quiet a lot of the time? The trick is to figure out when people are talking, like in the morning or evening driving to and from work, or in the evenings during nightly nets. Don't be afraid to put your call sign out there. Simply say your call sign followed by "listening". There are many awesome hams out there that are just listening and will call you back.
Checking into 'nets' is another great way to get accustomed to talking on your radio as well as to make sure your equipment is working properly. "Nets" are regularly scheduled check in's where you listen and may 'check in' simply by saying 'Net control please check in KO4xxx (your call sign) and whatever other information the net control operator asks for, like your name or location. Nets are generally open to anyone who would like to check in. There are a lot of very nice hams out there who are more than willing to help new hams figure things out ! You can find out more about our nets on the Repeaters & Nets page on this website.
One thing that tends to confuse a lot of new Hams is that you might be able to hear a repeater on your HT (Handy Talkie) but you aren't able to talk to it. This can be because transmitting is a function of power and the effectiveness of your antenna. So don't get discouraged if you find you can listen but can't transmit. Keep trying different repeaters until you find one you can reach. Take a look at the RepeaterBook website as well as their app for a massive, searchable list of repeaters.
The main thing to remember is to have fun !
At first there seem to be a lot of etiquitte, language and practices that are unfamiliar, but listen and check in .. you'll learn a lot just by doing that.
We wish you the best of luck in your journey as a Ham !