Ham Arduino learning is pretty smooth. Most of the ideas will be easy for anyone with an electronics background. And there is a ton of support.
I got my first Arduino for Christmas 2014 and finished my first real project six months later. Over the past few years I have built a wide range of projects including: signal generator, remote motorized magnetic loop, remote MW DX loop, 3D printer and CNC machine. But for the first six months, I just experimented and learned. Your path will be similar.
There are three learning pathways available to the beginner.
- First of all, Google Search and You Tube are your best friends to get started with ham Arduino learning. There are tons of articles and videos at all levels of interest. Everything about Arduino is extensively documented on the web. So much so that I recommend using carefully arranged bookmarks in your browser to organize and retain information. At last count, I have around 300 bookmarks in 25 categories and refer to them often.
- Next, get a few books. These include books about Arduino basics. Check out Amazon or go to you local book store. Most have example projects. ARRL and others have ham Arduino learning resources. Also, it might be useful to have a book about Arduino C programming.
- Finally, talk to your friends. You will likely find a few, including fellow hams, who can mentor and support. My guess is that you will find at least three Arduino users in your local club right away. They can help you learn by doing.
If you live in North America, learn metric. You will find the world runs on metric and metric measurements are used extensively in the maker community. The only exception might be pad spacing on a PCB.
Another important thing: document your projects. Keep a simple notebook or PowerPoint deck to capture things you need to remember. Take pictures with your phone.
Your Club should support Ham Arduino Learning
Most amateur radio clubs have meeting programs, homebrew workshops and shared resources. These are great for learning. You might even invite folks from the local maker community to do presentations or hands-on sessions to teach Arduino. As for shared resources, if you have a club station or workshop, get some Arduino boards and a few books for members to share. You could probably expand your club workbench with Arduino resources for under $100. Books, unfortunately, cost more.
In our next article, we walk through how to program an Arduino. This might be the biggest challenge for a ham, but pretty easy to master at a basic level.