Technical Articles

Ham Radio Apps for Apple iPod, iPad, and iPhone

I previously wrote an article about ham radio software for the Mac. I started adding some Apple details as well but quickly realized there was entirely too much information, and iPod/iPad/iPhone applications were going to need their own article. This is that companion piece.

Some “Must Have” Radio Apps

Repeater Book

This free repeater database app for iPhone and iPad includes repeaters from 35 countries and is available in five languages. The Repeater Book app uses the GPS technology built into your phone to quickly collect and reference local repeaters on any mode or band. This is a fantastic way to keep track of repeaters as you travel around the world. There’s no network connection required to use this service. In addition, you can choose between a range of search, selection, display, and sorting options.

Police Scanner

This app lets you tap into the largest collection of live police, firefighter, aircraft, railroad, marine, emergency, and ham radios.

License Prep

There are many apps to help you to study for your U.S. amateur radio license. Often, these apps are designed by volunteer examiners or sponsored by major radio outlets.

The most popular seems to be There is a small cost of $3.99 for the app, but it’s well worth the money if you want to feel totally prepared for your upcoming test. The intelligent study mode tracks your progress as you prepare and shows you handy statistics so you can track your progress.

I personally used Amateur Radio Exam Prep ($4.99). This app is simple, adaptive, and keeps track of the elements and questions you incorrectly answer. While it costs $4.99 per exam (Tech, General, and Extra), you can try the free version first, which allows you to explore and learn two of the exam elements before buying.

Amateur Radio Tools

Ham Radio Reference ($1.99) is a simple app that puts a few vital pieces of information in front of you. It has a simple list with all the Q codes, United States and Canadian amateur band limits, country codes, band plans, radiogram numbered messages, grid square and location, local and UTC time, RST, the phonetic alphabet, unit abbreviations, metric prefixes, and more. Also, check out HamIAm that is free to use.

QRZ has a free app for iPhone and iPad. It lets you search the callsign database from your mobile device. Completely free, this app gives you instant access to more than 1.5 million radio callsigns across the globe. You can also tap into a variety of easy sharing options through text, email, and more.

The QRZ app is a little basic, but it makes it much more convenient to look up various callsigns and pieces of information. You can unlock instant compass bearing directions and QSL information for every callsign.


HamAlert makes it easy to get alerts on stations, regions, DX, etc. for which you’d like to make a QSO. It collects information from various reporting databases on the net and puts all of that information together in an app available for free in iOS.

ARRL Magazines

ARRL membership includes online access to four magazines, each with its own unique content. Members can also enjoy these magazines on their mobile device with the ARRL Magazines app for iOS.


Zello is an instant, Nextel-style push to talk communication app that uses your mobile broadband connection to exchange short audio messages. The app lets you talk one-on-one to a single person or in a channel with a group of people. It requires a Zello account that is available for free.

Morse Code Learning

There are also many different applications available for learning or decoding Morse code. The apps are fun for ham enthusiasts who want to learn more about Morse code and how to use it.


There are several usable programs for APRS. New ones keep popping up and will hopefully cater to the needs of the individual users. All of the apps tend to be free for RX but pay according to terms for TX. Mentionable apps include:

          Watch APRS Position Tracker

          APRS Pro

          Pocket Packet

I have APRS Pro. With its built-in 300/1200 baud TNC audiomodem, you can optionally connect your iPhone directly to an HF or VHF radio and work APRS (TX/RX) without cellular coverage. If you don’t have a radio, the app will use the APRS-IS via the internet, or you can use both systems simultaneously and gate RF traffic to IS, giving your contribution to the APRS-IS network. A digipeater is also included.


There are quite a few apps out there for logging as well. Ranging from free to a few dollars, there are many options to explore. I have tried out a few myself. However, I keep coming back to the idea that my logging program on my Mac can be synchronized with my iPad.

The MacLoggerDX logging program has a full-feature companion on the iPad. It can be used standalone or with MacLoggerDX desktop. It syncs MacLoggerDX logs through iTunes File Sharing and AirDrop, and you can easily take it mobile anywhere.


EchoLink Client is a free app that will allow licensed ham radio operators to use iPhone, iPad, or iPod devices to connect to the EchoLink system and connect to repeaters or other EchoLink users. Available on iOS for free, the EchoLink app turns your smartphone into an HT and allows you to access a network from your phone.

Use the app to connect to the EchoLink system from a cellular or Wi-Fi connection, and then you can track your ham connections wherever you like. All you need is a password and account to get started. There are tons of locations to browse through, and you can even send transmissions to other stations and callsigns if you choose

Radio Companions

I am particularly interested in SDR-Control for iOS. SDR-Control is a full-featured iPad app used to operate an Icom transceiver at home or from around the world without additional hardware or software. In fact, using the built-in Wi-Fi features on the IC-705, FT8 on the iPad is completely wireless! I hope to try this software soon.


Are you a weather watcher? SKYWARN trained? There are quite a few intense weather apps that are very good including RadarScope, which I recommend trying out.

Questions? Share them in the comments below or email me at

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