As many as 80% who pass the exam, NEVER become active. They may (1) be uneasy about talking on the radio, (2) not know the frequencies in their area, or (3) not know how to obtain or operate a radio. Here are some keys.
GO TO A LOCAL RADIO CLUB
The "pros" know the best choices by real experience. Don't "go it on your own."
GET ON A LOCAL 2M REPEATER
Ask on the air or at a club meeting what to buy. The experienced hams know. It takes a little experience to know what you'll be happy using regularly.
Here some local repeaters near Santa Maria area. Many congregate on the highlighted one below.
YOUR FIRST CONTACT
HOW TO FIND YOUR NEW CALLSIGN
Normally within a week to ten day, the FCC will post your callsign. As soon as you know it, you may go on the air.
Check the following Web Sites. Search by last-name-first.