One thing that might not be obvious from my glowing reports is that this is for you at whatever level of contesting you find yourself, not only that, it's not about contesting per-se, it's about operating as a radio amateur. For example, Wikipedia is written by amateurs. Moving on. For example, you'll find a discussion by Craig K9CT who describes how to plan your station, from finding land, selecting antennas to the layout of your shack.
Twenty-nine small frequency bands throughout the spectrum are allocated to this service internationally. Some that were too outlandish. The VEs determine the license operator class for which you are qualified through the testing of your skills and abilities in operating an amateur station.