Amateur Radio (often referred as Ham Radio), is
an exciting high-tech hobby that offers something
fun for everyone. Regardless of age, gender or
physical ability, virtually anyone can become an
Amateur Radio operator.
Picture: Mark - N8UVQ (left) and guest
Amateur Operators come from all walks of life.
This is one hobby where you can find students,
teachers, mechanics, engineers, doctors,
scientists, and even astronauts exchanging ideas
and experiences with each other, and sharing in
the enjoyment of Amateur Radio activities.
Picture: Sasha (KA3EBX's Daughter)
There are Amateur Radio clubs that you can
join that sponsor various activites such as
club meetings, drills, contesting, field day,
exams and get-togethers. Many clubs offer associate
memberships for non-Hams.
Picture: Ayisha (KA3EBX's Daughter)
Ham Radio operators communicate
by two-way radios from just about
anywhere. They talk from their homes,
work, cars, boats and outdoors to other
ham operators around the world. Some
operators communicate by voice, while
others communicate by Morse code, digital modes or computers.
Picture: South Hills ARC Field Day
Many ham operators enjoy building
their own radios, antennas, and various
electronic projects. They share their
expertise and knowledge with fellow
hams and those with a common
interest in communications and
Picture: Mike - N3JNL (left) and Ron - N3WX (right)
Ham Radio operators also use
computers to control or communicate
through their radios. Computers are
also used to log the call signs
and locations of their radio contacts.
Picture: Sasha Mounts
South Hills ARC's 10th Anniversary Special Event Contest
Amateur Radio is by no means limited
to the the confines of the earth. Ham
radio operators use satellites to
communicate with other hams all
around the world. They have even
chatted with Ham astronauts aboard the
the space shuttle, the former Russian
space station MIR and the International
Space Station (ISS).
In addition to voice and Morse code, ham
radio operators also communicate with
each other by transmitting television
Ham radio operators also help provide
emergency communications, and handle
messages for police and various public
service organizations during emergencies
such as traffic accidents, search & rescues,
fires & chemical spills, tornadoes, floods,
hurricanes & earthquakes.
Picture: Jim - KA3EBX (foreground)
Ron - N3WX (background)
In the United States, there are three Amateur
Radio class licenses. These licenses
are granted by the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC). For beginners, the most
popular license is the Technician Class license,
examination. Under the Technician Class,
you can operate all ham radio bands above
30 Megahertz (MHz). Technicians may operate
FM voice, digital packet (using computers),
television, single-sideband voice, and even
satellites. To earn a Technician license, you'll
need to pass multiple-choice written exams.
These exams cover radio operating practices,
FCC rules, and basic electrical theory.
The General & Amateur Extra Class licenses allows
you to communicate using voice, Morse code or computers
To earn a General or Amateur Extra license, you'll need
to pass a written exam. Operating privileges include FM
voice, digital packet, and single-sideband voice.
General & Amateur Extra operators may also use many
other popular shortwave frequencies (below 30 MHz)
to communicate worldwide using Morse code.
Taking the first step to become a Amateur
Radio operator is easy. Check to see if there
is a local Amateur Radio Club in your area.
Many clubs offer ham radio courses and
examinations. You can learn a lot just by
attending several club meetings or club
activities. Don't be afraid to ask a lot of
questions. You'll find that there are many
hams eager to answer your questions and
help you get your first start in Amateur Radio.
The American Radio Relay League
(ARRL) is another organization that can
provide invaluable information about
Amateur Radio. The ARRL publishes
popular ham radio license study guides
to help you learn the things you'll need to
pass your Amateur Radio exam.
If you have specific questions about Amateur Radio that you would like answered, drop us a line.
You will also find more information about Amateur Radio at ARRLWeb, the ARRL Web site.
Member pictures on this page were printed with their permission. - Thanks guys!