Lesson 1

Introduction to Amateur Radio

What is amateur radio?

The amateur radio service is a personal radio service used for self-training, communication, and technical studies. To many "hams" , it is a hobby. To others, it is a means of serving the community. To all hams, it is the ability to communicate (i.e. talk, type, send live video, or send Morse Code - to a friend across the street or around the world).

What is the purpose of amateur radio?

There are five important reasons why amateur radio exists today. They are ...

What is the FCC?

The FCC is the Federal Communications Commission. It is the U.S. federal beaurocracy that oversees broadcasting, radio communication, and telecommunications. The FCC makes and enforces the amateur radio rules and regulations in the United States. The amateur radio rules and regulations are contained in Part 97 of Title 47 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations).

Who can become a ham?

Just about anyone can become an amateur radio operator in the United States. There are no age limits when it comes to getting your amateur radio license.

The only exception would be a representative of a foreign government. This would rule out both ambassadors, spies, presidents, monarches, and prime ministers of foreign countries.

Otherwise... even foreigners can get an amateur radio license - so long as they have a current US postal mailing address. This is so that the FCC can send out notices and the licensee can abide by the rules.

How do I become a ham?

In order to become a ham, you must become licensed. An amateur radio operator is someone to whom the FCC has granted a license in the amateur service. You must have an amateur license in order to transmit on amateur service frequencies.

What do I need to do to get my license?

There are two basic ways to get started in amateur radio. The two entry level license classes are the Novice and Technician.

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Daniel Reynolds - AA0NI - July 11, 1998