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).
There are five important reasons why amateur radio exists today. They are ...
Ham radio operators (as they are fondly referred to) are usually the ones helping out during disasters when the power and phone lines go out.
Since the beginning of radio, hams have been paving the way to new forms of communication.
The goal of many a ham operator is to improve his ability to communicate effectively (both during difficult and prime conditions).
Many people who are introduced to ham radio at a young age find themselves later on in life in a rewarding career involving science and math. Hams also take pride in investing their time helping others take their first step in ham radio.
Before the Internet, there was ham radio. If a person wanted to be able to meet new people from all over the world, they could get their ham radio license and start new friendships that would be difficult to maintain any other way except by the means of ham radio. With an ever "shrinking world", ham radio helps bring people together.
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).
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.
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.
There are two basic ways to get started in amateur radio. The two entry level license classes are the Novice and Technician.
A Novice license allows you to operate on small sub-bands in the HF, VHF, and UHF range. On HF, you have mostly Morse code only privileges. The VHF and UHF privileges aren't all that great.
In order to earn a Novice license you must pass a Morse Code examination and a written (multiple-choice) examination.
The Morse Code examination is known as element 1A. It consists of 5 minutes (or more) of Morse Code sent at 5 words per minute (wpm) followed by a brief 10 question exam. In order to pass, you must answer 7 out of the 10 questions correctly, OR have at least 1 minute of perfect copy (i.e. 25 characters in a row - not counting spaces; numbers, punctuation, and procedural signals/"prosigns" count as two letters each).
The written examination for the Novice license is known as element 2. It consists of 35 questions. In order to pass, you must correctly answer 26 questions. These questions are taken from a pool containing over 450 questions that could potentially be on your test.
The Technician license does not require a Morse code examination. Because of this, the "Tech" license is the fastest growing and most popular amateur license in America today.
With a Technician license, you are allowed to operate on all VHF and UHF frequencies permitted for amateur radio use (up to the legal limit of 1500 Watts - with a few exceptions). The Technician license has no privileges on the HF (Shortwave) bands.
In order to earn a Technician license you must pass two written (multiple-choice) examinations: the Novice (element 2), and the Technician (element 3A).
The Technician written examination consists of 30 questions. In order to pass, you must correctly answer 22 questions. These questions are also taken from a pool of over 400 questions.
Table of Contents
Lesson 1- Introduction to Amateur Radio
Daniel Reynolds - AA0NI - July 11, 1998