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Beginners Guide to Amateur Radio

So, exactly what is Amateur Radio?

  • But isn't that just like CB radio?

  • Yes and no; CB radio (Citizens Band) provides radiocommunication between members of the general public; however that is where the similarity ends.CB radio is designed primarily to provide short range voice communication by radio over a limited number of frequencies (channels, of which there are 80 in the UK). Amateur Radio enthusiasts are allocated much more frequency space than CB users, and can also communicate using a variety of means other than voice such as various forms of data, and even television. Some of the amateur radio bands can be used to provide world-wide communication which generally does not happen with CB radio.

  • Why bother with radio when I can use my telephone to speak to people to people anywhere in the world day or night?

  • This is a comment that I have often heard. Firstly, the phone network is generally only of use to you for communicating with people you know. Would you even think of picking a number at random and talking to a complete stranger? Amateur radio brings people together who may have similar interests but be of completely different backgrounds, race or creed. It is ideal medium for making new friends.

  • Yes, but I can go into chat rooms on the internet and make new friends from all over the world!

  • Ok, that's perfectly true! However, use of the internet does cost money in many countries. With amateur radio the only running cost is the electricity used which will often be an insignificant part of your electricity bill! Also consider that in the poorer or more isolated parts of the world internet connections can be few and far between and often radio is the only efficient means of communication. Next, consider the nature of chat rooms. You can run into some seriously twisted and sick people in these rooms, indeed some chat rooms have very unpleasant sexual themes. You don't normally get such unpleasantness on Amateur Radio.

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