What is amateur radio?
Amateur radio is a popular technical hobby and volunteer public service that uses designated radio frequencies for non-commercial exchange of messages, wireless experimentation, self-training, and emergency communications.
Amateur Radio is the only hobby governed by international treaty.
As a radio amateur you are able to transmit radio signals on a number of frequency bands allocated specifically to the radio amateurs.
Radio amateurs make use of their frequencies in a number of ways:
1) Contacting people all over the world by radio which often leads to developing international friendships.
2) Competing in international competitions to test how effective your equipment is, and how good you are as an operator.
3) Technical experimentation — many of the leaps forward in radio technology have been initiated by radio amateurs.
4) Communication through amateur space satellites or with the International Space Station (which carries an amateur radio station).
5) Providing communications at times of emergencies and undertaking exercises to ensure you keep the capability to do so.
6) There is no better way to explore the fascinating world of radio communications than by becoming a radio amateur.
As a point of interest a 1910 announcement by the then HM Postmaster General licensed “experimental wireless”, which still uniquely gives radio amateurs the ability to innovate without commercial or statutory controls even in the closely regulated environment of the 21st century.
What sort of people become radio amateurs ?
Amateur Radio is the original high technology “social network”. Today it is regarded as a “broad church” and numbers in its ranks Kings, pop stars, public figures, the retired, schoolchildren and those at work or unemployed.
Whatever your interest in radio communications, you will find others sharing that interest — from “geeky” experimenters to those just interested in communicating by radio. So as a radio amateur, you simply do not know who you might talk to “over the air”. Using call signs as identifiers, there is no status on the air, and you talk, equal to equal, to everyone you contact.
Amateur Radio offers enjoyment for you and your family as well. Amateur activities like Direction Finding (similar to orienteering but with a high-tech “spin”), field days, Summits on the Air, IOTA can be “family friendly”, allowing your family to enjoy your amateur radio activities as well!
What can I do with Amateur Radio ?
Whilst the Internet has brought us instant world-wide email, VOIP and video communication, it is tied to an infrastructure of enormous proportions.
With Amateur Radio, you are communicating directly, “point-to-point” with no intermediate infrastructure. You are also communicating with people in their cars, on ships, on remote islands, and in under-developed parts of the world. But perhaps more importantly, Amateur Radio is not just about communicating — it’s about exploring the technology that makes radio communication work — the electronics, the antennas, the propagation characteristics of the ionosphere, and even computers that are linked to radio equipment for all sorts of purposes. You can get involved in specialised modes of communication such as CW (Morse) and Data-modes other things include station logging, propagation prediction, collecting QSL Cards and much much more.
Why not give it a whirl, come along to one of our meetings and see what we have to offer.