Amateur radio is a hobby for everyone interested in communicating.
Amateur radio is responsible for putting hundreds of thousands
of people all over the world into direct contact with each other every
There are about two million licensed radio enthusiasts spread across
virtually every country, who are free to operate from the comfort of
their own homes.
Age, profession, nationality, political and ethnic barriers are
non-existent, thus promoting international friendship and understanding.
Amateur radio can be enjoyed by young and old, male and female and even
the most severely disabled can make friends around the world from their
Contacts may be made using speech or Morse code, between computers and
even by television. Radio amateurs have built satellites for their own
Because radio amateurs are permitted to use a wide range of frequencies
and types of transmission, they must be qualified operators. Training
is available from radio clubs or technical colleges, depending on the
A Novice Licence scheme available in many countries provides an easy way
to become a radio amateur.
What Can I Do?
Amateur radio can be enjoyed in many different ways. Some of
the ways in which you can enjoy this interest are:
Using a microphone linked to a transmitter/receiver.
Morse Code or CW Contact
Using a series of dots and dashes transmission can reach further
distances than speech (although nowadays new digital modes such as
PSK31 and PACTOR are more efficient than Morse Code but nothing can
beat CW for simplicity).
It is also an international 'language' allowing contacts all over the
RTTY and HF Digital Modes
Using an old teleprinter and now their modern PCs, radio amateurs
can communicate with each other by typing away at their keyboards.
This way they can have contacts (called QSOs) using Radio Teletype
(RTTY) or the newest mode PSK31. With other error correcting digital
modes (AMTOR, PACTOR, GTOR or CLOVER) and using a special modem
and their computers, they can exchange data files, mail or even
access other radio amateur Local Area Networks in other countries.
Many amateurs link their home computers with their radios using a
special modem (TNC) and contact stations both either locally or
worldwide in real time, or exchange e-mail or look at the bulletin
boards. This is the only mode so far that enables amateur computers
to form a Local Area Network and allows many to share a radio
channel at the same time.
Live television transmissions can be sent and received by slow-scan
(worldwide) or fast-scan (locally) using a conventional video recorder,
video camera or computer graphics.
International contacts are possible by using satellites orbiting
the earth as repeaters of the radio amateur signals. Radio amateurs
take an active part in designing and building satellites for their
Similar to above enabling radio amateurs to bounce signals off the moon
from continent to continent, this is a very much more demanding and
An amateur radio trip. This can be anywhere - from the North Pole to
remote unheard of islands, to your foreign holiday, or to remote
Operating your portable radio station while walking in the great outdoors,
either in the woods or on a mountain.
For more information on amateur radio, call the Amateur Radio Dept at
RSGB HQ (http://www.rsgb.org), ARRL (http://www.arrl.org) or your local
Radio Amateur Union.