What is ham radio?

Radio is a magnificent tool in the world, just think about it. Cell phones, wifi, car radio, bluetooth, airplanes, railroad, and even ham radio operators use it as a hobby and to save lives. No matter where you are there will always be radio waves; even your tv gives off radio waves.

There are people called Amatuer Radio Operater (also known as hams); they do all sorts of fun things from talking to someone next door, to bouncing signals off the northern lights to someone in a different state. There are 3 major areas with frequencies that cover the radio spectrum HF (High Frequency), VHF (Very High Frequency), and UHF (Ultra High Frequency). Let's start with HF. If you know what ham radio is, you probably think people have radios and talk all around the world and that's true. The HF Spectrum from 3 MHz to 30 MHz is the place where you can easily talk to people around the world. VHF Spectrum 30 MHz to 300 MHz is the place where people can cheaply talk up to a county distance. UHF 300 MHz to 3 GHz (3000 MHz) is the part of the radio spectrum where you can also talk up to a county distance. When you think of ham radio you generally think of the HF Band. To operate on these bands you must have a General or Extra license to operate. The radios can cost $300 to tens of thousands of dollars to buy and maintain. How people talk the world most of the time is they take their signal and it bounces off the ionosphere (a part of the atmosphere) and it lands a few states away to around the world. The modes you use would either be SSB (Single Side Band) voice, or CW (Morse Code). VHF is an inexpensive way to get into the hobby. You can get a Baofeng UV-5R PLUS for about $19 to $30 or you can get features packed with digital modes for up to $800 dollars. Simplex is radio to radio communication. With a ham radio, small hills and trees you can expect a range of a few miles. Duplex is where a device called a repeater that takes a small radio then amplifies it and sends it out so another radio far away could communicate. In other words a repeater takes a signal and amplifies it to a much bigger area. UHF is a mostly direct line of sight where most digital modes are used. Digital modes include. DMR, D-STAR, P25, and more. Radios to work on these bands cost around $250 to $1000. DMR (Digital Mobile Radio) takes your voice and digitizes it. DMR has the feature of talkgroups. A talkgroup is a group of users who basically has a phone group chat though the internet but on radios. There are World-wide, state, city, and TAC talkgroup, so you can talk the world via the internet.

The world of radio is never ending. There's so many things in radio knowone can grasp it all. When you go out the door just remember people are saving lives right now through radio.

Why do you need to be a ham?

Learning basic electronics helps us understand how all the gadgets we buy and use in our homes works, computers, coffee pots, sound bar systems, guitar amps, Car , boat, and motorcycle RC planes & Cars, E-Bikes, stereos and TVs, home exercise equipment, washers / dryers, the Amateur Radio “Hobby” gives us all the basic knowledge to understand how and why things work… or don’t work… and in a lot of cases we can repair or build things to include Amateur Radio equipment. I use to love going to the landfill with my dad to drop off trash, because I would then bring home stereo’s and other “Junk” that I would use to build AM/FM/ SWL and CB station stuff, … you can make some nice speakers and cabinets for your radio station or other home equipment… I got two sets of Bose Speakers from the landfill …I just needed to solder up connectors for my radios … AWESOME deal. --From KB7AVT

Being educated in electronics can provide many opportunities and open doors to many other things later in your life. As a teen I grew up played with electronics, then became a electronic Tech in the military, then I got my college paid for and learned programming and networking ( got my certs) then retired and got a job working for a DOD defense contractor ( benefit, they paid for more college for me) as a communication engineer, then I got a job working for the US government in telecommunications, more free training and pay checks…. And it all started out me just digging through trash at a landfill wanting to build a better CB station and have nice musical speakers in my bedroom as a teen…. Too funny. -- From KB7AVT

The FCC's basics

FCC Rule § 97.1 Basis and purpose.

The rules and regulations in this part are designed to provide an amateur radio service having a fundamental purpose as expressed in the following principles:

(a) Recognition and enhancement of the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary noncommercial communication service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications.
(b) Continuation and extension of the amateur's proven ability to contribute to the advancement of the radio art.
(c) Encouragement and improvement of the amateur service through rules which provide for advancing skills in both the communication and technical phases of the art.
(d) Expansion of the existing reservoir within the amateur radio service of trained operators, technicians, and electronics experts.
(e) Continuation and extension of the amateur's unique ability to enhance international goodwill.

More on why!

You can talk the world
You can talk to the ISS
You can locate hidden transmitter (foxhunts)
You want to dig more into how radio, tvs, etc. work
Some high-tech drones use it
If you're a talker ham radio is for you
Want to explore new things
Want to be a engineer in electronics this is a very good way
Want to accomplish new thing
If your bored ham radio always has something you don’t know about
And so so much more!!!
Here are some great youtubers out there:

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