Ham Radio Community Chapter Intro To Ham Radio

Have you ever owned a CB radio? Did you every hear stations on USB or LSB from all over the world and say to your self wow, I can hear people from all around the world! Even though it is illegal to intentionally communicate distances that far on the CB radio. Remember hearing alot of noise and stations cluttering up one channel (After Licensing for CB radio was discontinued), some times you might hear some inappropriate radio manners.

How would you like to talk all around the world, hear people from all around the world and still feel comfortable with children being in the same room then here's your invitation to a real friendly interesting, high-tech hobby that offers something fun for everyone! You can become an Amateur Radio operator no matter what age, gender or physical ability. People from all walks of life pass their entry-level exam and earn their Amateur Radio license (Also Known As HAM radio license). They all share the most diverse world of fun activities you can explore with amateur radio.

Just a humor picture of  KD4SAI Having FUN  Using His Ham  Radio Equipment

You never know who you may run into when communicating with Amateur Radio: Young people, retirees, lawyers, website designers student and teachers, scientists and engineers and, doctors, mechanics and technicians, homemakers,boaters

Virginia USA       Roland Bousquet Keyboard Player, Musician, Ham Radio Operator   See My Personal Biography

And even those entertainers!

Getting started in ham radio has never been easier! We invite you to explore the following information and learn about Amateur Radio. Explore the universe with satellite radio repeaters, moon bouncing, long distance communications that please the mind.

What is Amateur Radio?

Amateur radio is a community of people that use radio transmitters and receivers to communicate with other Amateur radio operators. The things that amateur radio operators do with their radios are diverse as the people themselves.

Amateur radio operators are often called ham radio operators or simply "hams." (The origin of this nickname is for all practical purposes lost. Although some people still speculate about, few agree and even few care. Amateur radio operators proudly call themselves hams and nobody knows why.) There are about 600 thousand hams in the United States and about 5 thousand hams in the Finger Lakes region.

Ham radio operators are licensed by the United States Government and enjoy a far more priviledges of radio operation than "CB" radio operators do. With these priviledges come responisbilities and rules for the operation of an amateur radio station. Specifically, there are a few things that hams are not allowed to do:

1) Hams are not allowed to do anything with their radios that makes them money in way. Bummer. Ham radio is a hobby, but that doesn't mean it's completely frivoulous. (Read on!)

2) Ham radio operator cannot `broadcast' to the public. This means that ham radio transmissions are meant to be received by other ham radio operatators. While a short-wave radios or scanners will allow you to listen to the ham radio bands, what you will hear is hams talking to other hams and not music or other radio programs of `general' interest.

Within these (and other) guidelines, however, hams are empowered to do just about everything that goverment and private radio stations are allowed to do.

Things you can to do with amateur radio

  • Talk around the world - With HF radios hams can talk to other hams in literally any part of the globe.
  • Talk around town - With small portable VHF and UHF transceivers hams enjoy extremely reliable communications within their local community.
  • QRP - Communicating with "very low power" is a challange that many hams enjoy. QRP is usually practiced on the HF bands.
  • Packet radio - The internet over ham radio? Not really ... but ham radio operators enjoy a digital network of their own, all without wires!
  • Internation morse code - Forget it ... You can get a license without knowing one beep or boop of morse code. If you want to, though, it's still allowed.
  • Amateur television - It's just like real television because it is real television.
  • Slow Scan TV - Send pictures around the world for little or no cost.
  • Contests - You can put your radio operating skills up against other hams and teams of hams.
  • Order pizzas - It used to be a long standing joke around ham radio operators about what you can not do over ham radio ... Now it's perfectly legal! You can call you favorite pizzaria on your ham radio and order take-out dinner on the way home from work. Hopefully you'll use your radio less for calling your doctor, the police, emergeny road-side assistance, 911 and other telephone-linked services.
  • Emergency and other volunteer services - Floods, huricanes, mudslides, earthquakes, ice storms ... when ever `normal' communcations go out, hams are ready to use their radios to provide emergency communication services to their communites.
  • Satelite communications - Hams have their own satelites ... really! (Amateur's satelites are easy to use too.
  • Traffic handling - "Ham telegrams" are used to send messages to people around the world at no cost to the sender or the recipient; all done by ham radio operators volunteering their time and resorces.

How to become an amateur radio operator

All hams in the United States are licensed by the FCC. Getting a "D" on a mutliple-choice test and paying about six dollars is all it takes. The FCC doesn't even give the test ... Hams volunteer to give the test to people that want to become hams. These volunteer examiners then file the paperwork with the FCC and your ham radio license is set to you in the mail.

There are many ways to go about preparing for and taking your ham radio license test.

  • Local clubs - For those that like a structured approach, many clubs organize meetings and classes to teach the basic skills of radio operation and prepare people for their ham radio license test. Getting started in Amateur Radio has never been easier. First, locate a radio club in your area. Some radio clubs offer ham radio licensing classes, or they can find a club volunteer to answer your questions. You may even be invited to attend a local radio club meeting.

  • ARRL publishes popular ham radio license study guides to help you learn the things you'll need to pass your exam and have fun with Amateur Radio.

  • The Amateur Radio license examinations are administered by ham radio volunteers. When you're ready to take your exam, you'll need to locate an exam session near you. At the end of the classes, a test is given. If you pass, you're a ham!

  • Elmers - An elmer is the ham equivalent of a "Yoda." Many new hams are taught my other hams. (Helping people is a common thread throughout the ham radio hobby.) An elmer knows the stuff you need to pass your test and will help you prepare. While an elmer can not give the FCC examination, he or she will be in touch with other hams in your area and know where public examinations are held.

  • Self-study - It doesn't seem right to tell you about going it alone, because then you're not doing it all by yourself! Taking a class or having an Elmer is a far better way to get your license; and when you pass your test you will already have friends to talk to.
What Can Amateur Radio Operators Do?

Ham radio operators use two-way radio stations from their homes, cars, boats and outdoors to make hundreds of friends around town and around the world. They communicate with each other using voice, computers, and Morse code. Some hams bounce their signals off the upper regions of the atmosphere, so they can talk with hams on the other side of the world. Other hams use satellites. Many use hand-held radios that fit in their pockets.

Hams exchange pictures of each other using television. We offer some actual ham radio operator photos and videos on this site. Some also like to work on electronic circuits, building their own radios and antennas. A few pioneers in Amateur Radio have even contributed to advances in technology that we all enjoy today. There are even ham-astronauts who take radios with them on space shuttle missions and thrill thousands of hams on earth with a call from space!

Listen to amateurs talking through an FM voice repeater in our Ham Radio Audio section(RealAudio).
Using even the simplest of radio setups and antennas, amateurs communicate with each other for fun, during emergencies, and even in contests. They handle messages for police and other public service organizations during all kinds of emergencies including the following below:

Tornadoes and floods
Motorist accidents
Fires and chemical spills
Search and rescues

Here are some other Frequently Asked Questions about Ham Radio
Sounds interesting....
Where Do I Start?

The rules for earning an Amateur Radio license vary depending on which country you live in. In the US, there are three license levels, or "license classes" (Technician class, General class and Extra Class). These licenses are granted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

It's Easy to Get Started
The most popular license for beginners is the Technician Class license, which requires only a 35 multiple-choice question written examination. The test is written with the beginner in mind. Morse Code is not required for this license. With a Technician Class license, you will have all ham radio privileges above 30 megahertz (MHz). These privileges include the very popular 2-meter band. Many Technician licensees enjoy using small (2 meter) hand-held radios to stay in touch with other hams in their area. Technicians may operate FM voice, digital packet (computers), television, single-sideband voice and several other interesting modes. You can even make international radio contacts via satellites, using relatively simple equipment.

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