What is Amateur Radio?

      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 day. 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 own home. Contacts may be made using speech or Morse code, between computers and even by television. Radio amateurs have built satellites for their own use. 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 qualification needed. 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: Voice Contact 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 world. 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. Packet Radio 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. Television 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. Satellite Communications 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 own use. Earth-Moon-Earth Communications Similar to above enabling radio amateurs to bounce signals off the moon from continent to continent, this is a very much more demanding and precise operation. DXpeditions An amateur radio trip. This can be anywhere - from the North Pole to remote unheard of islands, to your foreign holiday, or to remote uncharted jungles. Pedestrian Mobile 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.

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