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:
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.
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:
[ About me | Acronyms
| CW | Data
Sheets | Docs | Download
| E-mail | HOME
| Ham projects | Hobby
circuits | Photo galery | PIC
Sign in my guestbook | View my guestbook ]
© 2001 - YO5OFH, Csaba Gajdos