What is "Ham
introduction to Amateur Radio
What is Ham Radio?
"Ham Radio" (also known as
Amateur Radio) is a multi-faceted hobby enjoyed by roughly 3
million licensed operators world-wide. Every day, ham radio
operators communicate from their homes, vehicles, and remote
locations with others for a variety of reasons. Some
enjoy talking around the world - perhaps to chat
about cultural differences and similarities. Others enjoy
contacts with local buddies on a regularly scheduled basis.
Some ham radio operators are active in
emergency preparedness groups and work on natural disaster
communications coordination teams. Others may not be
as interested in communicating with others as much as the
technical aspects of the hobby.
Although ham radio is a
hobby that has essentially existed since the first days of
radio itself, hams continue to pursue new technical
challenges. For example, ham radio operators were among the
first to explore using microwave frequencies for
communication, among the first to use meteor tails and the
moon as a satellite (moon-bounce radio signals), and ham
radio operators have been and continue to be pioneers in
signaling protocols, low-power/emergency radio station design (solar panels,
backup equipment, etc.), radio propagation and many other
The process of acquiring a ham radio license varies from
country to country. In the United States, it's a matter of
taking a written FCC exam in front of volunteer examiners.
The FCC publishes the question pool and there are many study
guides and courses to help your prepare for your ham radio
Ham Radio and your interests....
Because ham radio has so many
interesting facets, it attracts a broad range of people to
the hobby itself. Perhaps ham radio offers something that interests
Ham Radio Operators handling critical messages
at a severe weather center near Chicago.
Quite often, someone will enter ham radio
thinking that their interest is strictly one particular
facet; for example, using FM repeaters to participate in
storm spotting activities or to talk with buddies across
town. Many of these hams are surprised to discover a new
aspect of the hobby that originally had no interest to them.
Local ham radio clubs, magazines or "elmers" (ham radio
mentors) are usually a catalyst - opening a door to a part
of the hobby for others to explore.
That is one of the things that makes ham
radio great - if you ever get bored with one part of the
hobby, there are plenty of other challenges around the
corner; and a great collection of resources to help you get
Here is a list of activities within Ham Radio that may
interest you. Maybe you weren't aware that ham radio
operators were active in these things and you'll be
encouraged to dig a little deeper into the hobby and even
pursue obtaining a ham radio license. I hope you will.
Technical / Experimentation facets of ham radio
Social facets of ham radio
Local contacts with your buddies
Emergency preparedness Communications when other means fail
Global facets of ham radio
DXing - contact with far away places. What
better way to learn world geography?