If you were to ask myself and then another what amateur radio is, youíd probably get two different answers. Actually amateur radio is a highly rewarding high tech hobby that has many different appeals to many different people. It may be just to chat with local friends, or send digital messages during emergencies, maybe itís having your own TV program, or chasing that DX across the seas. With amateur radio there is a little something for everyone. And weíll go into more details on what amateur radio operators do and the activities we offer.
ARE WE AMATEURS OR HAMS? Technically we are both. Amateur Radio is our legal name, but we are known around the world more easily as Hams. The origin of the term Ham is not known, however since the early 1900ís when amateur radio first made itís scene, the term has been used. The name amateur does not mean we are technically dumb, or has anything to do with our skills, instead it applies to the fact that we can not use our skills in a commercial sense or for generating revenue. Itís purely a hobby, but often one that has great use during emergencies or disasters
.MODES OF COMMUNICATION We generally use radio transmitters and receivers in our hobby to communicate back and forth. As you will see in the following pages there are many ways we do this. We donít just talk with our voice (aka: phone), but use other methods as well. Such as Radioteletype (RTY), Morse Code (CW), television, digital modes such as Packet, and PSK-31. We even you the internet.
HOW DO I GET TO BE A HAM Before you can get on the airwaves, you need to get licensed. Each country has different requirements for this. Not to mention the rules, privileges, and classes of license may also differ. Basically the different levels of licenses, give you different privileges on the airwaves. The more challenging the testing for the license, the more privileges you have. This may be the use of more frequencies, or different modes, or higher power outputs. And the more privileges, just means the more you can do with this great hobby. We will discuss in more details the US side of getting licensed, however this guide will give anyone, anywhere, an insight on the basics of ham radio.