International Friendship

Info About Amateur Radio

Amateur Radio:

Amateur Radio is a friendly, Scientific, Fun-loving, high-tech hobby and is popularly known as HAM Radio. Any individual above the age of 12 can become an Amateur Radio operator-no matter what age, gender or physical ability.

Ham radio operators use two-way radio stations from their homes to make hundreds of friends in their town, country and around the world. They communicate with each other using voice, computers, and Morse code. Hams use satellites, exchange pictures of each other using television, Many use hand-held radios that fit in their pockets. 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! You never know who you'll run into when communicating with Amateur Radio: Young people, retirees, teachers and students, engineers and scientists, doctors, lawyers, mechanics and technicians, housewives, film stars, prime ministers, kings

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 all kinds of emergencies including:
    Rail, Road & Air accidents

Why Amateur Radio:

During Natural Calamities

In contrast to most professionals in radio communication, who generally are specialists in restricted aspects of the subject, many  amateurs have a uniquely broad experience covering all aspects. The experience is invaluable in enabling them to set up from scratch, radio communicating systems under emergency conditions when normal systems have broken down. For man made and natural disasters all over the world for the first critical tens of hours has often been an  amateurs radio station. Many National/International associations, Governments recognise these services and even give rewards.

Information Technology - Be a Partner
The movement of promote   amateurs radio in the country as part of Information Technology in the reach of the common man, a movement is now set in motion. NIAR is strengthened further by the World Bank, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh and others. Thus NIAR activities are organised in a professional approach all over the country.

International Friendship
The three million Radio   amateurs (HAM's) all over the world become your friends, the day you get license and operate  amateurs Wireless Station. You can easily talk to over one hundred Hams a day from different locations (countries) provided you are able to spare one or two hours   a day. There are many Indians who are able to talk with more than 10,000 people in a year with about 150 countries. This facilitates friendship and interaction with all walks of life, eminent people and common men and woman.

How do Ham's Communicate ?

Today there are thousands of hams who are enthusiastic about amateur radio and use various methods to communicate with their counterparts around the world.

Groups, individuals, and schools are all striving to acquire radio technology, as they are eager to improve their skill over a wide spectrum of fields: HF/VHF Communication, amateur satellite communications, TV broadcasting, Earth-Moon-Earth (EME) communications, and so on. The current boom in computers, digital communications (images, data, etc.) is becoming increasingly popular and these on-going challenges, attracts numerous eager youths.

Making Equipment and Learning about Wave Propagation Amateur radio communications is by nature a scientific hobby.

Amateur Satellite Communications to-date, over 40 satellites for amateur radio communications have been launched. Right now, about 20 of these satellites are orbiting the earth. hams constantly communicate with their domestic and overseas counterparts by way of these satellites.

DX (D=Distant, X=Unknown) Communications with Overseas Stations DX-communications refer to telecommunications between unknown distances in many countries of the world. Thus Hams contribute to the promotion of  international goodwill. There are many in India who have contacted more than 250 countries (over 300 exist) sitting in their house using these personal two way Amateur Wireless stations. That too at no cost.

Mobile Operation 
Reflecting India's recent boom in motoring, mobile hams are becoming very common. They install wireless equipment in their vehicles to communicate with stationary or mobile radio stations while driving.

In contests, hams communicate with one another, with as many stations as possible within a given period of time. Contests of varying scopes ---- some domestic, some international ---- are happening somewhere in the world every weekend. A top prize requires not only skillful technique in operating a radio station (including maintenance and repair), but also atmospheric conditions favorable to radio waves (which is really a type of good luck).

After a ham's communication which must conform to specified requirements and QSL cards have been collected, he/she is eligible to apply for various certificates. These certificates are issued by organisations, clubs, and even certain individuals. Counting international certificates, over 1,000 types are available. Some Indian Hams were invited to USA, Europe, Asian countries for being successful in getting these Awards.

QSL Cards
After two ham stations have established contact, they exchange QSL (Acknowledgement) cards as proof of their communication. Normally, QSL cards are postcard-sized, with columns for essential entries on one side, and a picture card, cartoon, photograph, woodblock print, etc, on the other side. Because each QSL card incorporates a unique idea, design, etc., it becomes a pleasure to collect them. Exchanging cards internationally is both interesting and fun.

Repeater Communications
By means of these repeaters installed, on hilltops and high buildings, it is possible for hams to communicate with counterparts many kilometers away, done simply by using a portable transceiver called Handheld (Handy) Radios.

Amateur Radio Direction Finding
ARDF (Amateur Radio Direction Finding) where hams carry portable receivers and search for hidden transmitters, is the popular sport of amateur radio. Every year, such competitions are held throughout the world.

You'll enjoy this fascinating world of Amateur Radio and we hope to have the chance of meeting you on the air-when you become an Amateur Radio operator!

How do Signals Travel ?

Radio waves, like light waves, travel in straight lines and cannot pass through obstructions. From a practical point of view, the earth's curvature represents a very  significant obstruction. Over a distance of 500 miles, a short distance in communication terms, this curvature is equivalent to an impenetrable obstruction greater in height than Everest. fortunately there are various ways, depending on the frequency, in which signals can avoid this and other obstructions.

Amateurs can communicate on "long wave", "medium wave" and onto "short waves". The  Amateurs wave lengths (or bands) on short waves are in round numbers, at 160 meters, 40 metres,30 meters, 20 metres,17 meters, 15 metres,12 metres,10 meters. There are also Amateur bands at wave lengths of 2 meters, 70 cm and 23 cm; going even smaller, we talk about "microwaves".

Centered at about 250 km (150 miles) above the earth's surface there are layers of ionized gas called the "ionosphere" encircling the earth. Under certain conditions, these layers can act as fairly efficient reflectors of "short wave" signals. Radio signals bouncing off these layers can be reflected from the earth's surface back into the sky to be reflected again and so on. A series of hops can carry signals around the world. if a radio signal continued round the world, it would go seven times around the world every second.

Shorter Than Short
Radio waves shorter than 10 meters are not usually reflected back to earth and so you cannot make  long distance contacts by means of your signal hopping around the world between the ionosphere and the earth's surface. T these much shorter wave lengths, say of 2 meters and below, amateurs have to look for an alternation to the natural Ionosphere in order to reflect their signals over longer distances. Other natural mechanisms help here, such as:-

Weather Effects
Under certain whether conditions, usually associated with high pressure (a "high") layers from in the lower atmosphere at heights of 1 to 2 km (about 1 mile) which are associated with abrupt changes in air temperature. The boundary between the hot and cold air can also reflect radio waves. When these "freaks"  radio conditions are present (often referred to as "freak atmospherics") interference to your television picture can occur from distant stations. However,  amateurs take advantage of these "good" conditions to make contacts with stations typically 1,000-2000km(1,000 miles) distant.

Auora Borealis
Every one has heard of the "northern lights". Particles radiated from the sun under special conditions become trapped in the earth's magnetic field and give off light. Sometimes when this happens the atmosphere becomes ionized. the ionisation may be sufficiently strong that very short wave length radio signals can bounce of the "notthern lights". Amateurs also use this natural phenomena to make contacts over hundreds of kilometers.

Hundreds of meteors burn up in the outer layer's of the earth's atmosphere every day. The high temperature of the burning meteor can cause very high ionisation for a few seconds. By using high speed Morse Code transmission techniques radio amateurs can exchange much information in these few seconds and make a worth while radio contact. This is an unusual side of amateur radio but nonetheless quite popular. Radio Amateurs seem to thrive on difficulties that professional communicators would not accept because of the poor reliability.

The Moon
The moon is of special significance to the hundreds of radio amateurs around the world who use it as a reflector to bounce signals from continent to continent. This method of communication is marginal and demands from amateurs very high standards in design and operation of their equipment. When amateurs run out of natural things to bounce their signals off, they make unmanned relay stations which receive transmissions from radio amateurs and re-radiate them from elevated sites. These "repeaters" are primarily intended to assist amateurs to communicate from car to car and extend the range from a few kilometers to tens of kilometers.

International contacts are possible using the same principle, the elevated site being a communication satellite orbiting the earth. Several of these have been built by amateurs for use by amateurs-some are currently operational.

History :

A group of private experiments were wild when at the close of the 19th centaury late Sir.J.C. Bose of India proved beyond doubt that intelligence can be transmitted his first wireless Transmitter later. Thus both these renowned pioneers can be called first amateurs in Wireless Technology. Round about the year 1894, Bose was successful in sending wireless signals over a distance of 7 feet  with three to four solid walls intervening. After this he went to England in 1895 and successfully demonstrated it various learned societies and won admiration from many famous scientists.

It was on December 12, 1901 Macaroni transmitted signals for over 2000 miles across Atlantic and later several hundreds of Radio enthusiasts as hobbyists learnt to develop transmitters and receivers. Years rolled on, the undaunted group of amateurs started working earnestly in backyards on the frequency spectrum allotted to them. The undisturbed vast space of frequencies bellow 200 meters  was given to amateurs thinking that was baseless Medium. A mission of amateurs was sent from USA to Europe in 1921 and several hours of two way communication was confirmed by European & American amateurs and thus established radio contacts between the continents thus of the possibility of short wave Dx Communication goes to the amateurs only and none else. This was the time when Govt. commercial communication engineers thought it an impossibility. 

The entire spectrum of short wave was an innovation of amateurs which later brought revolution in communication globally. When commercial, Military & Broadcast people rushed into the 100 meters region threatening the amateurs being thrown out of the established region, it became necessary to protect amateurs interests. In 1910 Wireless Institute of Australia, in 1914 American Radio Relay League, In  1920 Radio Society of Great Britain (earlier radio club of London) and other societies of  amateurs got organised in several countries in Europe and started collective action to protect amateurs interest. Due to the lead role played in 1924 by ARRL, the officials of the first frequency determining conference allotted bands not only in 80 meters , but at 40, 20, and even 5 meters exclusively for s use.

The components and equipment developed by the pioneers became a legend and many commercial production organisations starting taking help from them. It the technological innovations and social good that brought with the amateur saw the Governments of USA, UK & Germany etc.., gave recognition to the amateur organisation and allowed them to the thrive.


From the little information available about the past history of the amateurs, it is known that Dr.B.N.Singh and Sri. T.N.Gupta were first issued amateurs license. Unfortunately no detailed record of their activity or call signs is available. The officially known first call sign was 2 JK to Mr.A.C.Gooptu in the year 1921. 

Prior to this it appears over 20 Britishers had Ham license and commercial establishments of British were permitted to use Wireless. However 2 Jk (A.C.Gooptu) contacted Australia in 1923. Even in those days 160, 80, 40, 20 meter both on Telegraphy and Telephony were authorized. In 1926 all these facilities were withdrawn and the authorities became more strict in the issue of amateur licenses and their operations. It is mainly because of British rules realized ingenious effort of Indians and their capabilities to self develop transmitters/receiving apparatus and feeling a threat of misuse.

In 1939 when the clouds of the World War 2 emanated all amateur licenses were withdrawn and their equipments were sealed by authorities. During the war many amateurs opted for defense services in USA/UK and became pioneers in developing Technologies in Electronics & Communication fields. Independent India, in 1948 had about 50 licensed amateurs, out of which hardly 10 or 12 were active

How to become a Ham ?

Amateurs have a significant role to play in the development of art of radio communication. In several ways they complement rather than compete with their professional brothers. Unlike professionals,  they  are not required to provide a reliable communication service for general use and therefore are free to exploit less reliable propagation methods which can be of little value to professionals who normally demand totally reliable system. Amateurs operators are also skilled technically and therefore they may use  techniques which are too sophisticated for general use by technically less skilled operators. There are several students of 12 years & above and much older people even above 70 years, who pursue these activities.

Amateur radio is obviously of special value to the blind and immobile. For them it provides a unique link to the outside world.

Frequency Spectrum of Amateurs  

1820 - 1860 KHz

3500 - 3700 KHz

3890 - 3900 KHz

7000 - 7100 KHz

14000 - 14350 KHz

18068 - 18168 KHz

21000 - 21450 KHz

24890 - 24990 KHz

28000 - 29700 KHz


144 - 146  MHz

434 - 438 MHz

1260 - 1300 MHz

5725 - 5840 MHz

Government Of India Gives Licenses

Amateur Wireless Telegraph Station Licenses are issued in the following grades by WPC Wing, Department of Telecom , Government of India after duly qualifying a Test conducted.

Restricted Grade II
Permitting use of VHF only (i.e. Walkie - Talkies) in Amateur Radio. With about 800 Channels.
Grade II 
Permitting all frequencies but with limited transmitting power.
Grade I 
Permitting Higher power including latest techniques.
Advanced Grade 
Permitting higher power and advanced techniques including Satellite Communication.

About The Examination 

The Examination Consists of Three Parts :

  • Elementary Knowledge of Electronics

  • Communication Procedure

  • Morse Code

The Morse Code of 5 words per minute sending - receiving will be eligible to get Grade II and 12 words per minute sending - receiving will get Grade I. For advanced grade higher level of technical knowledge in electronics is essentially required.It takes 2 months (Say two hours per day ) training to become eligible for the examination.If one wishes to get use of Walkie-Talkies only on VHF. Morse test is not necessary.

Eligibility for the Test

Any Indian Citizen over 12 years of  age. No educational qualifications is required.

Details of Equipment

Amateur Radio licensed operators use either Home Made or Imported equipment in India.

Issue of License 

By wireless Planning & Co-ordination Wing of DOT, Govt. Of India.

Every eleven year there is a sunspot maximum. During this maximum quite some sunspots appear on the sun's surface. This sunspots often have there affect on the radio waves. Click the above picture to investigate the daily updated picture of the sun.

Ham Quiz
Call Sign Prefixes
List of Abbreviations
Glossary of Key Words
Amateur Radio Phonetics
The World Above 30 MHz
Tuning 150 kHz to 30 MHz
Ham Speak - Know the Lingo
Prefixes By Countries - 40 Zone
Radio Amateur Terminology & Q Codes


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