Amateur radio, also called as ham radio, is a means of communication that is popular with a community of licensed amateurs who are expert at using different kinds of radio equipment for making channels of communication common and accessible for the public whenever needed.
This community has come into existence after going through many ups and downs.Now this community consists of people from all kinds of cultural and geographical backgrounds and they use the equipment in uniquely interesting ways.We know these hobbyists as Amateur radio operators or the Hams.
The origin of the term ‘Ham’ is still disputed. But this concept is of secondary importance now. Amateur radio operators are taken synonymous to being Hams and this community is proud of this fact.
- Ham radio operators should start with obtaining a license after clearing an exam.
- The ITU via the IARU (International Amateur Radio Union) is the regulatory body for this service.
- The different classes of license are issued by the local Governments and these licenses offer wide range of privileges to the users that are enjoyed by no other groups of radio operators. All amateur radio stations are also subjected to certain rules and regulations. Hams are required to refrain from the following activities:
- Hams are not allowed to make a living through Ham radio operations. It should be taken more as a hobby but in a serious manner.
- Public broadcasts are not allowed with this radio equipment. These transmissions can only be conducted between two amateur radio stations. Although you can employ the short-wave radios or scanners for being able to listen to the transmissions on the ham radio bands, but that will all be the monotonous conversation between the hams that would be of no interest to you.
But within these restrictions, Ham radio operators are free to enjoy the privileges that thegovernment and private radio operatorsenjoy.
Things you can to do with amateur radio
- Communicate worldwide – if you have the HF radios, you can communicate with your ham community members anywhere in the world.
- By employing the VHF and UHF transceivers, local conversations are also possible.
- QRP or the low power communication can be enjoyed using the HF bands.
- Packet radio services allow the ham radio operators to access an exclusive digital network.
- Morse code requirements have been completely removed. Now obtaining a license has become easier. But still if you want to learn the Morse code, it can be a bonus.
- Amateur television is an added feature for those hams who want to keep their hobby entertaining.
- Slow Scan TV allows picture sharing through the radio.
- Many contests are arranged for the hams that are meant to test and polish their communicating and networking skills over the network.
- Even placing orders for food through your Ham radio has become a common practice nowadays. People having no access to other means of communication are simply using this radio to order for home deliveries.These radios are also preferred for contacting other services like police, fire brigade, etc.
- During Emergency situations when all other means of communication give up, amateur radio operators are up to give their best shot by serving as an effective link between the affectees and the services that are meant for helping them recover from the loss.
- Satellite communications are also possible with the Ham radios because special satellites have been synchronized with this network.
- Special “Ham telegrams” are now available to send quick messages to anyone anywhere in the world.
How to become an amateur radio operator
It is a must that for becoming a Ham radio operator legally, you need to have a license from the FCC. It you happen to have a “D” on a multiple-choice test and have also paid the fee of six dollars, you can easily have this license. This test is invigilated by the Hams volunteerswho then forward the completed tests to the FCC for declaration of the final result. FCC finally releases the licenses to the successful candidates through mail.
For successfully taking and clearing the ham radio license test, you can adopt one of the following ways:
- Local clubs – if you want an organized preparatory approach, this clubs are there to offer meetings and classes for an introduction to the radio operation and start with the preparations for the ham radio license test. After the completion of the classes, you can give the test under the same clubs and obtain your license.
- Elmers – An elmer can also be considered as a “Yoda.” The experienced Hams instruct and teach the newcomers to the field. An elmer is an important resource for you if you want to clear the test successfully. While an Elmeris not up for any kind of FCC exam, but still he/she will have sufficient information of your interest.
- Self-study – it should be considered as a last resort after trying all other channels of test preparation.The above mentioned ways are better than this one if you seriously want your Ham radio license; and those channels will also help you start with a network of your own. But if you are determined to get licensed, you can always prepare for the test on your own, making sure that you know what the syllabus of the test is and you are going relevant to the test format.