Ham radio has a long and important history. As society and technology continue to move on to new things, a small segment continues to enjoy the hobby as well as to educate and help during disasters. WHAT IS HAM RADIO? Ham radio is the the term coined for amateur radio enthusiasts who learn to operate radios as a hobby or for practical use.
Hams - as operators are called - can use various methods for transmitting messages including Morse code via telegraph, voice transmission via radio or messages through a computer. New methods of transmitting television allow for images to be received around the world by hams. Some hams have contributed to the development of new technologies for other uses. The term 'ham' has unknown origin although there are several theories.
WHO USES HAM RADIO? Ham radio operators can be anyone - doctors, homemakers, truck drivers - who enjoys communicating with new friends. Hams can talk across town or around the world. Ham radio was used by the military in the World Wars and by ships.
The well known 'SOS' is just one of the codes that operators use to relay messages to one another. In emergencies ham radio operators volunteer to assist with transmitting messages when normal communications are unavailable. So far, we've uncovered some interesting facts about ham radio. You may decide that the following information is even more interesting.
Hams are all over the world - even in space! While in orbit or on the space station astronauts have spoken with other operators as well as children, teachers and parents. The program is called ARISS, Amateur Radio on the International Space Station. Hams are young and old, men and women and of every background and occupation.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO START? In the United States you must obtain a license from the FCC (Federal Communications Commission). To be licensed by the FCC you must pass an exam. The exam is administered by a volunteer ham operator and you are then mailed your license. You can often find websites or groups where you can locate a tutor who will answer questions or offer instruction before you take your exam.
One such resource is the ARRL website. The ARRL is the National Association for Amateur Radio and provides training and resources for getting started as well as updates and news for the ham radio community. HOW MANY HAMS ARE THERE? The ARRL site claims over 170,000 members.
FCC licenses have been issued to over 600,000 individuals in the United States and there are over 3,000,000 hams in Japan and many more throughout the world according to statistics found at ah0a-Site. With so many people to talk to, there are even competitions to see how far away you can transmit and many other events within the community. The day will come when you can use something you read about here to have a beneficial impact. Then you'll be glad you took the time to learn more about ham radio.
Michael Hehn writes articles about various topics. Find out what he has to say about communications at Communications