Over the years amateur radio, or ham radio has become a big part of my everyday life. I like learning how radio equipment works and repairing my own equipment. I also enjoy operating older tube radio transmitters and receivers from the post war era up into the late 70’s. Radio has changed tremendously over the years but one thing remains the same. Radio is still the most reliable form of communications that we have.
Back in the day.
Back in ham radios glory days the work that was being done by ham radio operators was at the forefront of technology. When you pick up that cell phone and make a call that is nothing more than a miniature transceiver that was made possible by ham radio. When you talk to a friend on the internet you are basically talking computer to computer which was being done 30 years before the internet became accessible to the general public.
Filling gaps in communications.
Ham radio is still a very important piece of the communications puzzle and yet amateur radio operators and ham radio is still basically unheard of in everyday circles. I wish I had a dime for every time I had to explain to someone what a ham radio operator was and what they do. Amateur radio operators also provide important communications to fill the gaps when natural disasters occur. When the cell towers come down and the internet is broken groups like ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Services) can provide communications between government agencies as well as police, fire department, transportation and hospitals.
What is a ham radio operator.
A ham radio operator is anyone that is licensed to operate on certain frequencies withing his license class. Ham radio currently has 3 classes of license. Technician which is the entry level class, General which is an advanced class and an extra class which is the highest class available and gives you the most privileges on the most frequencies. A ham may build or modify any radio from any other service to use on the ham bands. it is common to hear modified CB (Citizens Band) radio equipment used on the 10M (28-29.7 MHZ) band. It is NOT legal to take a ham radio and use it on another service though.
What is a ham radio exam.
A ham radio exam is a test given by a team of VE (Volunteer Examiners) issued by the FCC to get your ham radio license. These are usually a 35 question exam out of a pool of 350 questions. You must get at least 27 out of the 35 to get your technician license. As you upgrade your license the test gets more difficult. The Technician class license gives you privileges on all the VHF (Very High Frequency) and UHF (Ultra High frequencies) as well as voice and Morse code on the HF (High Frequency) bands 10M and Morse code on 80M 40M 15M and 10M. On the HF bands you can expect worldwide communications on a daily basis.
What is a ham radio band.
A ham radio band is a set of predetermined frequencies that are used by ham radio operators. These sets of frequencies or bands, is determined by the F.C.C here in the United States and are agreed upon by other countries as well. Each country has its own government office that controls the amateur radio frequencies.
Well, I hope that helps to answer some of your question. I hope to write more what is a ham radio articles in the near future covering each term.
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