Amateur Radio aka Ham Radio!
Amateur Radio is a wonderful hobby that brings people, electronics and communication together. Here, in this hobby people use two-way radios to talk across town, around the world, or even into space, all without the Internet or cell phone towers.
This is an activity that includes self learning, Inter-Communication and Technical Investigation and the users are called Amateur Radio Operators. Amateurs talk to local friends over the radio waves using a hand-held transceiver, they communicate digitally with packet radio to exchange personal messages or engage in contests with other Radio Amateurs over the airwaves. In amateur radio there is something for everyone.
There are several million people all over the world who pursue this activity in their free time.
“My dad’s goal was to do whatever it took to run his business and to help people, but I thought that amateur radio was a fascinating subject. It sparked my interest in electronics, and that’s when I decided that this field was something I wanted to pursue.” ~ Jack S. Kilby W9GTY, inventor of IC ,Nobel Prize for Physics in 2000.
What Does a Ham Do?
Amateur Radio is a broad hobby based on 2-way radio. Here are some of the things in this hobby that you can enjoy:
- Talk to other local hams using a hand-held radio or a radio in your home or vehicle. Befriend many in your town and locality (and, we’re known to look for excuses to have a meal together).
- Talk “DX” to distant hams. Track how many states, countries, continents or remote islands you have contacted.
- Send collect QSL cards to document your contacts.
- Connect your computer to a ham radio and make textbased contacts (without the internet).
- Participate in Field Day events and special events. Local hams set up temporary operating locations for fellowship and for get-together.
- Use APRS to track highaltitude balloons or satellites.
- Join a DXpedition to a remote location get on the air from there.
- Point a directional antenna skyward to see if you can make a contact via satellite or even by bouncing your signal off the moon!
- Build your own antenna or radio components from scratch or from a kit.
- Contesting is often called the “sport” of ham radio. Any time there will be an amateur radio contest. Hams get on the air and compete to see who can make the most contacts in a limited period. You can put your radio operating skills up against other hams and teams of hams.
- Talk to an astronaut. Yes, it is really possible. The ISS (international Space Station) have dedicated ham radio equipment and licensed ham astronaut finds time to make contacts with amateurs on earth. See the ISS Fanclub website for more details. Hams also have satellites where you can bounce a signal to communicate with other hams on earth.