What it is and how to get involved
by Eddie Runner (NU5K)
Ham radio is a blast! For those of you that like tech stuff you
should look into it. Ham radio is the cutting edge of technology.
Ham radio is many areas of the radio (and TV) spectrum that have
been set aside by the governments of the world for amateur experimenters. In
other words, for HAM's to play aroundTo get involved
in Ham radio you must take a test (or tests) administered by a local ham club. Once you
pass the test the FCC (in the USA) will send you a license and a unique call sign. My
call sign is NU5K, it is the only one like it in the world. If I make contact with
someone in some remote place in the world they can actually send me mail if they only get
my call sign. Once you have a call sign you can get special license plates for your car,
you can have cool radio gear in your car that might be illegal if you don't have the
license (police scanners). You can make free phone calls from many ham radios via a
phone patch or repeater.
Radio waves in different parts of the spectrum have different
characteristics, the low long radio waves (called short-wave for some dumb reason) can
easily travel around the world making contact with other countries quite easy. The shorter
waves (VHF, UHF) wont travel as far and therefore are better for local in town
communications. HAMS HAVE IT ALL! Hams can even talk directly to the Space Shuttle or the
Russian MIR space station legally! Hams also experiment with Moon bounce, meteor scatter,
computer packet, many digital forms of communications. Including TV, yes amateur TV is
quite popular in many parts of the country, you can actually send TV pictures to other
HAMS just like the TV stations do. Also many hams are into sending radio gear into SPACE
in real rockets, or near space in amateur rockets or weather balloons! Many Hams are also
playing with the integration of Ham radio and GPS, actually tracking cars GPS on
your computer screen at home VIA radio.
Many Hams also get involved in public service,
using their radios to support public events like bike races, March of dimes
charity events, and much more.
There is ALWAYS something exciting to learn or exciting to do in
the amateur radio community.
To get involved do a web search for your local amateur radio club.
Or goto http://www.arrl.org
To study the test questions Radio Shack has a fine study guide,
or click below on the AMAZON.COM searcher, the study books are readily
available. The test(s) isn't all that hard. You can also take practice tests online at http://www.qrz.com
. What could be
Plus being a licensed amateur radio operator makes a fine addition to a job
A good ham radio club