What is Amateur Radio?
Amateur radio is a popular technical hobby and volunteer public service that uses designated radio frequencies for the non-commercial exchange of messages, wireless experimentation, self-training, and emergency communications.
Why would I want to become a ham?
To become a radio amateur, licensed to transmit, you will need a brief period of study, and to pass a simple practical and theory examination.
If any of the following apply to you, you might be interested in finding out more:
Into shortwave radio listening?
Want to understand how radio works?
Used a CB radio, and looking to explore other areas of the radio spectrum?
Played with a walkie-talkie as a kid, and want to know more?
Looking for a diverse technical hobby?
Keen to further your knowledge and technical understanding?
There are so many directions that the hobby can take you in – here are just a few examples:
What you can do.
Chat with locals from your home and whilst ‘mobile’ using the 2 metre and 70cm bands
Talk to other operators in the UK, Europe and around the world
Link your computer to your radio and the Internet using technologies such as EchoLink (think Skype for Amateurs), PSK31 and JT65
Talk to the International Space Station – Most astronauts are licensed amateurs and are occasionally available for a contact as they fly over
Experiment with radio – Investigate different aerial types, radios and transmission modes. Some amateurs are even bouncing signals off the moon
Take part in contests – See how far you can get, and how many contacts you can make
Events in the community and helping out in emergencies
Learn and operate Morse code (known as CW), and communicate around the world
Special events – Amateurs are often out-and-about spreading the word
More than any of these though – amateur radio is about making friends. It’s a community, and amateur radio operators are keen to share their knowledge and help others, through the shared language of radio.