What is Amateur Radio?
Amateur radio, also known as "ham radio", is a hobby relating to two-way radio communications. It is a hobby that is enjoyed by many people from all around the world and from all walks of life.
Whether you are interested in remote control models, a rare chat with an astronaut in orbiting space, amateur television transmissions, bouncing signals off the moon back to another place on earth, a Friday night chat with friends and neighbors, or making contacts with other stations in far away places, the hobby of amateur radio has something to offer everyone.
Amateur radio is a wide and diverse hobby and amateur radio enthusiasts, affectionately called "hams," can enjoy a variety of activities. Fox hunts (transmitter hunts), balloon launches, contests, making new friends through amateur radio, digital and satellite communications, building equipment or antennas, or even sending and receiving old fashion Morse code, these are just a few of the many different aspects of the hobby. Each "ham" seems to develop their own favorite mode of communication.
Ham radio operators can also be of service to their communities by becoming volunteers for local emergency management agencies. Amateur radio operators can provide communications in and out of disaster areas when no phone service nor electricity is available.
Many radio amateurs become trained weather spotters and report local severe weather information via ham radio. These volunteer hams are often members of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and/or the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES).
Can I Make Money Sending Ham Radio Messages?
No. Amateur radio is for non-profit use only and amateur radio operators may not be paid for sending messages by way of ham radio. Communications are generally of personal or technical nature and again are not for profit. Amateur radio is most often associated with providing communications in and out of disaster areas when no other communications are available.
Catch the Grayline!
Sunset in northeastern Kansas.
A few precious extra moments of propagation each evening that can produce many rewarding DX contacts.
Ham radio hobbiest may use several different modes, or methods, of communication to talk to their ham radio friends. Hams may use traditional modes such as radio telephone (AM, FM or Sideband), Continuous Wave (CW) for sending Morse code, or even more moden digital communications using their computers and radio equipment, such as radio teletype (RTTY), packet radio and other digital modes.
How to Become a "Ham"
Each new amateur radio operator must study and learn about the hobby and pass a test of knowledge before they can become licensed radio amateurs with on-air privileges. Obtaining a license issued by the government in which country the amateur radio operator resides is required. In the United States, the license is issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Amateur radio Volunteer Examiners administer the tests and testing sessions are located in most counties across the U. S.
Study guides are available from the ARRL and in radio shops and some electronics stores. The "Technician Class" study guide will contain the complete question pool with answers plus all other information needed to become a licensed amateur radio operator.
If you think you can pass the examine now then take a practice Technician class exam at AA9PW's web site.
Most areas have a local amateur radio club that should be able to provide some information about when and where the next testing session will be in your area. If you currently need to search for this information then please try searching the ARRL web site for a club near you and for testing information. To search the Web for an amateur radio club or testing session near you, use keywords such as, "Kansas City Amateur Radio Club".
For more information about what Amateur Radio, visit the ARRL web site or use the search box below to find a club near you.