Amateur Radio is a unique, fascinating and friendly hobby that captivates the interest of millions of people around the world. It encompasses a huge range of activities, from people communicating with someone down the street, people tinkering with old radio right up to those talking to the International Space Station using the latest digital technology. Many Radio Amateurs are working at the cutting edge of radio communications technology whilst others prefer just to tinker with old radios.
What is a Ham (Radio Enthusiast)?
Some people don't like the expression "Ham" and prefer "Amateur Radio" but what it means is the same. An amateur is someone who is licensed to send and receive Radio signals for the study of or just plain enjoyment of doing it. (It is not the same as CB radio, but superficially it has some points in common: we are both "radio hobbyists.")
The history of (professional) Radio from the earliest days depended on radio hams and experimenters and the BBC was practically founded on them in the 1920s.
With the use of proper equipment we can talk all over the world with our signals using often low power and simple antennas. We participate when invited in emergency situations (See RAEN) to assist communications (the recent tragic tsunami, 9/11 are two examples) as well as civil emergencies and exercises.
We vary a lot in our interests. Some specialise in communications or languages, others just chat to their friends down the road. There are scientists and professionals amongst us, as well as leaders in the field of Radio. We are mostly sociable creatures yet we value our independence and skills. Some of us never pick up a microphone. Some just listen to other signals.
Amateur radio can be enjoyed by young and old, male and female, even the most severely disabled can make friends around the world from their own home.
and there are many famous names associated with amateur radio!!
Lord Rix (Brian)
1. "How far can you get ?" - I reply, in favourable conditions, I can hear my own signal coming right round the world, 26,000 miles. People with big antennas can hear a second or even a third echo - 52,000 or 78,000 miles...
2. "Have you ever talked to King Hussein?" (a bit out of date, now...) No, he used a microphone, I use Morse or
the keyboard (digital modes of communication - very popular nowadays).
3. "Isn't it very expensive?" - Yes, it's the most expensive thing there is, if you buy your house for the ground available for antennas. A house is the dearest acquisition of one's life.
4. "Why use Morse when there's telephone, and the Internet?" - Why use sails, when there are motors? Why use a push-bike when there are buses? Why go fishing when there are fishmongers? - Personal satisfaction is in acquiring and improving a skill.
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