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All About Ham Radio

There are many aspects to Ham Radio. These pages will introduce you to some of them.

What is a HAM?

In the USA, Ham Radio is a special area of radio transmissions licensed by the FCC as the Amateur Radio service.
This is a place for hobbyists, not commercial operations.
In other countries of the world licensing is handled by the governing agency. This one is a worldwide agency.

Ham Radio is found on many frequencies in the air ways. In order to prevent interference, the FCC assigns specific frequencies to the various entities that need to transmit information over the air. This includes Military, Aircraft, Emergency services, Private companies, TV, Radio (AM & FM) and hobbyists Ham, Boating, Radio Controlled Toys, etc.

What makes Ham Radio different is that we are assigned a range of frequencies and may operate on any frequency within the range of our license. Other services are assigned a specific frequency and may only transmit on that frequency. Usually it is the company or organization that obtains the license and the individuals using the radios are not licensed. In Ham Radio the license is assigned to an individual.

The assigned frequencies are designated as HF, VHF, UHF and similar. The range and allowed use of these frequencies is available on the Internet. Some information available here and here. This site has info about frequency allocation worldwide.
For a discussion of frequency allocation by the FCC, check this page.
For a very good chart of all the ways radios are used, check this page.
Here are a couple of places to download a printable chart of allocated frequencies.
From Icom
From ARRL with selections,
, another page from ARRL, The printable PDF

The various ways to transmit have varied over the years. CW (Morse Code) , AM, FM are methods used by a radio to transmit signals over the air. Today we have analog Vs digital and the Internet that have provided a great variety of ways to communicate.

Some Ham Radio operators have been licensed for many years and many "Hams" are new to the hobby. Until a few years ago it was required to learn Morse Code to get a license. Since that requirement was dropped, a lot of people have received a license that were prevented by the CW requirement.

For those Hams that have been licensed over 40 years, there is a group called the OOTC (The Old Old Timers Club). If you qualify and want info please send me an E-mail or just check it out here.

There is a lot of good information about Ham Radio and the activities happening in the interconnecting of computers and Ham Radio on the Internet. Google IRLP (Internet Radio Linking Project), VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) and Allstar (a particlar type of VOIP).
There is information on getting licensed and operating procedures all over the web.

In the past getting involved usually required purchasing a variety of expensive equipment. Today that has all changed. You can now get involved in Ham Radio using a computer, tablet or a cell phone. Of course you can still spend money. Some radios are computer controlled and run many thousands of bucks.

A ham used to be known by his "Ham Shack". A place where his radios and transmitting equipment reside. Today you might see a "Ham" talking to someone across the world on their cell phone.

This a very general discussion. So if you are not aleady a Ham please join us.
For info about licensing, start at the ARRL site here. The ARRL (American Radio Relay League) is the backbone of Ham Radio in the USA. For more info about them check this out.
If you are a Scout, you can earn a badge for getting involved in Amateur Radio. Read about it here and here and here and here.
If you have questions, send me an E-mail or just Google for info.

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