What is Amateur Radio?

Allen Pitts, W1AGP.

A retired military officer in North Carolina makes friends over the radio with a ham in Lithuania. An Ohio teenager uses her computer to upload a chess move to an orbiting space satellite, where it's retrieved by a fellow chess enthusiast in Japan.

An aircraft engineer in Florida participating in a "DX contest" swaps call signs with hams in 100 countries during a single weekend. In California, volunteers save lives as part of their involvement in an emergency communications net. And at the scene of a traffic accident on a Chicago freeway, a ham calls for help by using a pocket-sized hand-held radio.

This unique mix of fun, public service and convenience is the distinguishing characteristic of Amateur Radio. Although hams get involved in the hobby for many reasons, they all have in common a basic knowledge of radio technology, regulations and operating principles, demonstrated by passing an examination for a license to operate on radio frequencies known as the "Amateur Bands."

More about Amateur Radio and it's History


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