Introduction to Amateur Radio: The Basics

The history of Amateur Radio can be traced back to the days of radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi. Over the years, there have been many technological advancements in the operation and equipment used by amateurs. Radio communication played a crucial role in World War 1 and 2, and amateur have played a significant role.

On June 26th, 1991, the FCC gave all licensed amateur radio operators permission to begin using 11 meters for communication. In 1993, the FCC put up an additional band at 5 MHz (5.3 – 5.4). In 1996 they opened 3.8 MHz for amateur use as well. In 2003 a new band was opened at 472-479 MHz (the 2-meter band), giving hams access to the standard FM mode in this range.

The term ‘Amateur Radio’ has some history behind it, dating back to the original radio amateurs. These ‘radio amateurs‘ were the keen experimenters, innovators, designers, and manufacturers of the first radio equipment. They were also radio fans, amateur folk singers, and others that used this newfound technology in their everyday lives.

Here are some basic ideas that are at the core of Amateur Radio, why they are essential, and how they make the world better:

  •  Friendship-The cornerstone of what makes Amateur Radio great is the people who can be found “on the other side” of the microphone. When a group of hams gets together on the radio, it’s called a net. Nets are an essential way for hams to practice what they love by connecting with others who share similar interests. They strengthen friendships and build networks of people willing and able to help each other during emergencies. They also provide much-needed social support for those who have limited physical access to others.
  • Fun: Amateur Radio is fun. To many people, “fun” is more important than anything else. It doesn’t matter how well you can solder or how many software packages you know; if you aren’t having fun, Amateur Radio is probably not for you. If this sounds like your thing choosing the best cb radio is easy. All you do is make Google your best friend!

  • Emergencies: Amateur radio is also a helpful hobby when emergencies happen, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, blizzards, and even wars. As one of the most popular hobbies in the world – there are probably over 1.2 million licensed operators worldwide – amateur radio helps to make the world a better place, because Radio Amateurs help keep it safe by monitoring the airwaves for harmful interference, announce wireless public service events, control traffic at public events using mobile/portable two-way radios and even help deliver messages and packages during emergencies.

  • Connections: Amateur Radio is a way to connect directly with people around the world (without relying on the internet or cell phone systems).

  • Hub of innovations: Amateur Radio is a community of innovation (emergency communications, talking to aircraft and balloons in the stratosphere, automated tracking of severe weather and radio propagation, ham radio satellites, etc.). Won’t someone think of the children? Save your children from becoming couch potatoes.

Final words

Amateur Radio is a diverse hobby where you can learn electronics and work with cool gizmos. It’s also a whole community of people building objects of wonder and creating projects that work. It’s a hobby where you can network with like-minded people, learn to tinker and make things for others to enjoy.

The best place to buy parts for your project is from other hams. That’s because other hams know what’s needed to keep their rigs running and are more likely to have the parts you need. Plus, buying from other hams helps support the hobby.

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