What is Amateur Radio?

Amateur radio is a popular technical hobby and volunteer public service
Amateur radio is all about the skill and fascination of communicating using radio, the simple joy of communicating between two people who have a common interest, with nothing between them but thin air.

Radio amateurs use a wide variety of radio communications equipment to communicate with each other and provide emergency communications for their communities.

If you asked ten different amateur radio enthusiasts what amateur radio means to them, the chances are that
you would get ten different answers!  Radio amateurs have discovered a richly rewarding and high-tech hobby that appeals in vastly individual ways to different people. Whether it is the ability to talk to local friends using a low power hand-held transceiver, communicating digitally with data modes to exchange personal messages or vital information in an emergency, talking to other amateurs anywhere in the world, engaging in contests with other radio amateurs over the airwaves, sending television pictures or bouncing signals off the moon there is something for everyone.

A range of technologies
Radio amateurs have their own communications satellites, can talk to astronauts aboard the International Space Station, and are often involved with cutting-edge experimental wireless technology. It is an incredibly diverse and very popular interest with over six million people involved worldwide.

Amateur radio is for everyone
Amateur radio enthusiasts come from all walks of life. You will find among us all ages, income levels and nationalities.
Whether you want to chat to someone at home or abroad over the radio, transmit Morse code, or transmit data via satellite, or be on standby to provide emergency support to your community there is a place for you in the worldwide amateur radio community.

How do you get started?
Anyone can listen in to amateur radio transmissions. In fact if you’re new to amateur radio listening-in for a while is a good way to get a feel for what is going on.
To transmit you will need to pass a simple exam which entitles you to an amateur radio licence and you should look at your national radio society’s website for further details.  In the UK you can find out more at the RSGB website here and in the USA you can read more at the ARRL website here.

For those who are learning about amateur radio and wish to partake in some practise examinations I can thoroughly recommend HamTests.  HamTests provides a range of resources that will help you prepare for your amateur radio exam. HamTests supports all levels with practice exams & some training lessons for Foundation, Intermediate and Advance Licences in the UK & now Technician, General & Amateur Extra in the USA.