A very common question among asked by people interested in amateur radio operation is why there is whether they need a license to set up operations or not. The simple answer is; Yes, you do, but to understand why this is so and how licensing is beneficial to the whole system we should start by looking at the two radio services offered up in the United States that do NOT require licensing.

These are services available to the general public that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) allows without licensing. However, the FCC requires that for these to be made available to the public, very specific regulations regarding design, power restrictions, and the frequencies they may operate on have to be adhered to. The most widespread of these services include:

· The Family Radio Service (FRS) radio, more commonly known as a walkie-talkie, that you can buy at any local convenience store. It is commonly limited to just about half a watt of power and is designated for use over fourteen very specific channels or frequencies.

· The Citizen’s Band (CB) radio, which most of us might recognize as that which is used by long distance truckers to communicate with each other while on the road, adheres to somewhat similar regulations. The difference lies in its capacity and range, as it allows for power usage of up to 12 watts on a range of 40 channels.

In the cases of both examples above, operators are restricted from opening up the radios and amplifying the signals as this would violate the laid down FCC regulations.

Now, the thing about amateur radio that makes it a bit more restricted than the examples above is the fact that it’s much less bound by the FCC regulations regarding power and frequency ranges. There are classes of licenses offered to the public which grant the license holders the right to use certain frequencies non-license holders will not have access to and power levels reaching up to 1500 watts. You’re also allowed to build and modify your own equipment as long as you stay within FCC guidelines for your class. The different licenses are:

Technician Class: Attaining this license gives you access to 17 bands of frequencies of about 30 megahertz (MHZ)

General Class: This will give you the right to access a great deal of the ten shortwave (high frequency) bands which give you the ability to communicate with operators all over the world.

Amateur Extra: This is the highest license attainable, granting the holder access to the entire amateur radio spectrum worldwide.

From the above information it isn’t hard to figure out why having a license might be important. These radios are powerful and so call for more responsibility in their use to make sure operators have enough technical and procedural knowledge to avoid interference, maintain safety standards, and interact with foreign operators in a manner that will reflect well on your country.

Getting your License

Acquiring a license is not as difficult as most would imagine. It used to be slightly challenging in the past because HAM operators were required to have a working knowledge of Morse code and basic electrical skills but nowadays, because Morse is rarely if ever used and radio sets come pre-assembled and are a lot safer to use, the exams are a lot more forgiving.

To take the exam look up your local Volunteer Examiner, who’s licensed and recognized by the FCC as qualified to administer these exams. The government does not charge for licensing, but a small fee may be charged by your volunteer examiner. Licenses are valid for 10 years, upon which time they have to be renewed, although nowadays this can be easily done online.



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What Makes Ham Radio Useful Today?

Ham radio is useful for communication today because it continues to be a strong standard for wireless communication with others. It can work without the use of any mobile phones or online signals. Such a radio setup can be critical in many emergencies and other situations where dire help is needed.

Ham radio is not necessarily thought about these days but it is much more important to society than people realize. It is vital for many uses and can make a difference in some important situations.

Vital For Emergencies

A key concern about many emergencies is that they can cause cell phone and online communication signals to go out. This might cause people to be stranded with no way to contact others for help. With a ham radio, it becomes easier for people to send signals calling for help. Such signals may be sent out to get people to come over to help in some manner even if there are no signals in a local area.

This is a point that has become vital for many emergency needs. When weather-related disasters strike, a ham radio link might be the only means of communication between an impacted area and the outside. This is especially important when the weather conditions become very difficult and hard to get through.

Information to Travelers

A ham radio can also be used to get in touch with people who are traveling to local areas. Such radio signals can be used to send information on what is happening in a local spot and any possible precautions that need to be taken. By providing this information over a ham radio, it becomes easier for people to figure out what is happening in any spot one wants to travel out to.

Business Interactions

One problem that come comes with traditional online or phone interactions is that they can not only cost money but also be tough to maintain at times. There are often issues that come with people having faulty phones that might not get signals in certain areas or online connections that are far too spotty and hard to maintain.

A Growing Community

Ham radio is also useful in that more people are turning to it for their communication needs. There are nearly three-quarters of a million registered ham radios being used around the United States in 2017. This is an increase over the nearly half a million radios from about twenty years ago. It is clear that people are looking into ham radios as they start to notice the features that come with them and what makes these so special and worth using.

A ham radio can provide people with a consistent level of communication so long as the right frequencies and networks are used. With this, the radio signals that go through the air will be consistent and will be much harder to disrupt than what you might find elsewhere. This is important for keeping a good connection running in any scenario.

In summary, ham radio is really useful even to this day. Take a look at how ham radio connections work and how you can get involved with this thrilling and unique activity.



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HAM radio is a unique method of connecting with the people from all over the world with just a small radio. Some people use it to make new friends from around the world, while others tune in and listen for emergencies with which they can be of assistance. At the beginning of this radio technology, it was necessary to learn Morse code, but today, users speak and communicate with other users around the world.
Getting involved with HAM radio is quite simple and can be done by almost anyone. The only things that are needed are a radio and a basic understanding of radio technology and operations.
These radio users are also required to pass an examination from FCC before they being allowed to work on Amateur Bands, which have been reserved for this purpose.
The people who use amateur radio, known as Hams, come from all over the world and all walks of life. Teens use it in playing games with international friends just as often as the housewives use it to connect with other women from around the globe. There are hams broadcasting that come from a wide array of geographical locations, socioeconomic groups, and nationalities.
There are many reasons that someone may decide to get involved with HAM radio. For some, it is a social activity, and they take part in local radio clubs. These clubs often hold “DX Contests,” where participants compete to get the most friends from the furthest away. With HAM radio, it is even possible to communicate with astronauts in space.
HAM operators often install towers on their property, which transmits a radio frequency (similar to both radio stations and CB radio) without the ability to broadcast or sell any products. They enjoy logging into the various corners of the world and becoming friends with others – some over thousands of miles away.
A HAM operator is a licensed individual, taking a test before they can ever sign on, that enjoys electronics. There are some that have created their towers and radios from scratch, taking electronic tinkering to a whole new understanding.
Unlike traditional radio towers, HAM operators are generally on a different frequency, without all the commercial equipment a normal “station” would carry. This means, in an emergency when the large stations become down, the HAM operators are still able to carry on and reach around the world through their equipment. Because the radios are much smaller than commercial stations, they can be powered with much less energy (often a car battery or motorcycle battery can bring them to life,) providing an excellent means of communication in a devastating situation.
HAM radio operators are not only great for emergencies, but for those wanting to reach a new global means of communication. They have been known to chat with fellow operators in the space station, discover how the weather is in China or even learn how to speak Portuguese with a friend they’ve made in Brazil. Many of these operators also operate on a family environment mentality, meaning unlike the CB radio, you don’t have to cover your children’s ears if they enter the room.
HAM radio is a fun and interesting hobby that allows users to connect with others from all corners of the globe. It is even possible to be a hero with this form of radio if a local emergency is detected. You just might find that you are first on the scene and that radio would possibly be the reason that life was saved. If you want to try and reach as far as outer space from the comfort of home, try getting involved with HAM radio.
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Introduction Amateur radio, commonly referred to as ham radio, is a popular hobby and volunteer public service which uses specific radio frequencies to exchange messages, self-training, wireless experimentation and emergency communications. This is the only hobby that is regulated by an international treaty. Anybody can be a radio amateur. As an amateur, you can transmit signals on various frequency bands that are specifically allocated to radio amateurs. It is not CB Ham radio differs from CB (Citizen Band), Family Radio Service (FRS) and General Mobile Radio Service. These only permit local communications through strictly limited frequencies and modes. On the other hand, ham radio operators can use any mode of communication: AM, FM, SSB, RTTY, CW, ATV, SSTV and Packet among hundred other ways you don’t even know existed. As a ham, you have privilege across all the radio spectrum, from the shortwave spectrum to the microwave. You can talk with other hams in whichever part of the world they are in, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, and from Antarctica to Greenland. Another way in which ham radio differs from CB is that it is a polite radio with no foul language seen in CB. Licensing requirements For anyone to use a ham radio, they must pass a written exam after which they will be assigned a unique call sign from FCC. That call sign is unique to you, and no one else has it. Not long ago, ham radio users were also required to pass a Morse code test before they could get a ham licenses. But this is no longer the case as the requirement was done away with. At the moment, the FCC has three different categories of amateur radio license, and these are Technical, General and Extra. The Technical license is the entry-level one, and its examination is fairly easy. It covers basic safety and operating practices, ham regulations and simple electronics. The exam contains 35 questions, and one has to answer at least 26 questions right to pass. What you can do with ham Simply put ham radio is just a social hobby. Whether you are talking around the world, around the town, at club meetings or even conventions, you will have an opportunity to know some nice people. Personally, I enjoy using ham radio for public service, providing information support for events such as Boston Marathon. Cellular systems tend to get quickly swamped and reliable when many people try using their cell phones at the same time in public events. But ham radio will always get the message through. Ham radio is also great for emergency communication. It’s not unusual for primary communication to fail during emergency situations like hurricane Katrina. Amateur radio operators have been trained on how to provide emergency communication during such instances. The appeal of Ham Radio The mix of public service, fun and friendship is the main draw of amateur radio. Hams are essentially the cutting edge of several technologies. They offer zillions of hours of volunteer service, and emergency services when the mainstream communications are overloaded or go down. All the hams relish the fact that they are creators, not just consumers of wireless technology.


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Also known by the name amateur radio, HAM radio which is a good combination that brings communication, electronics and people together. It could help people to remain connected across the world and even in space. However, what makes HAM radios so unique is the fact that it can work without internet or even mobile phones. While it could be a great way to socialize, get education and information, it also could be a great lifeline in terms of emergency when all other forms of communications could have failed or could be partially functional. Over the next few lines we will try and find out as to how this old and time tested device works.


The World Of Two-Way Conversations


Though HAM radio has the capability of broadcasting in all directions, the radios are not used the same way as they are in a radio station. In a conventional radio, with FM and AM waves, the broadcast is made by one person who could be a jockey and there could be thousands or even millions of people who would be listening to it. However, this is not the case as far as HAM radios are concerned. This is basically a world of two way conversations. It could be between two individuals or between groups of closed individuals. This could be in the form of informal roundtable. These groups could be located in the same city, town, country, state or could be located in some other continent of the world. This would depend on the frequency and the time of the day.


How Do They Start


Most hams get started with the help of their VHF FM. They make use of the hand held trans-receivers which are battery operated. They have the capability of receiving in one frequency and transmit in some other frequency. They also use a technology known as FM repeaters and these are supported and set up with the help of local radio clubs. They generally borrow antenna space from the owners of TV station towers. Many of these could be located atop hills and even mountains apart from high rise buildings. This helps to receive such signals and transmit them to a wider area.


How Does FM Repeater Work


The FM Repeater is capable of receiving one signal at a time and once this is done it rebroadcasts it to quite a few networks. This is done with the help of large chunks of power which are measured in watts. This power required is much more when compared to conventional hand-held radios. This helps in covering a few miles and it can also be extended to hundreds of miles if needed.


These repeaters make use of common transmits and receive frequencies in pairs. These frequency pairs that are made us of are generally assigned to groups. Such assignment is not rigid and is done informally. This is done to ensure that the frequency pairs are reasonable distance away from another repeater. This certainly would go a long way in preventing interference.


This is just the basic information about the way in which ham radios work. The best way to know more about it is to spend some more quality time knowing the intricacies of these devices especially in emergencies and in times of natural calamities.



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