One of the most popular radios for both hobbies and for work is Ham radio.
This radio is also called amateur radio. In different parts of the world, people adore Ham radio for the fact that it combines communication and electronics.
If you do not have internet and a mobile phone has no connection, it is not a problem if you have Ham radio. This radio makes it possible to communicate in the city and even in space – the Internet and telephone communications are not needed for this.
Ham radio is a fun pastime that can also be useful especially when there are no other means of communication at hand.
What Is The Appeal Of Ham Radio?
As I said, Ham radio’s special attraction is that it gives you a connection wherever you are.
You can be at home or on top of a mountain, you can drive a car or fly into space – Ham radio will connect you with the people anyway.
Ham radio can be your lifeline in the truest sense of the word. Amateur radio helps when other channels are out of reach. Ham radio will continue to work in emergency situations: hurricane, flood, terrorists and so on.
Do you need examples? Look: Ham radio helped people ask for help during Hurricane Katrina. Then no communications were possible, nothing worked except Ham radio. The same situation occurred in 2013 when there was a flood in Colorado.
I can say this: if you have Ham radio you can be sure that you will get help in difficult times.
But in order to use Ham radio, it is not necessary to be in the balance from death. You can communicate through Ham radio with friends, other radio amateurs.
It is also possible to connect amateur radio to a PC or tablet and send some data, text or images, even Morse code.
Do you want to talk to astronauts on the International Space Station? Ham radio gives you this opportunity.
In space, there are several satellites that will help you and talk to astronauts and communicate with other radio amateurs, and receive/send some signals to the moon.
Ham radio can be very useful even when you feel the potential of a DIY master. Or if computer games are your main hobby then you can use Ham radio to compete with other gamers.
As you can see, Ham radio is attractive because it gives many possibilities. You can use the radio for many different purposes without repeating.
And most importantly – this is a good friendly message. Just imagine: you will communicate with people from different parts of the Earth who speak other languages and belong to other cultures.
In the US, there are 600,000 radio amateurs, and worldwide, their number is more than 2 million. A lifetime is not enough to communicate with each of these people every day. But you can get close to this with Ham radio.
What About The License?
If you ever dealt with a radio, then you know for sure that this is an urgent issue. The point is that many radios require a special license from the FCC to use.
And what about Ham radio? Yes, you need a license.
Getting a license is easy. You only need to pass several written tests. You may also need to pass a Morse test (for 5 words per minute). Different tests depend on different license types.
There are a number of reasons for this:
- Ham radio works in emergency situations and provides backups, and it requires responsibility.
- Ham radio develops communication and technical skills.
- Radio allows you to set up international contacts.
Ham radio is an emergency agent that saves people in difficult situations. Initially, people took Ham radio with them to the sea to communicate with stations on the coast.
It is quite logical that such a powerful radio requires a license. You must be responsible for working with Ham radio.
What Features Does Ham Radio Have?
Firstly, Ham radio is both a transmitter and a conductor like other radios. It is true in a general sense. New models are not limited to such a set of qualities.
As a rule, new models have semi-complex controls and menus.
Some Ham radio models have its own antennas. And some models are better to use with an antenna with a magnetic mount.
An important part of Ham radio’s work is power output. Attention: the output power depends on the size and type of Ham radio (it can be a portable or desktop radio).
If we take some general value, then the power can be up to 1500 watts. It is ten times more than a CB radio can offer.
As for the size, it may be different. Ham radio can be so small that it fits easily in your pocket, or it can take up half the garage along with the rest of the equipment.
And what about the range? Radio propagation is in 28 MHz (or 10-meter). But this is not a common value for all models. Again, it all depends on the particular type of radio.
But the range is important for antenna selection. If the waves are long, the antenna must also be long or powerful.
Ham radio uses different frequencies when setting up a conversation. But all frequencies are suitable for amateur use and the FCC is aware of this.
Itis normal if Ham radio works above the AM broadcasting range, in the gigahertz range, because amateur radio can do this. As a rule, the frequency range, in this case, is stretched from 1.6 MHz to slightly above the range of 27 MHz citizens.
Accordingly, in the afternoon you will receive from 15 to 27 MHz. And this is a good long-distance lane. At night, count on the band from 1.6 to 15 MHz.
A good feature is that Ham radio is the only option where you can listen and even communicate with localemergency services.
In addition, Ham radio uses high-frequency bands. It is the best in a major SHTF emergency. The matter is that high-frequency bands can easily reach hundreds of miles, and it does not depend on anything.
Ham radio is not necessarily portable and can have any dimensions. If you want to have compact equipment that you can use in an emergency, choose a practical portable size.
What Problems Can Arise In Working With Ham Radio?
It is difficult to call problems troubles. Most likely, this is the usual features of the work.
For example, you may encounter such a situation: several radio amateurs were on the same frequency and in the same state. It may be due to the fact that the variable frequency setting worked in small increments when transmitting the signal.
If you are going to use Ham radio, you have to remember: this radio listens more often than it transmits a signal (despite the fact that it performs both functions).
How Does Ham Radio Work?
I have already said: Ham radio works as a receiver and as a transmitter.
And note: if you bought a shortwave receiver, then be sure that it takes SSB. It will be necessary for voice communication on short waves.
Working with Ham radio you need to understand that you will not be able to be a jack-tailed. Different operators work at different frequencies and the essence of Ham radio is precise to contact them.
Bilateral conversations are why millions of people use Ham radio. You can also set up a roundtable with other Ham radio users in different cities, states and continents.
You can set up a whole network and so communicate with people, embrace information about health if it happens in disasters.
Ham radio makes it possible to use a repeater that receives one signal (from itself) and at the same time relay a signal on another frequency.
From here you have a large range – up to hundreds of miles literally. A repeater allows you to have a wireless connection throughout the state.
What conclusions can we draw? First, it is better to spend 40 dollars instead of 20, but to get a portable radio model with a lot of opportunities.
Ham radio successfully operates at emergency broadcast frequencies and local emergency services, as CB, FRS, GMRS, and MURS only dream about it.
If you have basic equipment, then you should not hope that you will get in touch with all the local emergency services. Why?
Because many police and fire departments work on a) digital and b) encrypted systems.
Using Ham radio and contacting everyone randomly, you can hardly get a random trucker. Most likely, you will catch your like-minded people or people who are in the same emergency situation.
And yes, Ham radio is not only about communication and disasters. You can also use this for basic listening to commercial AM / FM radio stations.
1. CB vs Ham Radio – What Is The Difference Between Them?
2. How to Make First Contact on Ham Radio