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Discovering Amateur Radio!
The FCC, Federal Communications Commission, established amateur radio as a voluntary, non-commercial, radio communications service. It allows licensed radio operators to improve their communications and technical skills, while providing the nation with a pool of trained radio operators and technicians who can provide essential communications during emergencies.
Ham radio/Amateur radio has something fun for everyone. Ham Radio is well known as a most important communications backup for our Federal Government in times of emergency. If you have ever heard severe weather reports from "trained spotters" on a TV or radio station weather alert, hams are usually those trained spotters sometimes risking their lives to help warn the public of dangerous weather ahead. They are not paid for this service! NOAA weather stations usually have ham radio operators and equipment on board at you local weather station to monitor the "spotter ham radio frequencies" so they can get the severe weather reports out to the public much faster. Many "eyes" on the ground are much better than radar in many cases and licensed "hams" volunteer their time, equipment and expert techniques to provide this service to their community and surrounding areas.
Weathermen will tell you that the weather radar is limited in the outer areas of the radar coverage, so this is where real eyes on the ground, trained spotters, can save lives by reporting back to the weather service office via ham radio, not cell phones which may be dead, about severe weather that may be heading your way...far in advance of the actual radar picking up the bad weather!
Amateur Radio operators are people from all walks of life--no matter what age, gender or physical ability. Did you know that most of the NASA astronauts are Amateur Radio Operators? You're never too young or old. There is no age requirement! And, getting started in Amateur Radio has never been easier!
The Ham Radio Operator License Classes:
In the U.S., there are 3 license levels, or "license classes."
You don't buy a ham radio license, you earn it by study and passing the license exam.
Technician Class - The First level of Ham radio license
Imagine the thrill of talking to the astronauts, many of whom are licensed "ham radio operators", aboard the Space Station, talking directly to ham radio satellites in space that relay your signals to earth far beyond your horizon, or just around the block or around the world using your own licensed station and equipment! Using the computer and Ham radio, you can "talk" using your voice or the keyboard to ham friends or make new ones literally around the world using less power than a 100 watt light bulb!
Hams know how to do this! It's certainly not CB radio!
I'ts way beyond and out of this world excitement over radio!
Remember, you must be licensed by the Federal Communications Commission, (the FCC) and in order to get a ham radio license, you must pass an exam to receive your license. Exam testing is usually given in or near your local area by ham radio operators that want you to pass the test!
To earn a Technician Ham license, which is the entry level license, and will get you started and open the many "doors" awaiting you, you'll need to pass the Technician written exam. It is written with the beginner in mind. With a little study on your part and a passing grade behind you, you get your first ham radio license! The license is FREE and issued by the Federal Government with easy renewal after 10 years! You will get a call sign shortly after passing the exam that is issued by the FCC.
There are three classes of ham radio operators along with three multiple-choice exams. You don't need a background in Electronics although it does help for the higher classes of licenses. You'll study topics such as radio operating practices, FCC rules and regulations pertaining to amateur radio and very basic electrical and electronic theory.
Children do it all the time and so can you! Teens love it to when they get into it and off of the cell phone which by the way usually goes down in bad storms! But ham radio operators know how to bypass the cell phone system by using their own radio transmitter and equipment! You can do all of this with a Technician class license and lots more.
Learn more about the study materials!
General Class Ham license - The second level and the most popular class of Ham license is the General Class. You get privileges on ALL Ham bands.
Learn more about the study materials!
Extra Class - The highest level of Ham license is called Extra Class.
In order to advance up the ladder to General Class and then Extra if you want the highest license class, you first take the Technician exam, then the General and last the Extra class. You do not have to advance if you are happy with staying with the Technician class but most Ham radio operators go for the more popular General class after passing the Technician and getting a bit of experience. The General class authorizes ALL ham radio bands and modes. Some people even take all three exams in one sitting! The tests have to be taken in order. You can't skip a test.
Where Do you Start?
The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) publishes excellent ham radio license study guides for all classes of ham licenses to help you learn the things you'll need to pass your exam and have fun with Amateur Radio.
(The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual)
Hamuniverse.com is dedicated in loving memory to my DAD who sparked the interest in ham radio and to my MOM who keeps the flame hot and also to my wife and family who make me "carry the wood".
JUST MAKE YOURSELF AT HOME!