What is Amateur Radio?
Amateur Radio, otherwise known as Ham Radio, is a rewarding and exciting hobby and service using allocated radio frequencies for recreational, non-commercial, experimental, and/or emergency communications. There are no age restrictions and there is a facet of the hobby that can usually accommodate all interests from social to technical. In case of emergencies when cell phone and internet service may be inoperable, ham radio operators are still able to communicate.
While the hobby can be very expensive, a beginner can usaully get on the air for less than $50 for an inexpensive handheld dual band radio.
Although Amateur Radio operators get involved for many reasons, they all have in common a basic knowledge of radio technology and operating principles and pass an examination for the FCC license to operate on radio frequencies known as the “Amateur Bands.” These bands are radio frequencies reserved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for use by ham radio operators.
Before you can get on the air, you need to be licensed and know the rules to operate legally. US licenses are good for 10 years before renewal and anyone may hold one except a representative of a foreign government. In the US there are three license classes—Technician, General and Extra.