What Is This Radio Stuff?

Amateur Radio

Often referred to as HAM radio, is two way communication on radio frequencies that have been allocated by the FCC for amateur radio use.

In the early years, it was not uncommon for a person to build their own receiver and transmitter. The radios consisted of tubes, which have been replaced by the more familiar transistors of today. The tubes would wear out over time needing replaced to be able to get full power output the transmitter was designed for.

There are a couple of theories where the term ham came form. In short, it has been thought to have originated as a derogatory term, which the community just embraced and ran with it. There are some people today that will correct a person if they put a period after each letter, as it is not an acronym. Another theory is it was a term to separate them from amateur radio broadcasters.

WM4LM & Tiger Cub

The Basics

There are too many uses of amateur radio to list, here are a few:

  • Community, getting to know other users in the area.

  • Hobby where operators make as many contacts in different countries as possible.

  • During emergencies, provide communication when no other options is availble.

  • Contesting - Make as many contacts as possible during a specified time frame on specific frequencies.

  • Experimenting with equipment and antenna setups.

  • Provide communiction during events.