Communication nowadays has many different shapes. We use telephones, faxes, cell phones, the internet and many other means which might be considered outdated like letters or radio communication. However, there are more than 2,000,000 HAM radio enthusiasts around the world, and 600,000 of them are located in the United States.
HAM radio is a mean of communication which is performed via radio waves and it is quite similar to any radio station. All you need to have in order to become a HAM radio operator are headphones or speakers, microphone and a HAM radio device which varies in size, power and price, of course; the basic equipment however, can be found for less than $200.
Unlike CB radio, HAM radio stations can communicate with each other via satellites, so the radio signal can bounce of from a satellite to another HAM device, and radio waves can even be bounced of from the Moon or Aurora Borealis to other HAM devices! Some people use HAM radio to communicate with international space stations. (?!)
Modern HAM radio devices can have a computer or a tablet interface and therefore send data or images or even a Morse code, which is still very popular and interesting.
HAM radio station can be set up anywhere: indoors and outdoors. What is even more convenient, you can take your equipment with you wherever you go, but in order to be able to use it, you will need two things:
First of all, you will need to have some basic knowledge of radio technology and operating principles and the second thing you will need is a FCC license that will allow you to operate on Amateur Radio Bands.
Once you get your license you will be able to communicate on all frequencies from 1.8 Megahertz, which is just above the broadcast radio frequencies, up to 275 Gigahertz. Various frequencies are used for various purposes. Mainly, the higher the frequency, the easier it is to send the messages to bigger distances. You will also be able to use some of the lower frequencies (535-1605 kHz) that are reserved for amateur radio bands. Other frequencies are most commonly reserved for government, military and commercial radio, but they are also used by taxi companies and for market flees and other professional communication.
The amateur radio emerged back in the 19th century but its real expansion happened at the beginning of the 20th century. Back at the time, all wireless communications were going through landline telegraphs and it was used for various reasons. For example, the government used it, ships used it, the military used it and among all, amateurs used it and the licenses were not implemented. Many amateurs were competing with the commercial radios for the most powerful frequencies. Two amateurs, talking to each other from one side of town to other, could easily jam all other operations and nobody was very fond of them, so they’ve earned the pejorative name – HAM. Interestingly, the amateurs of that time didn’t really realize that the name had a negative connotation, so they adopted the term by which they are still called today.