QUESTION...WHAT IS HAM
WHAT IS HAM RADIO ALL
Ham radio is people! Ham radio is all about people!
kinds of people!
People just like you.....the folks next
door, down the block, around your town and around the
Ham radio started long ago with nothing more than a
SPARK of electricity!
Long before radio as we know it today came
about, long before you and I were born, PEOPLE were experimenting
with the latest technology around the turn of the last century, with
something called ELECTRICITY and....HMMMMM, they wondered if there
was any way that it could be used to send messages THRU THE AIR
After lots of experimentation by lots of PEOPLE,
they discovered that yes, in fact, you could send and receive
messages with that spark thru the air over an unseen medium called
an electromagnetic wave!
Radio was born!
These people, after
much trial and error, soon learned how to build "Home
brewed" spark generators and crude receivers that could "hear" the
a few feet away. The next step was to increase the
distance the spark could be heard and after much more experimenting
with this new thing called electricity,
Now they knew that just detecting the spark was not
enough to communicate messages, so an attempt was made to turn
the spark on and off in a kind of
code called Morse Code.. They
accomplished their goal after more trial and error!
were able to send and receive messages over greater and greater
distances by Morse Code using sparks and eventually learned how to
them to send messages over the Atlantic!
experimenters were just not satisfied with using Morse Code for the
messages. They wondered.....HMMMMM!.....could it be possible to use
human voice instead of Morse Code to get their messages
PEOPLE said, "IMPOSSIBLE!" THEY WERE MAD!
experimentation followed, again with lots of trial and error but,
you guessed it...they did it! After many more years, broadcast radio
came about...the same
that you can hear on the AM band on your
During all this time when all this experimenting was going
on in the early years,
OTHER PEOPLE GOT INTERESTED.
Enter the first "Ham
"Ham Radio operators", were so amazed and interested in this new
PHENOMENON, that they started tinkering around with it as a "hobby"
with their own designs, trials and errors and continued
experimenting with new ideas for this latest technology called
due to their experimentation, they sometimes would cause strange
sounds and noises on their neighbor's radios and when anything out
of the ordinary was heard on them, someone would ask "What is
causing that?", and the response sometimes would be, "Oh, that's
just that HAM, down the street!" Some believe this is why we are
called HAMS today. Not because of the noise, but due to the phrase
that stuck....the word HAM. Others say that the word ham is a slang
term shortened from the word amateur with an "h" added on the front!
Although no one knows for sure why we are called hams, we are HAPPY
AND PROUD TO BE CALLED HAMS or AMATEUR RADIO OPERATORS!
of the hams back then did not have much information or knowledge
about how radio worked, but when a ham would learn a new technique
or tried something
that worked better, he would share his new
found knowledge with other hams and they too would verify that the
new idea would, in fact, be better, and they in turn would share
their knowledge with other hams who would take the knowledge and
improve on it and of course, share it again with their Ham Radio
Friends. That's part of the pure JOY OF BEING A HAM.......THE
SHARING OF KNOWLEDGE AND FRIENDSHIP WITH YOUR HAM RADIO FRIENDS
Hams back then, and even hams in our day and time are
still experimenting with "radio" on a daily basis and are
experimenting with, and discovering new modes of
Many of your latest "toys" such as cell
phones, shortwave radio, antennas, satellite radio and tv broadcast
technology, computer, digital electronics, audio and video devices,
deep space communications and other devices came directly from the
results of experiments made by hams burning the midnight oil in
their basements, garages and their kitchen tables with questions
going around in their heads!
You can thank them..... the hams,
for major improvements to technology that you know
NOW DON'T GET ME
Not all hams have that same desire to experiment in our day
and age and it is not a requirement of Ham Radio. Lots of us are in
it just for the FUN, knowing we can communicate over radio
using lots of ways
including our voice to our friends around the world!
We even use the computer
without the internet, repeat, without the internet,
communicate OVER THE AIR to other hams
Experimenting is a matter of choice and FUN among
some of us but you can bet your boots....there are still a lot of us
PEOPLE who are hams out their in the world that are quietly
"tinkering" with their own little
RADIO......OUR NATION'S BACKUP COMMUNICATION SYSTEM!
Radio is there to provide primary
when all else
most major disasters, local police, fire, rescue, public, and other
local radio and telephone systems usually are overloaded, down, or
not have the capabilities to provide the emergency
communications needed to save lives and
property. Cell phones become un-usable due to severe congestion
or damage, electricity and emergency generators for
authorities can be out of service for days or their systems are not
designed to communicate over wide areas or with different
departments, phone lines are destroyed and in short, most emergency
can come to a halt!
Ham radio operators are
called in to re-establish vital communication
links using their
own equipment, knowledge, skills and training to provide these most
valuable services to the public and our government!
put together a complete radio station out in the middle of no where
far from the nearest power pole. They are capable of
transmitting around the world with very modest
Behind the scenes during STS -107! The Shuttle
down over Texas!
the shuttle disaster in Texas, only ham radio
operators were able
to get communications too and from
the remote debris search areas and they gave their time and skills
in this massive undertaking.
During most situations, hams are
always some of the, if not the first PEOPLE to respond in
Hams work closely with the National Weather Service
as trained"Spotters" for severe storms from their vehicles
transmitting vital weather information
back to hams at the
Weather Service offices.
There's nothing in weather technology like many pairs
of trained eyes that can determine and report all types of dangerous
When those of us who experiment
and "tinker" with new ideas for communication are not "tinkering",
or providing public service, we
usually can be found on the air
talking to our ham radio friends around
the world or around the
block about most any subject you can imagine and just plain having
fun using radio to talk to other PEOPLE just like you and
As a licensed ham radio operator, we have many "modes" of
communicating to other hams both locally and world wide. Some of the
modes we use include voice (there are many voice modes like AM,
FM, SSB, digital), Morse code, (that's that
dit dit dit dit dit
dit stuff) That was Hi, in Morse code to a
ham who uses it!
We are also authorized
to use computers interfaced with radio to send many digital modes
and other fun stuff such as video signals, (That's real
pictures both live and still). We can sit at our keyboard and "talk"
using radio, to a station around the world from us in live real
time. He watches his computer monitor and sees us typing out our
message in real time to him...all over the radio...no internet or
chat rooms to go down in the middle of a
And if we really want
to "reach out much further" there are many Amateur radio satellites
in orbit we are authorized to use (FREE) and we are also
authorized to talk to the hams aboard the International Space
Most of the astronauts are licensed hams. Ham radio can be used as a backup communication system
aboard the Space
Many "earth bound" hams have set up simple ham stations in
schools for the purpose of letting the students ask the astronauts
aboard the space station questions about space and space travel. The
students love talking to the space station live over the radio as it
passes hundreds of mile overhead! The crew aboard the Space Station
get a big "kick" out of it also when they are answering questions
from students on the earth passing below
But just talking to the Space Station is not the
limit....there is the moon and beyond!
Yes...hams actually use the moon to reflect their radio
signals back to distant places on the earth! "Moon bounce" as it is
called, is just one fascinating aspect of ham radio and you don't
have to be a genius to do it.
So you can see, with a ham radio license issued by the
Federal Government, you can be on your way to this fascinating
"hobby" and enjoy the fun and excitement that ham radio offers....It
is not a government sanctioned hobby for everyone, but you just may
be one of many that will do fine and really get into one of the many
avenues that Amateur Radio offers you.
It won't come easy...you
will have to "work" for it with a bit of study and pass a
written exam to prove you are worthy to be issued your Call Sign and
your license! But...when you do get your license, you will join the
ranks of many thousands of "hams" just waiting for you to join
in with the fun!
If you have read this far, you already
know that you have an interest in radio communications and you have
taken the FIRST STEP in getting a ham radio license....the next step
is up to you....DO IT!
Don't worry, you will not learn how to do
ALL of this at one time, that's way too much for any person to
learn...but..as you progress in the license process and go up the
ladder, you WILL learn how it's done by people just like
People from all walks of life are doing it every day......so
HMMMMM!.....I just wonder?..... if there is a way to send
AIR.....AROUND THE WORLD, USING RADIO WAVES and not over the
internet.....WITH PICTURES.......... and
HAM'S ARE DOING IT ALL THE
And they are PEOPLE,
just like you....... AND ME!
Interested? You can do it with us!
What's that...got a question?
Click here to ask
US. Get the
study material here
HMMMMMMMM? I WONDER!........ WHAT IF?.........
copyrighted by N4UJW (A Ham)
TAKE A LOOK AT A HAM RADIO