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Ham radio is people! Ham radio is all about people!
All kinds of people!

People just like you.....the folks next door, down the block, around your town and around the world.

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 WITHOUT WIRES!
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 spark from
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,
this was accomplished.
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!
They soon were able to send and receive messages over greater and greater distances by Morse Code using sparks and eventually learned how to modify
them to send messages over the Atlantic!
Other experimenters were just not satisfied with using Morse Code for the messages. They wondered.....HMMMMM!.....could it be possible to use the
human voice instead of Morse Code to get their messages heard!
More 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 radio.
During all this time when all this experimenting was going on in the early years,

Enter the first "Ham Radio Operators"!

These "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 radio.
Eventually, 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!

All 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 WORLDWIDE!!
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 communication.
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 enjoy!

Now don't get me wrong.

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, to
communicate OVER THE AIR to other hams worldwide! You will learn how we do it!

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 questions!

Ham Radio...Our Nations' Backup Communication System!

WTC....SHUTTLE disaster....STORMS.....FLOODS....FIRE....

Ham Radio is there to provide primary communications
when all else fails!

During most major disasters, local police, fire, rescue, public, and other local radio and telephone systems usually are overloaded, down, or do
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
local 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 communications
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!

Hams can 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 equipment!
Behind the scenes during STS -107! The Shuttle down over Texas!
During 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 emergencies!
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 weather situations!

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 me!

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 conversation.

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 Station!
Most of the astronauts are licensed hams. Ham radio can be used as a backup communication system aboard the Space Station!

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 them!

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 YOU!

People from all walks of life are doing it every day......so can you!

HMMMMM!.....I just wonder?..... if there is a way to send this article
THRU THE AIR.....AROUND THE WORLD, USING RADIO WAVES  and not over the internet.....WITH PICTURES.......... and SOUND?........YEP!

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 it!
JOIN US.  Get the study material here

  HMMMMMMMM? I WONDER!........ WHAT IF?.........

Written and copyrighted by N4UJW (A Ham)



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