ARRL

What is ham radio?

What is Ham Radio?

Ham Radio, also known as Amateur Radio is a popular hobby and a service in which licensed participants operate communications equipment with a deep appreciation of the radio art. Like a true "Amateur" Athlete who is not paid for their talents, a radio amateur must not be paid for providing communications for others, such as providing communications in areas affected by manmade and natural disasters. The word "Amateur" is often defines as "lacking professional skill and ease in a particular pursuit". However, the true meaning of this word is, "not paid" and as one learns of the many facets of the hobby, they will find that radio amateurs are really radio “experts”.  

Ham Radio operators are self trained hobbyists who are always increasing their knowledge of electronics and radio theory while enjoying the privileges of access to the airwaves. With worldwide wireless communications, hams are also ambassadors for their country. Radio provides the opportunity for communications with hams in nearly every other foreign country. There are over 600,000 radio amateurs in the United States and over 2,000,000 worldwide.   

Ham Radio enthusiasts are more than hobbyists; they are the key part of the Amateur Radio Service, supporting communities with vital communications during disasters, if necessary. For instance, it was the Amateur Radio Service which kept New York City agencies in touch with each other after their command center was destroyed during the 9/11 attack. Ham Radio came to the rescue during Hurricane Katrina, where all other communications failed. While you might think Ham Radio is just a hobby, it actually has saved countless lives with the help of its skillful and trained operators. Consider Amateur Radio as a service; a vital asset to any country.  

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