m6ceb Ham Radio Station

What is Ham Radio



What is Amateur radio?
Amateur radio is a fascinating hobby where people from all over the world communicate via radio waves. Amateur radio is also often referred to as Ham Radio. This is a very good hobby where you can do as much or as little as you want, some people just turn their radio on and have a chat (a bit like me ) where others like to experiment with all aspects of the hobby like building different antenna’s taking radio’s apart and experimenting with different components. The difference between ham radio and CB radio is needing to be licensed and the different bands of the radio spectrum you can operate on and the power in watts that can be used, Using CB you are only allowed to use 4 watts of power on one band (around the 27mhz frequency) and there is no etiquette on CB radio so you really do struggle to get a civilized conversation. There are 3 licence classes in the UK, Foundation, Intermediate and Full. I am currently at the foundation level which is relatively easy to do I just did a weekend course and took an exam at the end. The main difference between the classes of licence is the amount of power you are allowed to use:

Foundation licence (m3 or m6) = 10 watts of power

Intermediate licence (2e0) = 50 watts of power

Full licence (g0 m0) = 400 watts of power

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What is the Foundation Licence?

The Foundation Licence is aimed at the ordinary person who wants to get on the air after gaining an understanding of the basics of Amateur Radio. Once you've completed basic Morse appreciation, a practical test and a multiple choice paper, the Foundation Licence gives you the opportunity to operate 10W radios on a variety of amateur radio frequencies. It was introduced in January 2002 and is the entry level into Amateur Radio with the aim of allowing you to get involved in the hobby as quickly as possible. Before you are allowed to go 'on the air', it is important to understand a little about how your radio works, the dangers of interfering with other radio users, how not to upset your neighbours or family and the rules and regulations governing the use of an amateur radio transmitter.

In order to get a Foundation Licence, you have to take part in a training course where most of the training is of a practical nature. There is a small amount of radio and electronics theory - just enough to appreciate basic concepts such as safety, using the correct fuses in your equipment, simple operating procedures and how to build an antenna to get the most out of your radio station.

The courses are run in an informal atmosphere by experienced radio amateurs and usually take about 10-12 hours of study / practical work, usually over a weekend or a number evenings spread over a few weeks. The exam paper will be marked there and then. NOTE: Although the 5 words per minute Morse test is no longer required for Intermediate and Full Licences, a Morse assessment is still required for the Foundation Course.

Once you have passed the exam, you will be awarded a 'Pass', which will allow you to apply for an M3 callsign You will then be able to operate on all bands from 135.7kHz up to 70cm (430 - 440 MHz), except 28MHz, with a power limit of 10 Watts, except for the 135.7 - 137.8kHz band, which is limited to 1 Watt. This is low power but it is sufficient to allow communication around the world. This level of power is known as QRP and many amateurs with full licences, which allow them to use up to 400 Watts, prefer to operate at low power. There is even a low power club devoted to this form of operation.

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