What is Ham Radio?
A housewife in North Carolina makes friends over the radio with
another ham in Lithuania. An Ohio teenager uses his computer to
upload a digital chess move to an orbiting space satellite, where
it's retrieved by a fellow chess enthusiast in Japan. An aircraft
engineer in Florida participating in a "DX contest" swaps his call
sign and talks to hams in 100 different countries during a single
weekend. In California, volunteers save lives as part of their
involvement in an emergency response. And from his room in Chicago, a
ham's pocket-sized hand-held radio allows him to talk to friends in
the Carolinas. This unique mix of fun, public service and convenience
is the distinguishing characteristic of Amateur Radio. Although hams
get involved for many reasons, they all have in common a basic
knowledge of radio technology and operating principles, and pass an
examination for the FCC license to operate on radio frequencies known
as the "Amateur Bands." These bands are radio frequencies reserved by
the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for use by hams at
intervals from just above the AM broadcast band all the way up into
extremely high microwave frequencies.
If you have a
connection faster than Dial-up:
to this spot,
What Is Amateur Radio?
(1.3MB) or View
Take A Moment -- Imagine...
Take A Moment -- Imagine... (9.1MB)
The Morse Code is no longer required for Amateur Radio licensing.
However, it is still a legal mode for Amateurs on
and widely used for repeater identification. It is also
helpful in making contact, when that voice signal is not enough.