Introduction to Amateur Radio by Asmodian X.

This article is intended as an informational introduction on the capabilities of
amateur radio.

Disclaimer :To broadcast using amateur radio frequencies it will require at least a FCC No-Code Technician License.

1 . Getting your license
2 . Common HAM radio Activities
3 . Informative resources on Amateur radio

1. Getting your license

Amateur licenses are inexpensive to get and they require only a basic understanding of radio waves, Allotted FCC Frequencies for amateur use, basic electronic theory and FCC rules and regulations in regards to Ham radio.

The best way to find out about official testing for a Technician License will be through either a local radio club, a local or regional ham radio equipment store or... the Internet.

The test is fairly simple, under 50 questions and it covers mostly opperating procedures, FCC regulations, basic electronics and basic radio theory. They throw in some minutia questions covering basic electronics, radio theory and ham spectrum information just to make things interesting.

Once you have passed the test, they will send your details to the FCC who will then log your information into their national database and assign you a sequential amateur call sign. You can even create a semi-custom call sign for an additional fee.
Once you are logged into the national database you may then transmit on the amateur radio frequencies.

1. You may not use codes or encrypted transmissions.
2. Only licensed radio operators may use the ham radio bands. There are specific regarding what may be transmitted and by/from and to.
3. Every radio transmission you make must have your call sign associated with it.
4. If you can't say that on television, you cant say that on the radio. (no cursing)
5. If you get caught breaking the rules, you could loose your license, go to jail and or get fined.
6. Certain frequencies are restricted to certain types of communication, for instance certain bands are limited to Morse code only, while others you can use, voice, packet radio or TV.

2 . Common HAM radio Activities
Amateur radio operators exist to innovate and expand the field of radio electronics, promote international communication and good will and provide emergency communications when needed.

There are regional, national and international radio organizations who provide resources for management of the radio spectrum and emergency communication services. A common activity to the emergency communications mission is creating an emergency "jump pack" which contains all of the necessities to create a mobile communications system. Many people have modified their vehicles to be able to serve this purpose. Others have mobile towers and camping gear to create a command center of sorts when the need arrives. Common activities amongst these groups are training exercises where radio transmissions sources are traced to their source. This is called a fox hunt.

Other activities HAM operators do is to access gateway or relay resources. A gateway could be a packet radio node which could connect a ham operator to the Internet (albeit very slowly (9.6 kbps max). There are also telephone relays which allow a HAM operator to connect to the phone network to make an out going call.

A common activity of some HAMs is to use an Internet gateway to send GPS information automatically to a tracking website, like bright kite.

You may also transmit video over radio.

The ionosphere is a wonderful thing, radio can bounce off of the ionosphere and reach whole other continents. There are no restrictions on who you can talk to, provided both governments are not at a state of war or some other political barrier exists.

Now here is the tricky part, A HAM operator must allow the FCC to inspect their radio upon request. SO if one were to modify the radio to transmit or receive on channels which the operator is not licensed for they can do bad things to you. However in an emergency transmitting on a restricted (emergency services frequencies for instance) is a forgivable offense. So it seems that there is a kind of unofficial grey area in regards to radio modification, a kind of "if you do this there had better be a darn good reason" kind of thing.

3 . Informative resources on Amateur radio

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