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Amateur radio is a hobby with a community of people called hams (origin of name unknown) that use radio transmitters and receivers to communicate with other Amateur radio operators, support large events (e.g. marathons) and provide emergency communications in times of disaster. There are about 600 thousand hams in the United States.
The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) says:
"Ham radio operators use two-way radio stations from their homes, cars, boats and outdoors to make hundreds of friends around town and around the world. They communicate with each other using voice, computers, and Morse code. Some hams bounce their signals off the upper regions of the atmosphere, so they can talk with hams on the other side of the world. Other hams use satellites. Many use hand-held radios that fit in their pockets."
Distance for hand-held radios is extended thru repeater networks where high powered (100-500 watts) repeaters relay signals from lower powered (4-7 watts) hand-helds. There are places where there is no cell phone service but hams can get service.
Some amateur stations provide "patches" into the regular telephone network, so you can make phone calls from your radio.
Government Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) and non-government ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Services) work with emergency service agencies to provide communications in times of disasters.
See: ARES® vs RACES FAQ
Hams also provide communications for many Search and Rescue (SAR) teams in wilderness areas.
To become a ham you have to pass a test to get a Federal Communications Comission (FCC) License. The license use to require Morris Code, but there is now an entry level "Technician" license which does not require it.
Amateur Radio and other personal communication services.
Other Ham Frequencies:
|Type ||Name ||Freq ||Band ||Dist- |
ance (Mi.) 1
|160 meter ||Ham ||1.8 MHz ||MF || || || ||Genl
|Ham ||3.6 - 25 MHz ||HF || ||40 ||200 ||Genl
|CB ||Citizens Band ||27 MHz ||2-5 || ||4 2 ||none
|10 meter ||Ham ||29 MHz || ||40 ||200 ||Genl
|6 meter ||Ham ||50-54 MHz ||VHF || ||40 ||1500 ||Tech
|2 meter ||Ham ||144-148 MHz || ||5-50 ||1500 ||Tech
|MURS ||Multi-Use Radio Service ||150 MHz || || ||2 ||none
|Marine || ||156 MHz || || || ||
|IG ||Industrial/Business ||169 MHz || || || ||
|1¼ meter ||Ham Point-to-point fixed digital message forwarding ||219-220 MHz || ||5-50 ||1500 ||Tech
|1¼ meter/222 ||Ham ||222-225 MHz || ||5-50 ||1500 ||Tech
|IG ||Industrial/Business ||451-467 MHz ||UHF || || || ||
|FRS ||Family Radio Service ||462-467 MHz ||1/2 - 2 ||0.5 ||0.5 ||none
|GMRS ||General Mobile Radio || ||1-4 ||2 ||50 ||y
|70-cm/440 MHz ||Ham ||420-450 MHz || ||5-50 ||1500 ||Tech
|33-cm/900 ||Ham ||902-928 MHz || ||40 ||1500 ||Tech
|23-cm/1240 ||Ham ||1.24-1.3 GHz || ||40 ||1500 ||Tech
|13-cm ||Ham ||2.30-2.31 GHz |
| || ||1500 ||Tech
| 9 cm||Ham||3.3-3.5 GHz||SHF|| || ||1500|
| 5 cm||Ham||5.785-5.925 GHz|| || ||1500|
| 3 cm||Ham||10-10.5 GHz|| || ||1500|
| 1.2 cm||Ham||24.075-24.250 GHz|| || ||1500|
|6 mm||Ham||47.0-47.2, 59-64 GHz ||EHF|| || ||1500|
| 4 mm||Ham||75.5-81 GHz|| || ||1500|
| 2.5 mm||Ham||119.98-120 GHz|| || ||1500|
| 2 mm||Ham||142-149 GHz|| || ||1500|
| 1 mm||Ham||241-250 GHz|| || ||1500|
Other Microwave: 403 GHz
Light: 678 THz
See Frequency Allocation
Radios can be modified to transmit on frequencies other than the amateur bands, but this would probably be a violation of FCC rules.
See: Radio Modifications.
Amateur Radio operators or "Hams" have the added advantage of using repeaters to increase the range of reliable contacts.
There are thousands of amateur radio repeaters located across the country and they are often located on top of the mountain ranges near off highway vehicle trails.
Some repeaters have autopatch capabilities, which means you can make telephone calls from your radio.
- A Technician license permits you to use all VHF/UHF amateur radio frequencies.
Doesn't require Morse code.
- A General class license permits you to use the world wide HF bands.
You must learn the Morse Code at 5 words per minute.
A good choice is a high power mobile unit capable of at least 40 watts. (About $250 new) A dual band mobile (VHF/UHF) with crossband repeater capabilities is even more desirable because you can use the radio in your own truck as a repeater while you are out hiking with a HT (handi-talkie).
2 meter/440 (70-cm) dual band radios are very popular.
The antenna is one of the most critical links in the system. You get more payback from antenna improvements than with any other component.
See: Antennas here.
EchoLink - Links two transcievers with computers using voice-over-IP (VoIP) technology over the Internet. www.echolink.org
Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) - Display the locations of moving stations with GPS receivers on your PC.
Packet Radio Digital Modes (PSK31, FSK, MFSK, ...) for sending data (text, pictures) between computers over radio.
National simplex frequencies for initiationg QSO's - (ragchew) - Arange a new meet frequency.
Source: Utah VHF Society
|| Secondary 1
|| Secondary 2
|| Secondary 3
Radio Codes (Ten-Codes)
Ham Radio Jargon, Abbreviations And Terminology at ac6v.com
- Best Regards - .
- Automatic Packet Reporting System. See above.
- Amateur Radio Emergency Service
- American Radio Relay League
- Broadband over Power Line. A service providing telephone and Internet services over power lines which can cause radiio interference. BPLDataBase.org
- Civil Air Patrol.
- Carrier operated squelch
- Continuous tone coded sub-audible squelch signals. Used by some repeaters use to restrict access.
- Calling any amateur radio station.
- Continuous Wave. An unmodulated, uninterrupted RF wave. In common usage refers to Morse code emissions.
- Digital Coded Squelch/Digital Private Line
- Direction Finding
- (noun) distant station; (verb) to contact a distant station. A DX switch adjusts the sensitivity of the radio to improve reception of distant stations or prevent over loading of the radio by a very strong local transmitter.
- An Amateur radio operator who actively pursues contacting distant and rare Amateur Radio stations.
- Earth Moon Earth, also known as Moonbounce
- Effective Radiated Power.
A 50 Watt transmitter connected to an antenna with 5 dBi gain would have an ERP of 96 Watts. See Pure ERP calculator.
- Frequency-Shift Keying. Used for data transmission.
- The Internet Radio Linking Project. IRLP uses Voice-Over-IP (VoIP) link your repeater site or simplex station to remote IRLP sites on over the Internete. It uses Speak Freely software on Linux.
- Handi-Talkie - A handheld radio
- Military Affiliate Radio System. MARS members are volunteer licensed amateur radio operators who are interested in providing auxiliary or emergency communications to local, national and international emergency and safety organizations, as an adjunct to normal communications.
- NarrowBand Emergency Messaging System
- Optimum Punctured Convolutional codes.
- Peak Envelope Power
- Voice transmissions.
- Private Line - Motorola term for CTCSS
- Phase Shift keying with 31.25 baud rate.
- Push to Talk
- Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service
- an old abbreviation for man-made interference.
- Low Power ≤ 5 W
- Acknowledge receipt. Commonly used to indicate "I understand".
Cards exchanged to indicate a two way contact with a station. Common with DXers.
- Rate-compatible punctured convolutional codes and soft decision Viterbi decoding are used for channel coding.
- Two way conversation
- "Readability, Signal, and Tone", a three-digit report indicating how well an operator's emissions are being received./DD>
- radio teletype - A form of digital communications.
- Single Sideband. Signal is attached to only half (upper or lower) part of the signal.
- Standing wave ratio. a ratio of maximum voltage or current to minimum voltage or current.
Voltage measurment = VSWR, Current measurement = ISWR
See Antenna Page
- Single Sideband. Signal is attached to only half (upper or lower) part of the carrier frequency.
- Terminal Node Controller, a device which interfaces a computer to a transceiver and performs a function similar to a modem.
- transmitter power
- Variable Frequency Oscillator. VFO mode allows tuning manually between stations as opposed to scan or memory mode.
- Voltage Standing wave ratio. a ratio of maximum voltage to minimum voltage. See Antenna Page
- Extended mediumwave band; an addition to the traditional MW broadcast band introduced in some countries in the 1990's (1610-1700 kHz in the Western hemisphere,
Glossary and Abbreviations at DXing.info
Amateur Radio Clubs and Stores/Dealers in Central New Jersey and Lake Tahoe
Emergency Communications, Satellite Phone,
Amateur (Ham) and CB Radio at Lake Tahoe
Real World Ranges for CB, FRS, GMRS and MURS Radios at thetravelinsider.info
Radio Propagation at Wikipedia
Lookup callsigns at: QRZ, ARRL
ARRL (American Radio Relay League)
W5YI Group - Resource for Amateur and Commercial Radio
Why do I need Amateur Radio in my 4x4?
Antenna Connectors - Plugs - cables
Anderson PowerPole power connectors: General Assembly Instructions, Assembly (pdf), Power Pole at prc68.com, YouTube
Beyond CB at 4x4wire.com
Industrial/Business Radio at the FCC
Guide to Emergency Survival Communications by Dave Ingram, 1999
Misc Amateur Radio - Wiring etc.
Ham Radio Links at New Providence Amateur Radio Club
Amateur Radio Activities at qsl.net
Links at eHam.net
Phonetic Alphabet (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, ...)
US Amateur Radio Frequency Allocations
Installation of Ham and CB radios in jeeps at Personal and CB Radios
Personal Radio in Products and Hobbies.
Radio Modes and Modulation
Antenna Types and Installation
Electronics and Amateur Radio Links
Coaxial Cable in Home and Garden
Old user manuals at UsersManualGuide.com
Return to Hobbies
last updated 6 May 2007