What is Amateur Radio ?
Amateur radio is a popular communications and technical hobby with over 7 million Radio Amateurs worldwide!
Amateur Radio interests people from all walks of life and enables world wide communications between people. As a Radio Amateur you are able to transmit radio signals on a number of frequency bands allocated specifically to the radio amateurs.
As a Radio Amateur you can :
- Contacting people all over the world by radio which often leads to developing local and international friendships.
- Competing in international competitions to test how effective your equipment is, and how good you are as an operator.
- Technical experimentation and Self Training — many of the leaps forward in radio technology have been initiated by radio amateurs.
- Communication through amateur space satellites or with the International Space Station as it passes over head.
- Providing communications at times of emergencies and undertaking exercises to ensure you keep the capability to do so.
- PLUS so much more!
What can I do with Amateur Radio ?
With Amateur Radio, you are communicating with people in their homes, on holiday, out walking in the hills, in their cars, on ships, on remote islands, to name just a few.
But perhaps more importantly, Amateur Radio is not just about communicating — it’s about exploring the technology that makes radio communication work — the electronics, the antennas, the propagation characteristics of the ionosphere, and even computers that are linked to radio equipment for all sorts of purposes including data modes of communication such as transmitting television pictures, digital communications and much more.
You can communicate by voice or by other modes including the very popular Morse Codes (or CW as it is known).
What sort of people become radio amateurs ?
You need to pass an exam so you understand some basics of communications, but anyone can become a Radio Amateur. Within its ranks are people of all ages and backgrounds including kings, public figures, radio and tv personalities... plus you and I!
As a Radio Amateur, you simply don't know who you might contact next. Using call signs as identifiers, there is no status 'on the air', and you talk, equal to equal, to everyone you contact.
Amateur Radio offers enjoyment for you and your family as well. Amateur activities like Direction Finding (similar to orienteering), field days, Summits on the Air, where you operate from a mountain top, and Special Events Stations can be “family friendly”, allowing your family to enjoy your amateur radio activities as well!
What to do Next - Getting started in Amateur Radio: the Foundation Licence
The Foundation licence is your gateway to amateur radio.
You will need to complete a course and exam that leads to the licence provides you with an exciting introduction to the hobby while requiring an acceptable minimum level of skill and experience. The foundation course take between 10 to 12 hours and is normally run over a weekend with the exam taking place on the Sunday afternoon.
Your Foundation licence is recognised by Ofcom who is the UK communications regulator, and entitles you to take a unique identifier called a callsign which will be used to identify you when you are transmitting. Read more about Amateur Radio here