Ham radio is a blast! For those of you that like tech
stuff you should look into it. Ham radio is on the cutting edge of technology.
Ham radio is many areas of the radio (and TV) spectrum
that have been set aside by the governments of the world for amateur experimenters. To get
involved in Ham radio you must take a test (or tests) administered by a local ham club.
Once you pass the test the FCC (in the USA) will send you a license and a unique call
sign. My call sign is N5PNX, it is the only one like it in the world. If I make contact
with someone in some remote place in the world they can actually send me mail if they only
get my call sign. Once you have a call sign you can get special license plates for your
car, you can have cool radio gear in your car that might be illegal if you dont have the
license (polices scanners). You can make free phone calls from many ham radios via a phone
patch or repeater.
Radio waves in different parts of the spectrum have
different characteristics. The low long radio waves (called short-wave for some dumb
reason) can easily travel around the world making contact with other countries quite easy.
The shorter waves (VHF, UHF) wont travel as far and therefore are better for local in town
communications. HAMS HAVE IT ALL! Hams can even talk directly to the Space Shuttle or the
Russian MIR space station legally! Hams also experiment with Moon bounce, meteor scatter,
computer packet, many digital forms of communications. Including TV, yes amateur TV is
quite popular in many parts of the country, you can actually send TV pictures to other
HAMS just like the TV stations do. Also many hams are into sending radio gear into SPACE
in real rockets, or near space in amateur rockets or weather balloons! Many Hams are also
playing with the integration of Ham radio and GPS.
There is ALWAYS something exciting to learn or exciting
to do in the amateur radio community.
To get involved do a web search for your local amateur
radio club. Or goto http://www.arrl.org
To study the test questions Radio Shack has a fine study
guide, it has ALL the questions and ALL the answers! The test isn't all that hard. What
could be easier? Plus being a licensed amateur radio operator makes a fine addition to a