ham radioHam radio, or more popularly known as the amateur radio, is the radio device designed that can be used by a person for his own personal motives. This can be used for experimentation, recreation, emergency or private communication with other individuals. The use of amateur radio began in the early part of 20th century. This is highly different as compared to the radio devices used for commercial and broadcasting purposes. People who use amateur radio should ensure that they transmit over the airwaves without any financial benefit from its operations.

Like other radio devices, operators of amateur radio are given the chance to transmit over different frequency channels in the radio spectrum. The radio spectrum allows these radio users to pass on communications in different cities and countries all over the world. They are also permitted to send out verbal communication, images and data messages in their transmissions. Types of transmissions that can be used with amateur radio include Morse Code, Pactor, Packet, PSK-31 and radio teletype.

Amateur radio provides a more flexible way of transmission as compared to radio broadcast stations. The pecuniary nature of radio broadcast stations requires strict regulation from the government. Because of this, they are given restricted access to broadcasting frequencies and modes. Frequencies that are not used for radio broadcast are allotted for the use of amateur radio transmission.

Most operators using amateur radio operate at a frequency ranging from 1.6 megahertz to 27 megahertz. This range, which is also called short-wave bands, is slightly higher than the frequency used for citizen band and AM radio. Amateur radio operators use the 15 megahertz to 27 megahertz range during daytime while they operate on the 1.6 megahertz to 15 megahertz range in the night.

Typical amateur radio equipment set is composed of a transmitter and receiver device. More recent versions of amateur radio equipment might have incorporated new features in addition to the basic transmission and receiving capability. Users can read the manual to have an idea on how to operate these additional features. Power consumption is usually associated depending on the size of this device. Typical power usage ranges from 5 milliwatts up to 1,500 watts.

An antenna is usually fixed onto the equipment in order to ease up the release and gathering of different radio frequency. A variation of this antenna, called the under-dash transceiver, can be installed onto automobiles and can be used even in a moving vehicle. Generally, larger antennas are required in order to pick up longer wavelengths produced from operating in low frequencies. Antennas placed on the exterior should be coated with material to prevent lightning electrocution.

One of the most important aspects of amateur radio operation is the licensing requirement. Because of the freedom given to operate on the whole radio frequency, amateur radio operators should be required to have the relevant expertise and competence. General requirements that are needed to be complied to by amateur radio operators include knowledge of radio equipment, electronics, government radio regulations, radio propagation, radio frequency safety and antennas. Specific licensing requirements depend from country to country. These are usually tested through a written examination composed of multiple choice questions.

Newbie amateur radio users can begin operating by joining a local radio club. These local clubs often assist newbie amateur radio users about licensing requirements, technical operations and government regulatory principles. They also have books and magazines that newcomers can read. Often, newcomers can learn from the “Elmers” (i.e. experts in the use of amateur radio technology). These clubs also provide an avenue for a closer interaction between ham hobbyists. These clubs encourages membership and participation of amateurs in order to propagate the use of amateur radio.

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