Ham Radio. What is it?

More correctly, it should be called Amateur Radio. The roots of amateur radio run back many years. It really began with the work of Marconi and Tesla as they conducted their experiments. Since then it has evolved into much more than a simple spark jumping across a gap and creating an electromagnetic pulse. Today, it is a somewhat more refined technology. Ham radio is really nothing more than 2-way radio communications. What sets it apart from a simple set of walkie-talkies is the different ways in which hams can use radio waves and the methods of sending / receiving signals. The modern ham can integrate the use of computers with radio signals to produce many different digital modes, tv pictures, teletype, Morse code and satellite communications. Heck, there are even some that build elaborate antenna arrays and reflect signals off of the moon! This is all in addition to standard voice communication. Another aspect of ham radio that separates it is that a ham can use a wide range of frequencies and very high levels of energy to send signals. Ham radio communication is global. Due to the unique aspects of ham radio, a license is required to operate a station.

License? Why and How

As already stated, a license is required. This is due to the wide range of frequencies that can be used and that some of them are very near to commercial services on the frequency spectrum. Ham radio is strictly for hobby and experimentation. Don't let that stop you. It is not difficult and it's not expensive to get a license. There are different levels of licensing. Each higher level grants more privileges. The easiest to start with is the Technician class. And, you won't even have to learn Morse code.

There is a test that you will need to take and pass. Now don't get all scared about it. This is the nice part - the test questions and answers are public information and are readily available off of the internet! Study them at leisure, take the test, pass and wait a few weeks for your call sign to be assigned and your license to arrive in the mail. You are now a ham! You will have invested about $15.00 for the testing fee. In return you get a lifetime of fun, friends and learning!

There is a volunteer examiner group in Lubbock. They do testing sessions on a monthly basis.

CONTACT INFO
WB5R VE Team
10:00 AM (Walk-ins allowed)
Gerald A. Grant
(806) 765-5526
wb5r(at)juno.com

TEST LOCATION
Salvation Army Building
1111 16th Street
Next to Big Tower
Lubbock TX 79408-9999
Why Ham Radio?

The first reason is it can be fun and it's a great way to get involved with a lot of great people. Another reason, and this can be a BIG one, is that ham radio is a VERY valuable resource in the case of disasters. Hams have historically been heavily involved with recovery from hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, wildfires, tornadoes, missing person searches, storm spotting and other aspects of public service. Think about this…in the case of a disaster, it's very likely that the internet, phone and cellular communications will be either overloaded or non-existent. This is where ham radio fills a niche easily. With the equipment that can be provided, set up, and operated by volunteers, public service agencies can continue to operate. Health and welfare messages, assistance to evacuees, shelter operations and public safety needs can all be aided through ham radio. You will find that there are so many different ways to be involved with ham radio, there is sure to be at least one that will keep you involved for a lifetime.

Resources

There is just NO WAY for all the information to be fit on a page. Here is a few links and resources that will have more answers and likely generate more questions. There is just so much to this hobby.

ARRL (American Radio Relay League)
This is the main organization for ham radio enthusiasts.
You will find a LOT of info here. Remember the questions for the test? Get 'em here! www.arrl.org
QRZ Forum
This is a discussion forum for ham radio enthusiasts. There are many topics, subjects and aspects of ham radio here. You do not need to be a ham to read and learn. QRZ Forums
The current question pool is also available for download from this website. You will find it on our downloads & documents page. If you are interested in learning more about this hobby and how it can be a vital resource, or just have questions, don't hesitate to contact us! Our email link is at th ebottom of the menu.

See you (or hopefully hear you that is) around the airwaves! '73!