• Interested In Ham Radio? (B)

    From Daryl Stout@1:2320/33 to All on Sun Jun 4 00:03:19 2023
    Amateur Radio, also known as "Ham Radio", is a hobby and a service.
    Hams, who must be licensed by their governments, operate two-way radio
    stations from their homes and cars, talking with other hams across town
    or across the world. Amateurs may communicate only with other radio
    amateurs. Special sets of radio frequencies, or bands, are set aside
    for use only by Amateur Radio operators.


    The hallmark of Amateur Radio through the years has been technical
    advancement. Hams pioneered long-distance use of the short-wave bands
    and today have expanded the range of formerly "local" bands through the
    use of automatic relay stations, called "repeaters". They even use
    satellites to enhance their transmissions. With special hook-ups, it's
    possible for a ham with a small hand-held radio to communicate with
    other hams half a world away.


    Amateur Radio is primarily a hobby, for personal enjoyment. But in
    times of need, it is transformed into a corps of highly trained public
    service communicators, ready, willing and able to help their neighbors.
    Hams are probably best known for their work during disasters.


    Just about anyone can be a ham. Men, women, boys, girls, hams range in
    age from under 8 to over 80. There are no limits. Many handicapped
    people find a door to the world in Amateur Radio. Many famous people
    are hams, but most are just plain folks who like making friends around
    the world.

    HAMS ARE NOT CB'ers. While many hams started out in CB radio, the two
    services are entirely separate. CB (Citizens Band) radio is intended
    for local communications on personal or business matters. No license is required. Amateur radio is a world-wide service, for noncommercial communication only. A license is needed. Hams also have a much wider
    choice of frequencies and methods of communications than CB'ers.


    Having a "ham" or Amateur Radio operator as a neighbor can be a great
    advantage - especially in times of crisis. While most hams spend most
    of their "on the air" time in their "shacks" or stations enjoying their
    hobby, they're also "on call" in times of need. If your town is hit by
    a flood, hurricane or other natural disaster, chances are that your neighborhood ham will be part of an emergency communications team,
    helping direct rescue officials to where they're needed, helping relief agencies and public safety officials keep in touch with each other.

    On a more personal level, if disaster strikes elsewhere, and you have
    relatives or friends in the stricken area, your neighborhood ham can
    probably sent a message - free of charge - to find out how those people
    are doing. You don't need to wait for a disaster to send a "radiogram".
    Many hams enjoy relaying and delivering these messages -always free of
    charge - all over the United States and to certain foreign countries.
    Hams have organized networks to speed the flow of these messages.

    Hams also provide "phone patches", particularly for US servicemen
    overseas. By hooking their radios and telephones together, hams can let
    people at home talk with loved ones for just the cost of a local phone


    Many individual hams and local Amateur Radio Clubs work on a regular
    basis with a variety of community organizations. In most cities, hams
    are affiliated with local disaster preparedness agencies. But they also
    work with other groups such as the March of Dimes, providing
    communications for walkathons, bikeathons, etc.

    Hams also provide communications for such large-scale events as the
    annual New York City Marathon and the 1,000+ mile Torch Runs for the US
    Olympic Games. Hams do all this without payment. Federal law bars them
    from accepting any compensation for the service they provide. It's all
    done for the satisfaction of helping their neighbors.

    Is one of your neighbors a ham? Amateur Radio operators (hams) don't
    look different from anyone else, so how can you tell if one of your
    neighbors is a ham? One tell-tale sign could be a big antenna on the
    roof or in the back yard (though it could also be a CB antenna,
    satellite "dish" or big TV antenna).

    Another hint could be callsign license plates on the car. Amateur
    callsigns in the US begin with A, K, N or W, have one or two letters
    followed by a number from 0 to 9, then one to three more letters
    [Examples: W1AW, N2BFG, KK5AA, AC2T]. Many states issue special
    license plates to amateurs in recognition of their service to the

    If you think a neighbor is a ham, ask. If the answer is yes, you might
    ask to see his or her station, or "shack". There, you'd see
    transmitting and receiving equipment, certificates and cards confirming contacts with different parts of the world.

    Is that big antenna really important? In a word, yes. While it's
    possible to get on the air and make hundreds of contacts with a fairly
    simple wire antenna, hams who want to be certain their signals get
    through put up bigger antennas to direct their signals to certain
    points. This is particularly important, say, for "phone patches" with servicemen overseas. These let people at home talk by phone - via radio
    - with loved ones half a world away.


    While signals from Amateur Radio transmitters may occasionally seem to
    cause interference to TV's and stereos, so do CB sets, computers,
    vacuum cleaners, hair dryers, medical devices and countless other
    things. In most cases, though, the problem is actually in the TV or
    stereo. Manufacturers of consumer goods generally cut corners on costs
    by leaving out the inexpensive filters that can eliminate most
    --- SBBSecho 3.20-Win32
    * Origin: The Thunderbolt BBS - Little Rock, Arkansas (1:2320/33)