Author Topic: What is Ham Radio ??  (Read 3523 times)

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M0XDW

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What is Ham Radio ??
« on: September 24, 2008, 08:07:42 AM »
Amateur radio, often called ham radio, is both a hobby and a service in which participants, called "hams," use various types of radio communications equipment to communicate with other radio amateurs for public service, recreation and self-training.

Amateur radio operators enjoy personal (and often worldwide) wireless communications with each other and are able to support their communities with emergency and disaster communications if necessary, while increasing their personal knowledge of electronics and radio theory. An estimated six million people throughout the world are regularly involved with amateur radio.

The term "amateur" is not a reflection on the skills of the participants, which are often quite advanced; rather, "amateur" indicates that amateur radio communications are not allowed to be made for commercial or money-making purposes.

Amateur Radio encompasses all methods of Radio Communication from working through satellites, bouncing signals off the moon, microwave links, television, to simple radio contacts. You can take part in radio contesting, radio orienteering, contact remote islands and countries around the world.

Did you know that His Majesty the King of Thailand is a radio ham? his callsign is HS1A. Some other famous people from around the world who are registered radio amateurs are:


W0ORE        Tony England Astronaut
K1OKI          Mickey Schulhof Heads SONY US
K2HEP         John Sculley former CEO of Apple Computer
KB2LHI        Joe Walsh sk "World's Fastest Shooter" 
K2ZCZ         George Pataki Governor of New York 1994
WA4SIR       Ron Parise Astronaut
W5LFL         Owen Garriot Astronaut
N5QWL        Jay Apt Astronaut
KC5ZTA        Koichi Wakata Astronaut from Japan 
N6KGB         Stewart Granger Actor
AI6M            Barry Friedman 2-time World Champion Juggler
W6ZH          Herbert Hoover, Jr. sk Son of U.S. President
W7DUK        Nolan Bushnell Computer Pioneer, Founded Atari 
9K2CS          Prince Yousuf Al-Sabah Royalty
CN8MH         King Hassan II sk King of Morocco
EA0JC           Juan Carlos King of Spain
FO5GJ           Marlon Brando Actor
GB1MIR         Helen Sharman Astronaut
G2DQU         Sir Brian Rix Actor/Philanthropist
G3YLA          Jim Bacon TV Meteorologist
I0FCG          Francesco Cossiga former President of Italy
JI1KIT          Keizo Obuchi Former Prime Minister of Japan
JY1              King Hussein King of Jordan
JY1NH         Queen Noor Queen of Jordan
JY2HT          King Hussein's brother Former Crown Prince Hassan
JY2RZ          Prince Raad Royal Jordan Radio Amateur Society
LU1SM        Carlos Saul Menem President of Argentina
OD5LE        Emil Lahoud President of Lebanon
SU1VN        Prince Talal Saudi Arabian royalty
UA1LO        Yuri Gagarin First Cosmonaut
VU2RG        Rajiv Ghandi sk late Prime Minister of India
VU2SON     Sonia Ghandi XYL of VU2RG
YU1RL         Radivoje "Rasa" Lazarevic Yugoslav ambassador to Brazil


See, Amateur radio is suitable for all kinds of people, from all walks of life and all ages and nationalities, now how would you like to be part of a community of more than Six million people worldwide ?



« Last Edit: September 24, 2008, 08:20:01 AM by M0XDW - HS0ZIR »

Offline HS/VA6CS

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Re: What is Ham Radio ??
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2008, 03:54:11 PM »
Dear 'ZIR' (I can't seem to find a 'Human'-type name);
Thanks for this summary/review of an answer to the question, 'What is Ham Radio?'. Interestingly, sometime over the past few months, I recall reading something similar, including a list of 'famous Hams of the world'. This is all very interesting and informative. Thanks for the reminder.

A germane, but somewhat different question for me (and other Hams who have been active for near half a century), is how Ham radio has changed over the past half century. Apart from the move to solid-state, IC's, printed circuit boards, etc., away from tubes, large variable capacitors, inductors you can actually measure the diameter and count the turns of, is the move to shorter wave lengths. Fewer hams are active in HF these days. Two meters and VHF have replaced 80 meters and 144.nnn has replaced '3740' for today's Hams. The other big change is with equipment. Gone are the days of the Collins 'S' line, the Drake 'B' line, Hallicrafters, Hammarlund, National, Johnson, etc. Also, few of today's Hams engage in 'Homebrew' activities. It's all pre-packaged today. Licensing has also changed drastically. Today's exams are multiple-choice questions (usually only three or four choices), with no Morse Code proficiency required. Indeed, CW appears to be going the way of the dino'.

One outstanding measure of the change in Ham radio over the past  half century is reflected in the changes the 'Bible', the ARRL Handbook has undergone, from a 'Readers Digest'-sized pocketbook in the '50's to the huge tome that is the ARRL Handbook for 2008. 

Thanks for your read.

73

-Chris (VA6CS)

M0XDW

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Re: What is Ham Radio ??
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2008, 06:56:20 PM »
Wow Chris, (my name is Dave by the way).

I agree that the original post is geared towards those of us that don't know (or fully appreciate) the history of ham radio, we have to remember that the only way we can survive is by recruiting new members, if we fail to rejuvenate by recruiting new members then we will stagnate and become 'fossils' of our own time. If this means that (as a community) we have to forego CW (or any other mode of operation) then so be it. More and more amateurs are becoming licenced from the old 'CB radio' route, whether we like it or not we have to adapt, to fail to adapt is signing our own death warrant, and I'm 100% certain that you will agree with me and say that we would rather welcome new Hams than reject them on the grounds of a mode of operation.

From a personal perspective I would like to honour the work and memories of our forebears, there is an awful lot of information and expertise that can be gleaned from the Hams that preceed us, not least in the field of antenna theory. I bow my hat to them and would like to think that the work they have done can be expanded upon by the younger hams of today, especially in the area of satellite or microwave comms.

regards and 73's de M0XDW

your experience and intuition is always appreciated, come along to one of our meetings and impress us.





M0XDW

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Re: What is Ham Radio ??
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2008, 07:20:02 PM »
In retrospect I think that I may have been a little blunt and impolite in my reply.

Ham Radio - what is it?.

In my personal opinion I would offer that Ham radio is whatever you want it to be, whether that is CB type comms from continent to continent or morse code type comms from one side of the globe to the other, amateur radio can accomodate you, unfortunately some hams seem to belittle certain other modes of communication, for what reason I don't know. Personally I will always welcome new hams as will the radio amateurs with which I associate.

73's de M0XDW




Offline HS/VA6CS

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Re: What is Ham Radio ??
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2008, 09:32:11 PM »
Hi, Dave.
Thanks for your reply comment.

I most certainly was not attempting to draw any value judgment with respect to Ham modes of operation nor extent of experience.

What I did do was to acknowledged the validity of your question, "What is Ham Radio", and to suggest, what to me was an equally valid question, "How has Ham Radio changed in recent years". That's all; full stop. I then went on to offer examples of how I saw Ham Radio changing over the past half-century. I attempted no value judgments whatsoever.

In your reply, you invite: "...come along to one of our meetings..."

Elsewhere on this Forum, I have discussed with Swen ('ZFZ) the difficulties I have in attending the 'First Sunday, Sena Place' meetings, but hope to attend the next one, arriving after 2pm. Pattaya is a bit of a 'reach' for me at the moment.

You continue, "...and impress us."

Dave, I have long ago given up the game of trying to "impress" anyone.


Thanks for your read.

73 (Only one!)

-Chris (VA6CS)
 

M0XDW

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Re: What is Ham Radio ??
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2008, 11:06:57 AM »
Dear 'ZIR' (I can't seem to find a 'Human'-type name);
Thanks for this summary/review of an answer to the question, 'What is Ham Radio?'. Interestingly, sometime over the past few months, I recall reading something similar, including a list of 'famous Hams of the world'. This is all very interesting and informative. Thanks for the reminder.

A germane, but somewhat different question for me (and other Hams who have been active for near half a century), is how Ham radio has changed over the past half century. Apart from the move to solid-state, IC's, printed circuit boards, etc., away from tubes, large variable capacitors, inductors you can actually measure the diameter and count the turns of, is the move to shorter wave lengths. Fewer hams are active in HF these days. Two meters and VHF have replaced 80 meters and 144.nnn has replaced '3740' for today's Hams. The other big change is with equipment. Gone are the days of the Collins 'S' line, the Drake 'B' line, Hallicrafters, Hammarlund, National, Johnson, etc. Also, few of today's Hams engage in 'Homebrew' activities. It's all pre-packaged today. Licensing has also changed drastically. Today's exams are multiple-choice questions (usually only three or four choices), with no Morse Code proficiency required. Indeed, CW appears to be going the way of the dino'.

One outstanding measure of the change in Ham radio over the past  half century is reflected in the changes the 'Bible', the ARRL Handbook has undergone, from a 'Readers Digest'-sized pocketbook in the '50's to the huge tome that is the ARRL Handbook for 2008. 

Thanks for your read.

73

-Chris (VA6CS)


Hi Chris, you are right of course, I fully agree with your statements and sentiment etc. The purpose of the original post was to explain a little about what Ham radio actually is and give the reader an 'introduction' or 'overview' into the world of Amateur radio, due to my involvement with the Pattaya Ham meetings I have been receiving emails from foreign nationals living here in Thailand (not just Pattaya I hasten to add) asking about Amateur radio, in line with probably the best answer (visit the websites of organisations like RAST and the RSGB etc.) I thought that it would be of value to this forum to have something that goes some way to explain this.

For example: I recently submitted a press release to the local media here in Pattaya advertising our Amateur radio meetings. In the course of preparing this press release I was introduced to a guy that used to manufacture Microwaves in the UK. This guy stated that his father was a licenced radio ham and he would be interested to know whether he could actually sit his exams here in Thailand to obtain his Amateur radio licence, I obviously pointed him in the direction of the RSGB website. In my humble opinion this kind of question is [only one of] the reasons for the existence of this forum,  if we as a community can add 'value' content and posts to this forum then surely that can only help to attract new licence holders to our [currently] small community.

My invite to our Pattaya based meetings stands, you (and any other interested party) will always be made welcome, after all we are all foreigners living in a country and any mechanism that helps to make our lives here easier (and also to meet like-minded people) can only be a good thing. My comment about "impressing" us was rather flippant, personally I like to hear stories of how someone home-brewed an antenna out of a length of barbed wire and a tall tree, or a transmitter out of the parts of an old AM/FM receiver etc. and I'm sure that you (like many others) have stories like this that you could share.

73's de M0XDW aka Dave













Offline HS/VA6CS

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Re: What is Ham Radio ??
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2008, 06:19:34 AM »
Thank you, Dave, for your comments.

I think that by now we appreciate that, whatever else Ham Radio is, it most certainly is about an international community of like-minded individuals, engaged in common pursuits and interests, and treating each other with dignity and respect.

Thanks for your read.

73

-Chris (VA6CS)

M0XDW

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Re: What is Ham Radio ??
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2008, 10:38:08 AM »
Just as an update to this topic I think that the following document may well prove interesting:

Ethics and Operating Procedures for the Radio Amateur

A great read from the RSGB.

73's
Dave