Amateur Radio Also known as "ham radio", the radio amateur is licenced to make use of designated areas of the radio frequency spectrum for hobby use. The use of the word "amateur" specifies that those interested only use the spectrum with a personal aim and without direct monetary or other similar reward. I cannot find a better description of amateur radio than that provided by the Radio Society Of Great Britain: Amateur radio is a popular technical hobby and volunteer public service. Amateur Radio interests people who are curious about "how things work" and provides the opportunity to get "up close and personal" with the technologies of radio communication, play with them and learn. Amateur Radio is the only hobby governed by international treaty. As a radio amateur you are able to transmit radio signals on a number of frequency bands allocated specifically to the radio amateurs. Radio amateurs make use of their frequencies in a number of ways: * Contacting people all over the world by radio which often leads to developing international friendships * Competing in international competitions to test how effective your equipment is, and how good you are as an operator * Technical experimentation - many of the leaps forward in radio technology have been initiated by radio amateurs * Communication through amateur space satellites or with the International Space Station (which carries an amateur radio station) * Providing communications at times of emergencies and undertaking exercises to ensure you keep the capability to do so. There is no better way to explore the fascinating world of radio communications than by becoming a radio amateur. Amateur Radio is the original high technology "social network". Today it is regarded as a "broad church" and includes Kings, pop stars, public figures, the retired, schoolchildren and those at work or unemployed. Whatever your interest in radio communications, you will find others sharing that interest - from "geeky" experimenters to those just interested in communicating by radio. So as a radio amateur, you simply do not know who you might talk to "over the air". Using call signs as identifiers, there is no status on the air, and you talk, equal to equal, to everyone you contact. Local radio clubs can help you grow and develop. And remember, Amateur Radio offers enjoyment for you and your family as well. Amateur activities like Direction Finding (similar to orienteering but with a high-tech "spin"), field days, Summits on the Air, IOTA can be "family friendly", allowing your family to enjoy your amateur radio activities as well! Many people ask me if amateur raido is like CB radio. I usually answer "Yes, it is very similar in some ways, but also very different in others". Amateur radio has so much more scope, but that's not to say CB radio is anything less of a hobby. I used to be a CB radio enthusiast myself in the early 80s. Some people liken amateur radio to fishing. My first seeds in the hobby were sown at a very tender age - in my early teens and I have fond memories or our our television going on the blink, shortly followed by a visit from the TV engineer who would come along with his soldering iron and fix it. I would probably be around 10 or 11 years old. While he was making adjustments, I remember seeing him tuning the dial and wondered where all the other stations were coming from? We cannot always explain why we like our hobbies, but virtually everybody has an interest in something, whether it is football, golf, knitting, hang gliding, reading, rambling or fishing, but they can be very fulfilling and offer many years of enjoyment and achievement.