Amateur Radio

Amateur radio, also called ham radio, is a way to describe hobbyist that enjoy broadcasting their own miniature radio stations from home or another location. However, amateur radio, unlike free radio, is said to provide a public service to the people and does not have a specific agenda.

Most amateur radio hobbyists are very skilled and technically proficient and as a result have elaborate systems set up in which they can broadcast to each other or on the open spectrums. Ham radio hobbyists can broadcast during national emergencies or other forms of crisis if necessary, in the event that major broadcasting companies have facilities damaged or destroyed. There are approximately 6 million ham radio hobbyists in the United States alone, which means that you probably know someone that is into this practice.

Many ham radio broadcasters were forced to be proficient in Morse code in order to obtain an operational license, however this was changed when international law allowed countries to take it out of their active licensing protocols. As a result, the FCC removed the requirement in February of 2003. You'll notice that we mentioned licensing from the FCC, which is a requirement that separates ham radio broadcasters from free radio broadcasters and other pirates. Although ham radio can only be operated at frequencies below 30 MHz, the hobbyists are still required to obtain a license before they broadcast. To gain a license, hams are forces to demonstrate proficiency and a general aptitude for broadcasting before they can be given rights to a particular frequency. Hams use their own call signs, similar to how a trucker uses a CB on the road. Although hams mostly talk to themselves, in the event of an emergency it would be good to locate ham frequencies in your area.

With the rise of internet technology however, many hams are moving to different forms of cheaper communication. It is entirely possible to create your own radio station for free online without needing expensive and fancy equipment or a huge antenna on your roof. This is also the case with TV, as .TV domains are becoming very popular. It seems as if radio and TV stations are all over the net now and might soon replace actual radio and TV broadcasting in the future. Although it remains to be seen how this will pan out over the years to come, it does bring an interesting dynamic to the 100 year old practice of amateur radio and television broadcasting.

If you are interested in becoming a ham radio broadcaster or learning more about amateur radio, then I suggest that you read other guides on the internet and see what rules you will need to adhere to and how you can get a license to broadcast. You can also look on the internet for how to start your own radio or TV station without needing a license, which could be a far cheaper and more efficient way to get started. However, just knowing how ham radio works and how the FCC allows the little guy to do his part is a very interesting conversation.