WHY ham radio ?
You often hear about ham radio and wonder just what the heck it is. The ham radio, or Amateur radio service is an F.C.C approved group of radio bands or frequencies for radio experimenters. The amateur radio service has been around since the turn of the Century (19th Century) made up of experimenters in the radio hobby. They are not professionals in radio although most are very knowledgeable about the subject. Sure, their are bad seeds in ham radio just like you would find in any other group, but the level of knowledge is very impressive.
In the amateur radio service you have a lot of different things that can be done for the radio experimenter. Some of the things that ham radio operators enjoy are the very popular digital modes that fall right into place with the computer generation. One of the most popular is PSK-31. Phase Shift Keying, or PSK-31 is a computer to computer mode linked together over the radio. You can make contacts from all over the world with very low power output making it very desirable for the operator living in apartments or small lots where antennas are an issue.
One of the most desirable things about ham radio for me is working distant stations (DX). I have always enjoyed working new countries, even back into my CB days. I was always amazed that you could bounce signals off the atmosphere. When I first heard of ham radio I was blown away that I could use different sets of allocated frequencies with a maximum power output of 1500 watts. That is more power than the local AM radio station puts out. I only had to take a simple test and I was working the world using all sorts of different modes that aren’t available using a CB. Some of my favorites are CW (Morse Code) and the popular PSK-31 digital modes.
If you are interested in Amateur radio then be sure to look at the ARRL web site. You will be required to take a simple test of 35 questions out of a pool of 300. Since I took the test back in 1995 they have dropped the Morse code requirements so now it is easier than ever to get into the hobby.
Hope to see you on the air, and 73