What is amateur radio?


Amateur Radio: Exploring the World of Wireless Communication

Amateur radio, commonly known as ham radio, encompasses the utilization of radio frequency spectrum for various non-commercial activities. These include exchanging messages, conducting wireless experiments, self-training, engaging in private recreation, participating in radio sports, and providing emergency communication services. The term "amateur" denotes individuals authorized to practice radioelectric activities solely for personal interest and without any financial gain. This distinguishes amateur radio from commercial broadcasting and professional two-way radio services utilized in sectors such as maritime, aviation, and public safety.

Regulation and Licensing in Amateur Radio

The amateur radio service, along with the amateur-satellite service, is established by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) through radio regulations. National governments regulate the technical and operational aspects of amateur transmissions and issue individual station licenses with unique identifying call signs. To operate in the amateur radio spectrum, operators must obtain an amateur radio license, requiring passing a government test demonstrating proficiency in technical radio knowledge and understanding of radio regulations.

Exploring Amateur Radio Bands and Communication Modes

Amateur radio operators are allocated small frequency bands throughout the radio spectrum, within which they can transmit using various communication modes, including voice, text, image, and data. This enables communication across local, regional, national, continental, and global distances, and even extends into space. Additionally, in many countries, amateur radio operators can exchange communications between computers or transceivers connected to secure virtual private networks on the Internet.

Representation and Coordination in the Amateur Radio Community

The international Amateur Radio Union (IARU) serves as the official representative and coordinator of amateur radio worldwide. Organized into three regions, it comprises national amateur radio societies from numerous countries. As of 2011, an estimated two million individuals globally engage in amateur radio activities, with approximately 830,000 stations located in the Americas (IARU Region 2), 750,000 in South and East Asia and the Pacific Ocean (IARU Region 3), and 400,000 in Europe, the Middle East, CIS, and Africa (IARU Region 1).

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