What is a ham radio?
A ham radio is a particular radio used in the noncommercial exchange of messages, entertainment, contests, and emergency transfer. Ham radio is actually a radio station for amateurs.
The expression “ham” is not an acronym as one might think. Initially, it had a pejorative meaning. It has been practiced in professional wireless telegraphy to ridicule those with dull Morse code transfer capabilities. In the 20th century, it lacked its unpleasant sense.
People use ham radio to talk inside a city, a place without smartphones or Internet. Using the ham radio can be instructive, entertaining, and useful for your social relationships.
Ham radio terminology
Amateur radio users provide quite an interesting vocabulary. This “ham-speak” may be named terminology, dialect or slang, and it frequently holds many acronyms. If you do not recognize a term, you have nothing to perform but attempt the person practicing ham-speak to explain it. Do not despair, you will figure these, across time.
More words are technical because hams use radios, electronics, antennas, cables, power supplies, meters and quite a few tools that involve vital and elegant words. Many abbreviations, shortcuts, and code words are derived from the early days of ham radio when Morse code is dominant.
Three examples of Morse code:
- 73 – “Best Regards”
- 88 – “Hugs” and “Kisses”
- WX – Abbreviation for “weather”
Short history of the ham radio
The history of ham radio would be not perfect without admitting some of the early realizations in the domain of electricity and magnetism. From the beginning of history, human has been fascinated by the effects of electricity and magnetism produced by nature, such as lightning, electricity and magnets.
One of the first significant scientific findings was founded by Michael Faraday, an English physicist and the son of a metal worker, in the early nineteenth century.
Although he involved many realizations in several scientific fields, Faraday’s major accomplishment was the discovery of electromagnetic induction and the preparation of the laws of induction. At present we perceive this law as the procedure where electrons move in a conductor when the conductor is transported through a magnetic field.
This discovery headed to the development of the electric generator and motor.
In 1873, James Clerk Maxwell, a Scottish physicist-astronomer, mathematically demonstrated the existence of radio (electromagnetic) waves traveling at the speed of light.
Approximately 15 years after Maxwell’s investigation (and 5 years after his death), Heinrich Hertz, a German physicist, demonstrated that radio waves could be generated and transmitted over short space of up to approximately 60 feet (or approximately 20 meters).
With his basic laboratory systems, Hertz was capable of measuring the wavelength of the waves he produced and shows that these waves are possible to be reflected, refracted, and polarized just as light waves are.
Working in the 150-MHz-and-above radio spectrum, he described and built spark-gap transmitters, resonator circuits for receiving radio waves and directional antennas.
As you will see later, 1 MHz represents the expression of radio frequency for 1 million Hertz, or 1 million cycles per second. This frequency of 150 MHz is exactly above the amateur 2-meter band at 144–148 MHz.
In the early 1890s Guglielmo Marconi, an Italian creator, began to examine with radio waves using apparatus similar to that developed by Hertz and other scientists of the era Marconi made many enhancements and discoveries that resulted in extending the range of radio transfers.
He conceived the concept of a vertical radiating antenna, and the Marconi (or vertical) antenna is one of his significant accomplishments.
Marconi’s first basic equipment was capable of a range of about one-half miles (approximately 800 meters).
Ham radio as a hobby
Today, the amateur radio is a highly specialized hobby involving almost all phases of electronics. There are about 500,000 ham radio operators in the United States. Worldwide, there are some 700,000 amateurs, and almost all countries authorize some form of amateur radio. Hams come from all fields of life: for example, students, salesmen, plumbers, doctors, lawyers, engineers, seamen, and the handicapped.
Amateur radio had enhanced a constant part of the American way of life.
Ham radio against Facebook
Nowadays, in the world of social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, how can ham radio entice the juvenile minds to operate it as a source of communication around the globe?
Presently, the question is ‘In the contemporary world where the engineering is efficient and easy to use, then why to embrace so complex and outdated technology?’
Ham radio, is right, that this technology represent an old technology, which was used in early 90’s but still today it performs a significant role. It is a key to the trouble management. It is an efficient trouble management system, which will work in adverse conditions.
In times of natural tragedy like floods, tempests or fire when the standard mode of communication like phone, mobile, might not work, this is where ham radio comes in the picture. With help of high frequency radio waves, messages can be conveyed or relayed to long distance and accurate picture of situations on the ground, requirements and key information could be sent to the disaster response team.
At time, this technology is also used by Indian meteorological department.
Hamming is a hobby, pursued by many people around the globe and is used by them for communicating with each other, it’s like Facebook on radio waves.
Some sort of ham radios
Kenwood Original TH-D74A
Icom ID-51A Plus2 D-Star
TYT MD-9600 Dual Band
Yaesu Original FT-450D
Kenwood Original TM-V71A
Yaesu FT-857D Amateur
Kenwood TS-480HX HF/50
Let’s not forget; all of us can adopt this technology as a test to build our own special radio, where we can broaden our thoughts by learning and then implementing its separate pieces.
Ham-speak implements many abbreviations. Ham radio remain an option that replaces Facebook. It sounds cool, doesn’t it?