Ham radio is a hobby that has an unfashionable reputation. But that's totally undeserved, as becoming a "ham" has some serious practical advantages. Here's why you should consider learning all about it.
• Hams talk to other Hams around the World
Ham Radio operators are able to talk to other Hams around the neighborhood, country and world, without the use of the internet. Equipment for this may seem expensive, but for under $50 you can be on the air and for the less than the price of an iPhone who can talk around the world.
• Stay Connected When Disaster Strikes
Ham Radio becomes the primary form communication, during an emergency. Cell towers eithgo off line or become so crowded that cell phone become useless. Since amateur radio does not require any other source, they are very effective in getting in information in and out of effected area.
• It's A Skill To Learn And Maintain
Since an Amateur Radio requires a license, there is some skills required to pass the test. Knowledge to pass the entry level license can be taught in three sessions, some courses are offered in one day and even online.
• There's A Community
Just like any other hobby, there is a community of Hams that can be found all over the world. There are local clubs, Yahoo groups, Facebook and other social media groups. The easiest way to find these groups is an online seach.
• It's Cheaper Than You Think
You can get on the air for around $30, but like all hobbies, there is no upper limit.
• Are You Tempted?
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Before you can get on the air, you need to be licensed and know the rules to operate legally. US licenses are good for 10 years before renewal and anyone may hold one except a representative of a foreign government. In the US there are three license classes—Technician, General and Extra.
• Technician License
The Technician class license is the entry-level license of choice for most new ham radio operators. To earn the Technician license requires passing one examination totaling 35 questions on radio theory, regulations and operating practices. The license gives access to all Amateur Radio frequencies above 30 megahertz, allowing these licensees the ability to communicate locally and most often within North America. It also allows for some limited privileges on the HF (also called "short wave") bands used for international communications Learn More about the Technician Licenses from the ARRL
The General class license grants some operating privileges on all Amateur Radio bands and all operating modes. This license opens the door to world-wide communications. Earning the General class license requires passing a 35 question examination. General class licensees must also have passed the Technician written examination. Learn More about the General Class licenses from the ARRL
• Amateur Extra License
The Amateur Extra class license conveys all available U.S. Amateur Radio operating privileges on all bands and all modes. Earning the license is more difficult; it requires passing a thorough 50 question examination. Extra class licensees must also have passed all previous license class written examinations. Learn More about the Amateur Extra Class licenses from the ARRL