What is Amateur Radio
Amateur Radio or Ham Radio is a community of people that use Radio transmitters and receivers to communicate with other Amateur Radio Operators. It is a non-commercial, non-profit Radio service, friendly, hi-tech hobby enjoyed by about 3 million people all over the world.
Hams can communicate from the top of a mountain, from home or behind the wheel of their car. They can take their radio wherever they go! In times of disaster, when regular communications Channels fail, hams can swing into action assisting emergency efforts and working with public service agencies. At other times, they can talk to a shuttle astronauts or bounce signals off the Moon. They can use Telegraphy, Voice, Digital Data, even images in communication with other hams.
Amateur Radio is the gateway to the global friendship. Amateur Radio, also known as “Ham Radio” is a talented hobby or a personal means of enjoyment with the radio communication technology. People make friends over radios from one corner of the globe to other. For becoming an amateur radio operator, one does not need to be a technical person. Anyone can have this hobby and affiliation. One just needs to get a license and a call sign to operate a wireless radio. Every Amateur Radio station around the world has its own call sign, which is a set of alphabets and numbers and is unique worldwide. The person who operates the station is called a HAM.
Beginning of Amateur Radio
It will not be exaggerated if it is said that, Main research on today’s modern radio communication has been started by Amateur Radio. Though Bengali scientist Sir Jagadis Chandra Bose had started research on radio technology but in the year of 1901 Guglielmo Marconi has proved that it is possible to send message or data from one place to another on Spark Gaps within the air. At that time some other people started to research on the radio technology and they had started to make this kind of radios to communicate among themselves. Finally, they declared themselves as Amateur Radio Operators. These stations operated at Low Frequency at that time.
Gradually, after understanding the importance of Radio Communication different broadcasting stations started operating. They started broadcasting on Lower Frequencies. For that reason Amateur Radio Operators leave that frequency and begin to research with HF (High Frequency) for sending the radio signals to more distances. Presently the speedy telecommunication is running around the world is totally dependent on the Satellites. Before the satellite age, HF SSB (High Frequency Single Side Band) was the only telecommunication media that was being used world wide for voice communication. They use HF SSB for voice communication to cover a distance of thousands miles. This HF SSB modulation technique is the great success of Amateur Radio Operators. Till now and forever this is the only modulation technique that does not need any third party object except ionosphere. With the development of radio communication, some Govt. Radio broadcasting company has started broadcast by the year 1912. During that time it needed to establish some rules and regulation with license. At the beginning of 1914, Mr. Hiram M Maxim gathered all Amateur Radio Operators together and established American Radio Relay League (ARRL) for running the Amateur Radio Activities smoothly. That is the world’s largest Amateur Radio association. Presently International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) have assigned some frequencies exclusively for Amateur Radio between 1800 KHz to 23 GHz.
Why Amateur Radio Operators known as HAM
Have you ever wondered why radio amateurs are called “HAMS”? Well, it goes like this: The word “HAM” as applied to 1908 was the station CALL of the first amateur wireless station operated by some amateurs of the Harvard Radio Club. They were ALBERT S. HYMAN, BOB ALMY and POOGIE MURRAY. At first they called their station “HYMAN-ALMY-MURRAY”. Tapping out such a long name in code soon became tiresome and called for a revision. They changed it to “HY-AL-MY”, using the first two letters of each of their names. Early in 1901 some confusion resulted between signal from amateur wireless station “HY-ALMU” and a Mexican ship named “HYALMO”. They then decided to use only the first letter of each name and the station CALL became “HAM”. In the early pioneer days of unregulated radio amateur operators picked their own frequency and call letters. Then as now, some amateurs had better signals as commercial stations. The resulting interference came to the attention of congressional committees in Washington and Congress gave much time to proposed legislation designed to critically limit amateur radio activity. In 1911, ALBERT HYMAN chose the controversial WIRELESS REGULATION BILL as the topic for the Thesis at Harvard. His instructor insisted that a copy be sent to Senator DAVID L. WALSH, a member of one of the committees hearing the Bill. The Senator was so impressed with the Thesis that he asked HYMAN to appear before the committee. ALBERT HYMAN took the stand and described how the little station was built and almost cried when he told the crowded committee room that if the BILL went through they would have to close down the station because they could not afford the license fee and all the other requirements which the BILL imposed on amateur stations. Congressional debate began on the WIRELESS REGULATION BILL and little station “HAM” became the symbol for all the little amateur stations in the country crying to be saved from the menace and greed of the big commercial stations who didn’t want them around. The BILL finally got to the floor of Congress and every speaker talked about the “….poor little station HAM.” That’s how it all started. You can find the whole story in the Congressional Record. Nation-wide publicity associated station “HAM” with amateur radio operators. From that day to this, and probably until the end of time in radio; and amateur is a “HAM.”
A HAM needs to be Considerate, Loyal, Friendly, Balanced and Patriotic. Because Radio signals do not know territorial boundaries; Every HAM has a unique opportunity and scope to enhance international goodwill. Although the main purpose of Amateur Radio is research and recreation, it is called the “Amateur Radio Service” because it also has a serious representation. The Government introduced this “Service” to fill up the need for a pool of experts who could provide backup emergency communication service. Additionally, the Government acknowledged the ability of Amateur Radio operators to advance communication and technical skills, and to enhance international goodwill. This philosophy has paid off. Countless lives have been saved where skilled hobbyists acted as emergency communicators to render aid, whether it is during or following a hurricane, tornado, ice storm, earthquake or some other disasters. Proper identification and recognition of operating capabilities and technical proficiency of amateur radio operators have been required in Bangladesh since 1991.
Each Amateur Radio Station has its own unique Callsign (Name) Allocated by the authorities. The unique Callsign allows you to identify the Person (Station), for example the callsign of Late Prime Minister of India Mr. Rajib Gandhi is ‘VU2RG’ where “VU” stands for India, “2” Stands for Grade I and “RG” for Rajib Gandhi. The callsign is Universal Identifier and is Unique.
Hams have their own lingo, like a male ham is known as OM (Old Man), and a female ham is known as YL (Young Lady) married ladies are known as XYL (Ex-YL), children’s of the hams are known as Harmonics.