Amateur Radio, also known as “ham radio”, allows enthusiasts to communicate with other amateurs around the world,
and experiment with all aspects of radio.
If you have an interest in anything to do with radio, communication or electronics, then amateur radio could be the hobby for you.
Why would I want to become a ham?
If you’ve ever been interested in, or dabbled with, radio or electronics, it’s worth considering
becoming a radio amateur to learn more about technology and radio.
If any of the following apply to you, you might be interested in finding out more:
*Interested in electronics or gadgets?
*Into shortwave radio listening?
*Want to understand how radio works?
*Used a CB radio or PMR, and looking to explore other areas of the radio spectrum?
*Played with a walkie-talkie as a kid, and want to know more?
*Looking for a diverse technical hobby?
*Keen to further your knowledge and technical understanding?
There are so many directions that the hobby can take you in,
here are just a few examples:
*Chat to local hams using the 2 metre and 70cm bands
*Talk to other operators in the UK, Europe and around the world
*Link your computer to your radio and the Internet using technologies such as EchoLink (think Skype for Amateurs)
Digital modes including SSTV, JT65 and FT8
*Talk to the International Space Station – Most astronauts are licensed amateurs and are occasionally available for a contact as they fly over.
*Experiment with radio – Investigate different aerial types, radios and transmission modes. Some amateurs are even bouncing signals off the moon
*Take part in contests – See how far you can get, and how many contacts you can make events in the community and helping out in emergencies
*Learn and operate Morse code (known as CW), and communicate around the world
*Special events – Amateurs are often out-and-about spreading the word
Amateur radio is about making friends. It’s a community, and amateur radio operators are keen to share their knowledge and help others.
You have to get a licence to operate amateur radio equipment and to transmit on the amateur radio frequencies, but that’s not a big deal.
There are many amateur radio clubs that can teach you the basics, and help you to take the first steps to get started in the hobby.
Beginners to the hobby can take a short training course. These are often short weekend or weekday evening courses, which include some practical exercises to help you understand the basics, plus training on the licence conditions, technical basics and safety. At the end of the course, you apply to take a multiple choice exam, and assuming you pass, you will be issued with a licence and call sign.
Visit hamradio.ie for more information about ham radio.