Ham Radio Kits

What’s All The Fuss About?

By: - Communications - July 11, 2011
ham radio kits what%E2%80%99s all the fuss about

Amateur radio has become something of an international hobby since WWI and WWII.   Most people refer to it as Ham Radio.  Ham radio kits help get newer enthusiasts started and enable them to interact with the amateur radio community from all around the world.  The term “amateur” isn’t mean to denote a lack of skill or knowledge.  Rather, it’s intended to set Ham Radio operators from the commercial and government radio communities.  Owning a ham radio kit is a hobby cherished by many enthusiasts that have also provided society with a leg up in many industries.

Not Just a Hobby

Amateur radio’s origins can be traced back to the late 19th century.  It was some time before Ham Radio was practiced as it is today but in the late 19th the idea was born.  The First Annual Official Wireless Blue Book of the Wireless Association of America contained the first listing of amateur radio stations.  It was the first radio call book and it listed wireless telegraph station in Canada and the US.  The birth of the amateur radio world was strongly associated with hobbyists and of course, experimenters.   Ham Radio enthusiasts have, throughout their history, provided significant contributions to society.  Their influence has been seen in science, engineering, industry and even social services.  Thanks to research by hams, new industries have been founded, economies built and nations have been empowered.  Hams have even saved lives in cases of emergency.

Getting Started

Usually, when someone is interested in getting involved in ham radio as a hobby, they start by joining an association or a club.  There are a lot of things that go into amateur radio and a community of experienced people is always a plus when learning the wires, so to speak.  Generally speaking, the person interested will shop for and select a ham radio kit and put it together.  A ham radio kit is a great place for someone new to radio to learn.  Eventually, according to their area of interest, they will be building or modifying their own ham radio kits.

Licensing and Governance

It must be understood that to practice amateur radio; one must be licensed to do so.  In countries where licensing is required, all operators are expected to pass an exam in order to display their understanding of key constructs and their knowledge.  Once they’ve passed this exam, hams are given operating privileges at a higher power.   A wider variety of techniques for communication become available to them, over larger segments of the spectrum of radio frequency.     Unlicensed radio services are limited to PMR446, Family Radio Service or CB radio.   These necessitate type-approved instruments which help to restrict the power and frequency range of unlicensed devices.   As the licensing process varies from country to country, certain aspects of it will be different for various operators.   In general, licensees are expected to take several exams, each more challenging than the last, which grant more access in terms of power output, frequency availability, allowed experimentation and unique call signs (in some countries).  In the United Kingdom and in Australia operators are required to take an applicable training course in addition to written exams.   In the United States, there are three consecutive levels of licensing exams.  These are Technician Class, General Class and Amateur Extra Class.  These provide operators who pass the exams with access to greater portions of the ham radio spectrum and better call signs.  The basic requirements for passing these exams are that the operator must demonstrate understanding of the key concepts of:

  • electronics
  • radio equipment
  • antennas
  • radio propagation
  • RF safety
  • Radio Regulations of the government granting the license

When it comes to governance, again, the requirements and privileges that are granted to an operator upon gaining their license vary from country to country.  In general, though, they follow the standards and regulations set into place by the International Telecommunications Union and the World Radio Conferences.  The rules agreed upon buy these two organizations are in place to protect privacy, to ensure clear transmissions and to ensure that commercial transmissions are not interfered with.


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