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What is Ham Radio
Amateur radio operator is an individual who typically uses equipment at an amateur radio station to engage in two-way personal communications with other similar individuals, on radio frequencies assigned to the amateur radio service by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States and the International Telecommunication Union worldwide. Amateur radio operators build and operate several types of amateur radio stations, including fixed ground stations, mobile stations, space stations and temporary field stations. A slang term often used for an amateur station's location is the shack, named after the small enclosures added to the upper works of naval ships to hold early radio equipment and batteries. American amateur radio operators are granted an amateur radio license by the FCC upon passing an examination on radio theory and operation. As a component of their license, amateur radio operators are assigned a call sign (such as KC9ANG) that they use to identify themselves during communications. There are about 3 million amateur radio operators worldwide, including more than 700,000 licensed operators in the United States alone. Amateur radio operators are also known as radio amateurs, or hams. The term as a pejorative nickname for amateur radio operators was first heard in 1909 by operators in commercial and professional radio communities. The word was subsequently embraced by the operators, and stuck. However, the term did not gain widespread usage in the United States until around 1920, after which it slowly spread to other English-speaking countries. The term amateur in amateur radio is used in the same sense as an amateur athlete, as radio amateurs are prohibited by law from accepting monetary or material compensation of any kind for any activities they perform as radio operators. However, just as amateur athletes are among the top athletes in the world, ham radio operators have led the advancement of the science of radio communications for over a century. Today, we take for granted radio, television, satellite communications, cell phones, broadband, digital communications and many other innovations first explored and pioneered by ham radio hobbyists. Today, radio amateurs are exploring voice and data communications in ever higher frequencies allocated for experimentation and exploration – extending all the way to 275 gigahertz (GHz) and even beyond, nearly to the spectrum of light. Amateur radio operators volunteer countless hours of community service in providing emergency communications during natural and man-made disasters, as well as public service communications in support of special events such as marathons, bike races, and public events. Many are trained as severe weather spotters by the National Weather Service (NWS) and provide ground truth, mobile radio, to forecasters and emergency management agencies in support of public safety.