The Hobby of Amateur Radio (also known as 'Ham Radio') has been around for well over 100 years. This Hobby basically involves qualified people communicating with each other using their 'Amateur Radios', (transmitters and receivers / transceivers) which operate on specific bands of frequencies. Amateur Radio Operators, also known as 'Hams' come from all walks of Life. From engineers and doctors to bricklayers and teachers, Operators now number around 3 million, Worldwide. Both able and disabled people can participate. This is a fabulous pastime for visually impaired people. Ages range from about 8 years to people well into their 90's. There are more Women Amateur Operators nowadays than ever before. Ham Radio gives Operators a sense of excitement, 'working Hams from around the Globe.' Italian 'Guglielmo Marconi,' electrical engineer and inventor is credited with being the first Amateur Radio Operator to send and receive morse code radio signals across the Atlantic in 1901. He shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Karl Braun in 1909 for their contributions to the development of wireless telegraphy. The first Amateur Radio Club, 'The Wireless Institute of Australia' was formed in 1910.
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CLICK HERE TO VIEW AN ARTICLE BY THE AMERICAN RADIO RELAY LEAGUE DESCRIBING HOW HF RADIO SIGNALS TRAVEL AROUND THE EARTH.
Amateur Radios are able to be used in a wide variety of ways. Of course, using a microphone to chat to someone and hearing their voice coming in from possibly thousands of miles away is always a thrill. Morse Code is still used today by thousands of Hams around the World. With the coming of computers, various forms of digital communications are now wide spread within the Amateur Community. For example, you can have a 'digital conversation' by using your Amateur Radio Station and computer keyboard to type messages to each other. Radio Signals on Earth are basically received and transmitted instantaneously, whereas to reach the planet Mars, they can take about 20 minutes or more. These days, using some modes of Digital Radio Communication, signals can now be detected and decoded which are not even audible. Remotely operating a station is now becoming popular too. This means that even though you may be thousands of miles away from your Amateur Radio Station, using a fast Internet connection to it, you can still operate it from many places around the World. You may be in Texas, U.S.A., for example, but your Radio Station may be in England. With an adequate Internet connection between the two, you can control your Station remotely, even though you may be thousands of miles away from it. Such is the power of the Internet. ie. your transmitted signal emanates from England. A similar front panel to Your Radio is seen on Your computer screen and this enables You to control various functions which are within Your Remotely Operated Radio. An Amateur Radio company, 'RemoteHamRadio,' which requires a fee, enables licensed Amateurs to operate their excellent Radio Systems Remotely.
Pictures can be sent via Radio using Slow Scan Television (SSTV). Ham Radio signals are able to be sent to the Moon and reflected back from its surface to Earth so that Operators on the other side of the Earth are able to receive the weak reflected signals. This is known as 'Moon Bounce,' usually requiring large antenna systems. Many Amateur Radio Satellites made by Amateurs are in Earth orbit. These 'Birds' receive Amateur Signals transmitted to them and retransmit the Signals back to Earth so that the Signals are able to travel further around the World. As mentioned, an Amateur Radio Station is located on board the International Space Station and contacts from there are often made to classes of School Children on Earth.