What is Amateur radio?

Hey Mate! What’s this Ham radio thing – you know the old guy in the cellar bashing on something on the table and wires strung around his garden?

Well, do you like Rock and Roll Concerts?

Do you use the Internet?

Did you watch the men land on the moon or work inside the International Space Station?

Do you have a Cellphone/Smartphone?

Do you think that communications after a major natural or man-made disaster are important?


Well ALL of these things would not EXIST without amateur radio. Amateur radio either invented the technologies involved or produced the engineers who created them. Sounds like a big claim right? YOU BET – but it’s true. The first Social Media system was Amateur Radio, Open Source started with Amateur radio where all technology is shared world-wide without political barriers.

After over 100 years of this hobby the camaraderie and support that exists is a gift to mankind and continues on and grows with every year.

If you don’t find at least one of the tens of facets within the hobby interesting – you are not alive!

  • Involvement of young people in Sceince and Technical topics (we NEED more engineers!).
  • Space Communications through amateur built satellites (the third satellite in space was an Amateur Radio one!)
  • Revolutionary data transmission modes allowing longer distance communications at very low powers – for example to the moon and back.
  • Digital Television – yes we amateurs are allowed to transmit Digital Television (as well as the older analogue type as well).
  • Local / mobile communications from your car, a boat, a plane, a hot air balloon.
  • Launch and track high altitude balloons that can orbit the earth multiple times.
  • Talking with Astronauts or Cosmonauts on the International Space station (All crew become radio amateurs before they go up if they aren’t already licenced radio amateurs).
  • Direction finding – hunting down hidden radios (either for fun or as part of an international sport travelling to different countries).
  • Long distance communications – talk to people in other countries and learn about people outside of your own countries.
  • Go to remote locations – Pacific Islands, The arctic or antarctic, Mountain Tops, National Parks and set up and operate portable radio stations.
  • Challenge your skills against other Radio hams around the world in contests.
  • BUILD EQUIPMENT – yes we are allowed to build transmitting and receiving equipment as self-training out of which technological advancement can come for all.
  • Computer software development.
  • Operate a short wave broadcast radio station (a few are run by Amateur Radio enthusiasts under commercial licences around the world).
  • Emergency communications – when (not if), the Cell phone network breaks down during a disaster, how do emergency services in third world (and some first world) countries communicate? Amateur Radio to the rescue – we install communications capabilities from anywhere to anywhere in a short time and at NO COST to the community – this is all volunteer work!
  • Support of sports events taking place where there is no reliable cell phone coverage. Running safety check-points to make sure an athlete hasn’t had an accident and then make sure rescue is organised if required, as quickly as possible.

The list goes on and on and on (and is forever growing).