Introduction To Amateur Radio

Amateur Radio aka "Ham Radio" is a non-commercial, non-profit radio service, friendly, high-tech hobby enjoyed by many people all over the world.

Amateur Radio is:

push pin Talking (or using Morse Code) with friends or strangers all over the world.
push pin Assisting in disasters and emergency.
push pin Promote international good will.
push pin Helping to coordinate events like the New Year's Rose Parade, marathons, Olympics.
push pin Going to local hospitals and letting the kids talk to "Santa".
push pin Contests - Trying to contact as many stations as possible in a 24 hour period. Awards for such things as making contact with Ham stations in all 50 states, or 100 different countries.
push pin Making phone calls for our GI's in other countries so they can talk to their love ones.
push pin Developing new technologies to improve the state of the art in radio communication.

...........and more.

There are many ways of using Amateur Radio - you can use voice transmission, International Morse Code, difference types of radio teletype, television, packet radio (using radio linked computers, similar to how we do it on the Internet). You can talk to hams in your local area, or you can talk to hams all over the world. You can talk from your home base or out of a mobile station. Many hams use hand-held radios that fit in their pockets.

Hams exchange pictures of each other using television. Some also like to work on electronic circuits, building their own radios and antennas. Anyone can be a ham -- no matter what age, gender or physical ability. There are actors, politicians, astronauts, kings and queens are hams.

Getting started in Amateur Radio does not have to be expensive or difficult. In the United States there are several levels (classes) of Amateur Radio license, starting with a "novice" class that requires only a basic knowledge of radio theory, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations and 5 words-per-minute of Morse Code.

If you want to get started, there's lots of information available at the  ARRL ARRL (American Radio Relay League). You can also call 1-800-32-NEW HAM / (800) 326-3942 or e-mail them.

The possibilities are endless -- Join the World of Amateur Radio!!


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April 27, 1791 ~ Samuel Morse, Inventor of the Morse Code, was born.

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January 06, 1838 ~ Samuel Morse publicly demonstrated his telegraph for the first
time in Morristown, N.J.

Samuel Morse and the Telegraph 

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January 8, 1838 ~ The first telegraph message was sent using morse code.

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May 24, 1844 ~ Samuel Morse transmitted the world's first telegraph message ("What
hath God wrought!") to his associate 40 miles away.

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February 22, 1857 ~ Heinrich Hertz, a German physicist who discovered radio waves was
born on this day.  Hertz is remembered today in terms like kilohertz and megahertz,
which give measurements of those radio waves. 
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April 02, 1872 ~ Samuel F.B. Morse, developer of the electric telegraph, died in New

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June 2, 1896 ~ Marconi's Patent Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi received the
first patent for broadcasting by electromagnetic waves.  After conducting several
experiments at his home in England, he then tried his wireless telegraphy around
London with great success.  His experiments served as precursors for the modern

Prior to Marconi, no one thought it possible to send a wireless message over the
earth's horizon.  

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December 11, 1901 ~ Guglielmo Marconi sent the first transatlantic radio signal from
Cornwall to Newfoundland.

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March 18, 1909 ~ Einar Dessau of Denmark used a shortwave transmitter to converse
with a government radio post about six miles away in what's believed to have been the
first broadcast by a ham radio operator.

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August 11, 1909 ~ The liner "Arapahoe" was the first US ship to use the radio
distress call "SOS." The ship, finding itself in trouble off the coast of North
Carolina, sent out an SOS signal that was received by a nearby ship.  

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November 19, 1911 ~ New York receives first Marconi wireless transmission from Italy. 

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June 19, 1934 ~ The  Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was established.

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Febuary 1, 1999 ~ Morse Code is replaced by a satellite-based "Mayday" system on
all ships over 300 tons which have to carry satellite and radio equipment for sending
and receiving distress alerts.


I have been a Ham since I was 12 years old. My call is WD6BWH, and I hold a Advanced Class License (there is only 1 class higher than an Advanced - an Extra Class ).

Both my Dad, AK6H, and Mom, KB6E, are hams. They both hold an Extra Class License.

Because of Amateur Radio, we have done a lot of fun things. We have worked the off-road races down in Baja California and in Nevada, helping with communication and keeping track of racers, so nobody gets lost .
We have worked on the New Year's Rose Parade, the Hollywood Christmas Parade, Los Angeles Marathon and the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

If you have any questions about Amateur Radio please e-mail me.


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