Ham Radio Introduction

Amateur Radio is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under the Communications Act of 1934. It is also subject to numerous international agreements. All Amateur Radio operators must be licensed. In the U.S. there are three license classes. Each successive level of license comes with an expansion of privileges. Your entry into Amateur Radio begins with a Technician Class License

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Gear
Hams use many frequency bands across the radio spectrum
The FCC allocates these frequencies for amateur use.
Ham Radios operate from just above the AM broadcast band to the microwave region, in the gigahertz range

Most Ham radios are a transmitter and a receiver in one unit, called a transceiver.

There are many digital modes that can be used in ham radio, so modems can be used to communicate in various networks

Radioteletype, (RTTY) uses computers to send information

Morse code signals (a series of beeps) can sometimes get through when voice transmissions cannot.

Hams may use VHF FM, hand-held transceivers set to transmit on one frequency and receive on another frequency

They may use FM Repeaters to receive and re-broadcast signals to extend the range

Repeaters use antennas on top of mountains and high buildings.
The repeater receives a signal and rebroadcasts it on another frequency using many watts of power.
The repeater extends the range of the hand held ham radio to tens or hundreds of miles

Hams can also use their hand-held radios to communicate through an amateur radio satellite when it is overhead

CB Radios have a 5-watt transmit power limit, Ham Radios can use up to 1,500 watts

Ham radio antenna style and size depends on the frequency being used
The same antennas are used to both transmit and receive
Lower frequencies have longer wavelengths and need larger antennas

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