A Hobby that lasts a lifetime!|
Age is no limitation, people from 8 to 108 participate.
Great Hobby for Father & Son or the Entire Family!
No Special abilities required. Paralysis, Blindness and other physical limitations do not prevent people from participating in and enjoying this great Hobby.
It's a hobby in which you can easily participate every day if you choose, and it doesn't necessarily take time away from your family or other pursuits.
The Hobby I'm talking about is Amateur Radio, also known as Ham Radio.
Amateur Radio is sometimes confused with CB Radio, but it's a world apart. Amateur Radio is a regulated Radio Service, licenses are required. Rules are enforced. Obscene language is not allowed! It's a "G" rated hobby.
In many respects, Amateur Radio is a world wide fraternity, the only initiation is the passing of the FCC Exam(s).
The initial exam can be compared to a drivers license test, it's not very difficult, involves the use of some simple algebra and demonstration of the rules. The main purpose, is to ensure that you understand the rules of the 'airways'.
Amateur Radio Clubs can be found in most every large city, as well as in many smaller communities. Clubs offer help to you get you started in the hobby or to help you learn about and perhaps pursue one of the many different aspects of the hobby.
What do Amateur Radio Operators do?
- Meet other Hams and make new friends, from around town, around the state, across the country, and even around the world.
- Pass the time on the drive to work or School: Talking with other hams, often discussing issues far removed from Amateur radio, including Sports, the Weather, World and local events, and even other Hobbies.
- Public Service:
If you've participated in a large group event such as the March of Dimes Walk, chances are Amateur Operators where there volunteering their time and talent providing communications for the event. In Houston Texas, Amateur Radio Operators provide communications for the MS-150 a Houston to Austin bicycle ride spanning over 150 miles between the 2 cities to raise money for Muscular Sclerosis. Wings over Houston Airshow, Buffalo Bayou Regatta and other events.
- Obtain Local information when visiting another city
If you've ever been in an unfamiliar city, and either needed directions or wanted to find a good restuarant but didn't want to stop and ask, often the answer is as close as your microphone.
Some aspects of Amateur radio make it a Contact Sport by those participating. You can choose to pursue different awards for some of the contacts you make. You can compete against others to see who can make the most contacts, and more!
- Broaden Your Horizons
Amateur Radio can allow you to meet people you would of never met otherwise, learn about other hobbies and pursue interests with others that would otherwise not be possible.
- Develop Technical Skills
Skills that you can utilize around the house, the office or in Public Service.
Some of the basic knowledge gained via amateur radio has even helped people make career decisions.
- Obtaining a License: Currently there is a $14 fee to take the Exam(s), Exam Sessions are held all over the country, in Cities like Houston, there are organizations offering exam sessions nearly every weekend in different parts of the city including: Clear Lake, Spring/Tomball, Humble and even near Downtown Houston.
- Getting ready for the Exam: Some clubs offer classes which will help you to prepare for the exam. An Mentor/Elmer is one of the best methods, and then there's always Self Study. There are several books covering the material which is found on the exams. In fact the Question pool is published in most of these books and is even available on the internet. The book I recommend is entitled
"Technician Class" 6th edition (May, 2006) written by Gordon West, Published by W5YI Group, Inc; ISBN: 0945053452 Covers the Questions on Exams through June 2010). This book is available from libraries, Radio Shack, Amazon.com and most major book stores.
Can't get to a store to buy a book? A great Resource can be found at HamQuick.com, click on Tutorials. There you will find a short and to the point writeup of what you need to know to pass the initial Technician class exam.
- Regardless of the book you choose make sure that it covers the question pool that is currently valid. The Current Question pool will used from 7/01/06 - 6/30/10.
- Cost: Getting started in Amateur radio doesn't have to be expensive. Brand New Handheld radios sell for close to $100, Brand New Mobile Radio/Antennas can be found for around $160. Used radios are another less expensive option. Many clubs have loaner radios which allow you to get into the hobby at a minimal cost. ECHOLINK is a "free" option that allows Licensed amateurs to get on the air without a radio. All that is required is a Personal Computer w/Sound Card, Microphone and an Internet Connection.
Other Information about the Hobby:
For some "professionally" written information about this "Amateur" Hobby, and to see who some famous Hams are Click here!
In the past, One of the turnoffs of Amateur Radio was the requirement to learn Morse Code. Since the 1990s, that is no longer the case. The Technician class license does not require morse code!!!
You don't need a huge unsightly Antenna on your Car or your home!!!
Many Hams live in Deed Restricted communities and apartments where "visible" antennas are prohibited.
Thanks for Reading
To be continued.....
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