Home (Global)Amateur RadioWhat is Amateur Radio?

What is Amateur Radio?

The ama­teur and ama­teur-satel­lite ser­vices are radio­com­mu­ni­ca­tion ser­vices defined in the Radio Reg­u­la­tions of the ITU. Radio ama­teurs, of which there are some three mil­lion around the world, demon­strate their qual­i­fi­ca­tions by pass­ing exam­i­na­tions in radio the­o­ry and prac­tice and there­by gain access to spe­cif­ic fre­quen­cy bands locat­ed through­out the radio spec­trum for use in inter­com­mu­ni­ca­tion and tech­ni­cal investigations.

Rado ama­teurs have a proud his­to­ry of advanc­ing the art and sci­ence of radio and of devel­op­ing and apply­ing their skills to pub­lic ser­vice, espe­cial­ly in the event of nat­ur­al dis­as­ters when nor­mal com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tems are dis­rupt­ed. With a low-pow­er high-fre­quen­cy (HF) trans­ceiv­er, a car bat­tery, and wire for an anten­na, a skilled ama­teur can estab­lish com­mu­ni­ca­tion from vir­tu­al­ly any­where using his or her knowl­edge of ionos­pher­ic prop­a­ga­tion. At the local lev­el, orga­nized groups of ama­teurs are pre­pared to assist their com­mu­ni­ties using per­son­al­ly owned VHF and UHF equipment.

The first ama­teur satel­lite, launched in 1961, has been fol­lowed by 100 oth­ers includ­ing a geo­sta­tion­ary satel­lite cov­er­ing Africa, much of Asia, and Europe. Ama­teur radio com­mu­ni­ca­tion with the Inter­na­tion­al Space Sta­tion has brought thou­sands of stu­dents into direct con­tact with the manned space program.

Around the world, ama­teur radio enhances the nation­al skills base in telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­o­gy and pro­vides a stim­u­lat­ing and absorb­ing activ­i­ty for peo­ple of all ages and from all walks of life. 

The hard­ware and soft­ware tools avail­able at rea­son­able cost to today’s radio ama­teurs pro­vide ever-expand­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties to explore the radio spec­trum. Build­ing on more than a cen­tu­ry of tra­di­tion and advance­ment, a bright future awaits!

Print This Page Updated on January 27, 2020

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