Saturday, October 7, 2017

Modern Radio Hobbyists - HAM RAdio

Ham Radio Girl - Photo: Wikimedia

An amateur radio is called a Ham radio, and the operator is called as an amateur radio operator. They pursue the ham radio operation as a hobby, and it is a vastly popular hobby at that.

The origin of the word “ham” for an amateur radio operator is rather interesting. “Ham” was used to mean anybody who was NOT efficient or talented in the field. In the early days, the amateur operators had a notorious reputation for sending in garbled Morse code. So, these amateur operators were called by many names including “ham” as opposed to the professional wireless operators. But, over time, the name stuck up for the amateur radio operators and now it is no longer used in its initial derogatory way.

The hobby of amateur radio operators was also of public service during many times. In 1920 Amateur Police Radio was instituted to help “relay” information on crimes and thefts of vehicles and was very successful. Apart from using ham radio to connect to friends, families, they also connect to complete strangers. The ham operators have time and again been of great service during emergencies and disasters like earthquakes and other natural disasters in transmitting reliable real-time information about the condition and for the speedy movement and dispersal of the relief measures.

This is a great public service since during these emergencies the only thing that works is the radio! The phone lines severed, other communication methods are ruled out and it is common for even the mobile networks to be clogged in traffic during these emergencies leaving hams as a great tool. There have been many documented evidence of the ham radio enthusiasts helping someone in trouble or helping to locate and nab a criminal.

Thus, the first radio hobby started out as amateur radio operation. It was restricted to few miles and must be relayed across. Now, all-powerful and advanced radio equipment is still evolving and improving. So, one does not need to rely on relay anymore but can almost connect to halfway across the world as opposed to the initial days.

The amateur radio has become very organized since the first clubs of 1909. Each has a uniquely identifiable code by which they are known. The first hobbyists relied on communication by making connections to as many radio operators who were as distant as possible, with their meager equipment. Usually, they were constantly upgrading it. This was called Dxing when one would try to connect to as many amateur radio operators as possible. The radio enthusiasts are on the lookout for constant updates and most are proficient in the wireless technology. Even though they now get ready-made ham equipment, most are known to have a good knowledge of the working of the ham equipment as well as minor repairs and such.

In the day of the mobiles, internet, and blue-tooth, ham radio has its own place and reputation. After all, the disasters and emergencies have themselves to be a special place that the radio transmission can come in handy. There is also the family radio service, also known as the Walkie Talkie to operate within around about 2-3 miles. A modification of the same is used when the parents can fix a transmitter to a child’s bag or pocket, and when the child walks out of the range, the parents are sent an alarm! As you can see, radio usage is not just limited to hobbies, but it spans across many different useful purposes.

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