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 What is Amateur Radio?

Official definition of Amateur ("ham") radio is:
A radio communications service for the purpose of self-training, intercommunication, and technical investigations carried out by amateurs, that is, duly authorized persons interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest.

But that definition leaves out something very important: ham radio is a lot of fun for those who wish to make self development in the field of wireless & communications!

If you're interested in electronics with particular interest in wireless, ham radio is the ultimate trip: the chance to operate your own wireless station right from your home and be in touch with entire world.

Easiest way to learn all about amateur radio theory and rules & Regulations and prepare for an exam, go thru this web site and you will not require anything more to know.

Want to communicate around the world on short-wave? Want to use VHF and UHF frequencies like police or government agencies do? Want to operate your own television station? The ultimate model radio control system? Want to experiment with packet radio----an on-the-air version of the Internet---or use famous Morse code?

Ever wondered what it would be like to communicate directly with a ham station aboard a Space Shuttle or through a communications satellite using your own radio station? You can do all of that, and a lot more, with ham radio.

Look at this simple, high power-all mode Amateur Station:

VU2FD with wife Anjana & daughter Nina - 1994More about me

Amateur Station is equipped with a Computer, digital modem (Kam+), 144MHz portable transceiver(ICOM-02AT), 1KW HF all band transceiver (ITT-Mackay MSR8050, left unit) and a

Second unit comprising of a General Coverage synthesized receiver   - 1KW synthesized transmitter (Ex Electromikeno-Danmark) With a 144-1.2GHz transverter on top of it. 

Doggie sits on antenna position controller/indicator which rotates a three element 14MHz and a 4 Element 21MHz yagi. 

Many ham radio operators like to exchange QSL cards (Acknowledgement cards) with each other after a QSO (two way contact), especially with a distant station or one in a different country.

A sample of Amateur QSL card:   

      VU2FD's QSL Card

More about Qsl Card

One thing needs to be made clear up front: All ham radio communications are restricted to two-way communications with other ham radio stations. You can't broadcast on the AM or FM broadcast bands with a ham radio license, nor can you communicate with other two-way radio stations, like CB or marine stations, via ham radio except in emergencies.

Ham radio operators have several different frequency bands set aside for their use. These bands range from just above the AM broadcast band (the AM band ends at 1700 kHz; the 160-meter ham band begins at 1800 kHz) through the short-wave band and into the VHF, UHF, and microwave frequencies. The exact frequency ranges that you can use depends upon the class of ham radio license you hold and the county you reside. More about rules & permitted frequencies...here

To operate a ham radio station in India, you must hold a license issued by the WPC (Wireless Planning & Coordination Wing of Ministry Of Communications). Obtaining a license requires you to pass an examination; higher license classes require passing more difficult exams.

Actually, requiring exams before issuing a ham license makes a lot of sense. Most of the topics on the written exams are things you need to know in order to properly and safely operate your station. All ham license classes but one (Grade II (Restricted) allow you to use transmitters on High Frequencies with powers as high as 300 watts.

You can use a variety of different modulation modes on frequencies capable of worldwide communication----- and interference! Those are some very good reasons for determining someone's competence via examination before granting a ham radio license. Don't look at the exam requirement as an obstacle; instead, think of it as an opportunity to demonstrate how good you are.

But don't you have to pass a Morse code test to get a ham radio license? The good news is: THE MOST POPULAR CLASS OF HAM RADIO LICENSE, GRADE II (Restricted) REQUIRES NO MORSE CODE TEST! To get it, you have to pass an exam consisting of a one hour objective type question paper. If you answer 74% or more correctly, you're a ham!

The Grade II (Restricted) class of license restricts you to operation on frequencies of 50 MHz and above. As you may know, these frequencies are in the VHF/UHF range, where communication is limited to "line of sight" only.

However, the bands above 30MHz range (known as VHF) "opens" several times each year for communications over ranges of hundreds or even thousands of miles away through a phenomenon known as sporadic-E propagation. During years of high sunspot activity, the two-meter band (144MHZ VHF) can be used for regular communications worldwide. Several hams have managed to contact over 100 different countries on six meters.

The Grade II (Restricted) license also lets you operate on the two-meter (144 to 148 MHz) band. "Two" is the world's most popular ham radio band. Reliable range on this band is normally restricted to the visual horizon plus about 15% extra. Depending on your local terrain, this works out to about 20 to 50 miles from your location. However, hams do utilize developed ways of wireless communication to extend this range:

One is the repeater station. A repeater station listens for a signal on one frequency (the input frequency) and re-transmits, or "repeats," it on another frequency known as the output. Repeater stations are located on top of tall buildings or mountains where the "radio horizon" is much greater than from the ground. It's not uncommon for a hand-held "walkie-talkie" two-meter transceiver (combination of transmitter and receiver) to be able to reliably communicate over a radius of a couple of hundred miles through a repeater.

Grade II class hams are also able to communicate through ham radio communications satellites. Most ham radio satellites make some use of the two-meter band, either for ground-to-satellite (uplink) or satellite-to-ground (downlink) signals. Many hams have contacted over 100 different countries via communications satellites. Equipment and antennas for satellite communications can be very modest; satellite antennas for two-meters are similar in size to outdoor TV/FM antennas.

Other activities open to Grade II class include packet radio, amateur television, model control, and friendly chatting ("rag chewing") with other hams in their area. Most communications on the ham bands above 50 MHz use FM, but SSB, digital modes, and even Morse code (CW) are used.

International regulations require a Morse code exam for operation on frequencies below 30 MHz. In the India, the Grade II, Grade I, Advanced Grade class licenses all require a Morse code test. The code speed for the Grade II  is 5 words per minute (wpm), 12 wpm for the Grade I & Advanced Grade. More on syllabus for all grades of exams.....more

Each license class conveys a different set of operating privileges, with the Novice class license giving the most narrow set of privileges on a limited number of bands and the Extra giving all amateur privileges on all bands. Hams also get distinctive call signs reflecting their class of license. For example, a call sign like VU2 XYX would be normally be issued to a Grade II licensee while VU2FD would be issued to an Advanced class licensee.

In India, usually, grade II licenses are prefixed VU3 with last two letters being XYZ.


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