Amateur radio is hobby or pastime enjoyed by many. But with readily available cell phone and internet communications it is now usually practiced by an enthusiast rather than for practical reasons. Amateur radio is often used in remote areas where there is little communications infrastructure or when infrastructure is damaged due to a disaster. Amateur radio includes communicating locally or world-wide by two-way radio. It can include striving for "DX" receptions that are challenging, usually because of weak signals due to the distance. Communicating with very low power transmitters (referred to as QRP) is also popular.
Obtaining a license
Obtaining a license to operate an amateur radio station requires passing an examination covering technical topics and operating procedures. The exact nature of the assessment varies in each country and by the class of amateur radio license the applicant is seeking. In many countries there are different classes of amateur radio license with different privileges.
Licensing by country
Operating on popular amateur bands
ITU frequency bands used in telecommunications:
Here are standard antenna lengths for 1/2 wavelength long dipole antennas and 1/4 wavelength long vertical antennas for some of the popular amateur bands:
|Band||Frequency type||Frequency range||Antenna length|
|160m||Medium||1.8 – 2.0 MHz||234 ft||117 ft|
|80m||High||3.5 – 4.0 MHz||117 ft||58.5 ft|
|40m||High||7.0 – 7.3 MHz||64 ft||32 ft|
|30m||High||10.10 – 10.15 MHz ??||46 ft||23 ft|
|20m||High||14.00 – 14.35 MHz ??||32 ft||16 ft|
|17m||High||18.07 – 18.17 MHz ??||26 ft||13 ft|
|15m||High||21.00 – 21.45 MHz ??||22 ft||11 ft|
|12m||High||24.89 – 24.99 MHz ??||18 ft||9 ft|
|6m||Very high||50 – 54 MHz||8 ft||4 ft|
|2m||Very high||144 – 148 MHz||3 ft||1.5 ft|
There are two basic types of antennas, antennas that propagate equal in one direction eg. "unidirectional propagation" or antennas that propagate in all directions eg. "omnidirectional propagation"
QRP refers to operating transmitters at very low power.
- Radiocommunication Sector of ITU (ITU-R) (August 2015). Nomenclature of the frequency and wavelength bands used in telecommunications (PDF) (V.431-8 ed.). Geneva: International Telecommunications Union. Retrieved 13 January 2020.