Amateur radio

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A young amateur radio operator from Germany

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[edit]

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[edit]

Operating on popular amateur bands[edit]

To operate on different bands you need different antenna and radios.

ITU frequency bands used in telecommunications:[1]

  • Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) 0.03 Hz – 300 Hz
  • Ultra Low Frequency (ULF) 300 Hz – 3 KHz
  • Very Low Frequency (VLF) 3 KHz – 30 KHz
  • Low Frequency (LF) 30 KHz – 300 KHz
  • Medium Frequency (MF) 300 KHz – 3 MHz
  • High Frequency (HF) 3 MHz – 30 MHz
  • Very High Frequency (VHF) 30 MHz – 300 MHz
  • Ultra High Frequency (UHF) 300 MHz – 3 GHz
  • Super High Frequency (SHF) 3 GHz – 30 GHz
  • Extremely High Frequency (EHF) 30 GHz – 300 GHz

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
Dipole Vertical
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

Equipment[edit]

Antennas[edit]

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"

  1. /Unidirectional propagation antenna
  2. /Omnidirectional propagation antenna

QRP tranceivers[edit]

QRP refers to operating transmitters at very low power.

References[edit]

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  1. 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.

External links[edit]