What is Amateur Radio?

A fascinating hobby for the twenty first century

Amateur radio has a proud history stretching over one hundred years, but it is very much hobby of the twenty first century. From the very earliest days of experimental wireless to the present day of worldwide communications, radio amateurs have been at the forefront of developments. Communication over distance, with out wires, is as exciting today as it was to the early pioneers.

Amateur radio, commonly called “ham radio”, is a hobby enjoyed by many people throughout the world; about 3 million worldwide, 75,000 in Germany, 60,000 in the UK, 1.2 million in Japan, 69,000 in Canada, and just under 740,000 in the United States.

Amateur Radio: A Hobby for the 21st Century

Amateur Radio: A Hobby for the 21st Century was produced by TX Factor for the RSGB and is shown here by kind permission of the RSGB and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence.

 Amateur Radio serves the following purposes… 

  • Promotion and enhancement of the Amateur Radio Service as a voluntary non-commercial public communications service.
  • Continual advancement of the art of radio communication.
  • Expansion of the reservoir of trained radio operators and electronic experts.
  • Enhancement of international goodwill at the grass roots level.
Operating a radio.

I’ve never used a radio!

  • To get involved in Amateur Radio, you don’t need to have existing skills, radio experience or any specific qualifications as training is provided and at Foundation Level, the exam requirements is to pass a few basic practical assessments and sit a 25 question paper which is all multiple choice.  

Once licensed, what can I do at Foundation Level?

  • Once licensed at Foundation Level, you can operate Amateur Radio equipment with only a few power and band restrictions – and if you want to progress and learn more, there are more advanced courses available taking you through “Intermediate” level and finally onto “Full” (aka Advanced). The hobby itself is very broad, as you can choose what areas you dabble in, and pick from many types of operation.  Whether you choose to be competitive and try to win some of the numerous awards available or take a more technical approach to developing and building your own kit, you will not be alone. For more information, visit:  http://rsgb.org