1. What is HAM Radio?
Amateur Radio is a scientific hobby of private radio communication. Amateur Radio operators (also calls HAMs) set-up amateur radio stations (radio transmitter and receiver) in their homes, and use them to communicate with other Hams all over the world. Through this hobby, Hams develop their skills in radio communication techniques. It is hard to explain the thrill of a wireless exchange with another amateur in an age when one can simply pick up a cellular phone and call almost anywhere in the world. Yet for those of us who are hooked on the hobby, we still marvel at the magic of radio waves traveling to the other side of the world. There is no greater satisfaction than communicating with another amateur thousands of miles away with no medium other than waves generated in a wire antenna, and sent with just the power equivalent to turning on a 50-100 watt light bulb.
2. What do HAMs do?
Hams are very interested in communication it may be by talking, (voice mode), through Morse Code (called CW), or by radio telex (RTTY) or even using their computer to tak to another hams computer packet radio, etc. While some hams may be satisfied with just talking to other nearby or far away hams, many others may conduct experiments in radio communication by bouncing their signals off the moon or find out if they can contact very far off stations using extremely low transmitter power.
Even theough Ham Radio is essentially a hobby, Hams also perform public services in many ways. For example, during emergencies and disasters such as cyclone, floods, earthquakes, etc., hams usually rush to the scene of the disaster and set up their radio stations to help in organizing the rescue and relief work. Hams also take part in regular radio networks (NETS). During this time, one ham may ask for blood for transfusion, someone elese may urgently want life-saving medicines or specialist medical advice, or seek some other help. In such cases, the hams try to organize the necessary assistance as fast as possible. But, please remember, all this is done on a purely voluntary basis - whithout expecting any recognition or reward.
3.What kind of transmissions can a HAM make?
The Amateur Radio rules allow hams to communicate messages of technical interest or personal nature. News, music, tape recordings, discussions of political nature or thir-party messages are not allowed.
4. Can I use HAM radio in my business?
No. Definetely not. You cannot discuss business or money transactions over ham radio.
5. Can I earn money through HAM radio?
HAM radio is a hobby, a pastime - it cannot be used in business, nor can it be used in any matters relating to money. Nobody who takes up any hobby should expect the hobby to be a source of income.
6. If I become a HAM, can my family members also use it?
You must have a licence to operate an amateur radio station. This licence is given only to individuals or to clus, societies, educational institutions etc. As a h am, you are authorised to use your ham radio to communicate only with other hams. Your family members cannot use your ham radio unless they are also licence holders. The licence is issued b the Govt. of India throught the wireless Planning & Co-ordination (WPC) Wing of the Department of Telecommunications in the Ministry of Communication & Information Technology.
7. Can I carry a HAM radio from place to place?
The licence issued to an amateur specifies the location of the station i.e., the address from whcih the station should operate. Any change in the location of the station can be made only after obtaining prior permission of the licencing authority , so you cannot carry a ham radio from one place to another. Special permission can be obtained for operating an amateur station from a motor vehicle, but this is given for short periods only (90 days) and must be renewed from time to time.
8. Can I become a HAM?
Almost anybody, boy or girl, man or woman can become a ham. There is no minimum educational qualification ; the only conditon is that you must be at least 12 years of age. to get y our ham licence you must pass the Amateur Station Operator's Licence (A.S.O.L.) Examination which is conducted by the WPC. The examinations are usually conducted at the various International Monitoring Stations or at the Regional Headquarters of the WPC.
9. Are there different grades of licences?
There are four grades of licence : Restricted Grade,Grade II Grade I and Advanced Grade. The syllabus for the theory part of the A.S.O.L. Examination (Sections A & B) is the same for the first three grades, but candidates appearing for Advanced Grade are expected to answer questions on more advanced topics in electronics and communication. Restricted Grade candidates are not required to know Morse Code, but with this grade of licence a ham can operate only on VHF (Very High Frequency) or UHF (Ultra High Frequency), which is limited to line of sight (usually about 40 - 60 Km). Grade II licence holders are required to pass Morse sending and receivng test at 5 wpm (words per minute) while Grade I / Advanced Grade licence holders should be capable of sending and reveiving Morse code at 12 wpm. Licence holders of Grade II and above can operate HF (High Frequency) sets with which they can communicate with hams all over the world. The high er the grade, the greater are the operating priveleges.
10. How can I prepare for the examination?
The A.S.O.C. Examination has two parts; the first part is a written examination consisting of two sections - (A) Elementrary Electronics & Radio Theory and (B) Radio Rules, Regulations and Operating Practices. The second part is practical test in sending and receiving Morse Code. You canprepare for the examination by self - study, or with the guidance of a ham, or by joining a training session conducted by an amateur radio club or society in you city or town. The examination is not difficult, most people can get through by preparing for about 1-2 hours a day for about 6 to 8 works.
11. What happens after I pass the examination?
If you are declared successful in the examination, your application for a ham licence will be forwarded to the WPC at new Delhi for further processing. They will pass on your personal particulars to the Home Ministry to determine whether details furnished by you are correct (similar to passport verification). If all is satisfactory, an Amateur Wireless Telegraph Station Licence will be issued to you. the whole process may take at lease 6 months.
12. After I get my licence, can I talk to my uncle in the U.S.A.?
To answer this question, you must first understand that communication through radio depends on a number of factors. Assuming your uncle in the U.S.A. is also a ham, both of you must be operating your amateur radio stations in one of the several different modes suited for long distance communication (usually H.F.) Your uncle must be listening on the same frequency which you are calling out to him. Unlike the telephone, ham radio has no "dialling" facility to call a particular person. Ham radio is not meant to replace the telephone, it is intended for you to experiment and communicate to the whole ham community, not just you uncle or aunt etc.'