What Is Amateur Radio?


1. Amateur Radio is a technical hobby that allows participants to initially listen to other amateur radio operators talking to each other ‘over the air’ by radio on the many allocated frequency bands and, once licensed, to also transmit on those bands. It is open and free to anyone to join in and participants may, subject to their license grade, construct and test their own radio equipment to use on the air.

Communications can take place direct or via repeater, satellite, the International Space Station, meteor scatter, aurora and moon bounce. There are also Internet access points linked to VHF transceivers to communicate across the world.

There are many national and international competitions available for entry by both listeners and licensed amateurs.

There are many local radio clubs and the national society in the UK is the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) whose website is here.

Available amateur bands giving many types of communications include:

2. In the UK there are three grades of transmitting license - Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced with terms and conditions defined in the license document. Each grade requires attendance on a training course (provided by most radio clubs) which includes learning the appropriate technical and operating details, completing a series of practical exercises (suspended during the Covid-19 pandemic until face to face club meetings resume) and taking and passing an online examination. Licence holders are assigned a callsign which includes a country prefix and is unique across the world. The entire process is managed by the RSGB on behalf of Ofcom.

Modes of operation include:

3. There is a wide range of new and second hand ready built radio equipment plus a range of self build kits available to suit most budgets.

This is an exciting and challenging hobby that can also lead to a career in electronics.