Amateur radio (also known as ham radio) is a hobby practiced by many engineers and radio communications enthusiasts since the early 20th century. Radio operators are licensed by national telecommunications regulatory bodies like the United States FCC to operate under specific rules in specially-allocated portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. The amateur radio service is used by operators worldwide for recreational, emergency, and other non-profit communications, using a variety of transmissions modes for Morse code, voice, video, and data. Many of spectrum allocations are available to ham operators anywhere in the world, allowing communication directly between distant countries or even through orbiting satellites.
Over the decades, the hobby has evolved from continuous wave Morse code communication between fixed stations to include everything from VHF FM repeaters accessed through mobile or handheld radios to digital GPS tracking and weather reporting systems and amateur television broadcasting. In most countries, licenses are available free of charge to anyone who passes an exam demonstrating basic understanding of radio operating procedures and electronics design. Operators are served by a large number of clubs and advocacy groups, and a broad range of equipment is available from manufacturers and retailers specializing in products for amateur radio.
- 26 Apr 2011