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Mobile phones and the Internet now of course present enormous competition to Amateur Radio, with their greater ease of communication. But once the Amateur Radio equipment has been bought, you can freely stay 'on air' for unlimited time, and it provides a far greater challenge to both young and old to make contacts over long distance communication, due to problems of atmospheric interference, and overcrowding of the Amateur bands at times. Contacting someone many miles this way is something to be proud of, and is why a system of sending post cards confirming contacts was involved many years ago, known as QSL cards. To make clear local contacts using VHF such as AR Repeaters similar to those needed by mobile phones can be done with hand held transceivers costing less than a smart phone. Training for any of the 3 stages of the Amateur Radio Transmitting license can be found at HERE You will see it is not even necessary to visit such as a Club to train for the exam if using an emails, though you may have to travel to take the exam at an authorised location.

The Internet has virtually no controls, apart for the possible threat of civil actions such as libel, and infringement of copyright, whereas use of the airwaves is strictly controlled in every country throughout the world. This especially applies in countries whose governments impose severe restrictions on freedom of speech. Likewise Special licenses are granted by the relevant authorities, for use of the airwaves to such as the Public Services, Radio and TV stations, Taxis and Buses etc. In most countries special ones are also granted to members of the public for personal use, subject to various conditions. In this country personal use primarily fall into two main categories, such as the use of the 27 Megacycles Citizens Band, and a variety of licenses for Amateur Radio. There are restrictions in place for both of these categories. In general one should not interfere with other users, advertise, use foul language, cause offence by discussing Politics or Religion, or pass on third part messages that would compete with other services such as the telephone, etc. Although all mobile phones also use the air waves to transmit radio etc signals, it is not of course necessary to obtain a transmitting license or call sign, but it is of course still possible to identify you from your transmissions.

Radio Amateurs are also obliged to study the principles of Radio Propagation, and regulations relating to the relevant license, and pass a practical test which used to include Morse, and even building a small project, depending on the type of license. By International agreement, most countries such as ours, have now abandoned the need to pass a Morse test, although some Amateurs still use Morse because of its ability to be understood, even through considerable atmospheric interference. Many regular users of text with mobiles phones are not aware Morse can be sent much faster up to 25 words or higher per minute. Radio Amateurs are also bound by rules, where they must periodically identify themselves with an individual Call sign, which in the UK is proceeded by 2E or G or M such as G2LL, G1HHH, G6HH allocated to our Hastings Electronics and Radio Club. No such call signs are issued to anyone using the Citizens Band, nor are they expected to identify themselves, hence the nicknames used by long distance 'truckers' in the USA. CB operators do not need to pass any form of test to qualify for a license, but are restricted to the use of the 27 Mhz and another band. Radio Amateurs can use a wide range of frequencies for all sorts of purposes like Amateur TV and Data etc.

Sometimes known as HAMS, here in the UK they can train for three different licenses in stages. The initial entry is by the Foundation License allowing use of a maximum of 10 watts transmitting Power, then the Intermediate stage of 40 watts, finally the full one allowing 400 Watts. With a full licence you are allowed to invite anyone to use your transmitter such as for training, but only under your supervision, such as you giving your call sign. Successful candidates are now allocated a M or 2E call sign and permitted to operate on a number HF, VHF and UHF bands. This includes the use of VHF / UHF repeaters providing clear contacts for a larger area, when located at a high point, similar to thousands used for mobile phones. The difficulties of making contacts termed QSOs, especially over long distance termed DX, on the Short Waves termed HF, can be largely overcome for at least local contacts by using VHF by the use of the HAM repeaters. Recordings of contacts I have made using HAM repeaters interlinked all over the world using Echolink similar to using Skype can be heard at HERE      Gordon Sweet M3YXH

Visit RAYNET Radio Amateurs UK Emergency Network and a Harmless form of HAMs foxhunting

Listen in to many of our local repeaters all at once while at your PC.
Choose one if more than one should come on at the same time.


There are PHOTOS from Hastings Electronics and Radio Club at HERE      More photos,Videos etc from the past HERE

Reports from other clubs and Notices HERE

HOMEPAGE    Comments and suggestions always welcome