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Although I have not been very active lately, I am an Amateur Extra Class operator in the Amateur Radio Service (aka Ham Radio), call sign N1TY ("November One Tango Yankee").

Many people are mistaken about what Ham Radio is. Some think it's CB Radio... people chatting with truckers and saying "10-4". Others think it's amateur broadcast radio, like a college rock station. Some know more, and think it's people sending Morse Code over short-wave radio (which it can be!) and are uninterested because they don't want to learn Morse (but you don't have to!)

What is Ham Radio? Well, it's a lot of things:

Ham radio is also a launchpad for many other hobbies and interests:

  • Astronomy (tracking satellites, investigating solar flare activity and its effect on the ionosphere, which in turns affects HF radio)
  • Electronics (build your own radios and gear)
  • Physics (investigate how antennas work)
  • Foreign cultures and languages (talk with people all over the world)
  • Geography (where the heck is Bongao?)
  • Stamp collecting (amateurs often confirm radio contacts by mail with "QSL Cards"... a great way to collect stamps from all over!)
  • Computers (write software to assist with antenna design, digital communications, satellite tracking, ...)

The great thing is you get to pick any or all of these things that interest you. Ham Radio is also easy to get into. The entry level Technician Class License test is very easy, available all over, does not require you to study Morse Code, and will probably cost you less than $50 including study materials, license fee, and gas to get to the test. Find out more!