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What Is A Ham Radio
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What is A Ham Radio

Is this a ham radio

As amateur radio, or "ham" radio sees a resurgence of popularity we are seeing more and more inexpensive radio equipment coming into the market. Companies like Baofeng, Wouxun and TnT are producing very inexpensive radio gear that has wide transmit and receive capabilities from 130 MHZ all the way up to 580 MHZ in some cases. Even though technically these radios are not ham radios, they can still be used on the ham bands from 144-148 MHZ and 420 - 440 MHZ as well as on the commercial bands.

The radio's that are flooding the market coming out of China are technically commercial radio, and are not ham radios. Yes they can be used on the ham bands legally, but do not expect a lot of the same luxuries that you are used to from ham radio manufactures such as Icom Kenwood and Yaesu. That being said the cheap radios that are hitting the market are completely usable and seeing that most are under $100 dollars US are more than capable of being used. Radios like the Baofeng UV-5RE and Wouxun KG-UVD1p are very inexpensive and cheap ham radio equipment that a newly licensed ham would be able to use as long as he had a computer to program the desired frequencies.

So what IS a ham radio ?

So this brings forth the question of what is a ham radio ? A ham radio is any equipment that is used by a licensed ham that is used on the amateur radio frequencies. Legally a ham radio operator can modify his or her ham radio equipment to be used on the ham bands. You can not take a ham radio that is used exclusively for the ham bands and use it for other radio services or frequencies though.

The whole concept of ham radio has always been to promote new technologies and to learn how to work on radio related equipment. Not in a professional fashion since we can not accept payment for working on radio gear, but to learn and advance the hobby. It is perfectly acceptable for a ham radio operator to take the cover off of a radio and modify or fix it it as needed to work on the ham radio bands.

what about all the radio equipment that is being marketed as ham radio gear.

As radio gains popularity among the preppers and survivalist groups we are seeing radio gear that is being marketed as ham radio gear that truly is not actually intended for that purpose. Radio manufactures such as Galaxy and RCI are selling radio equipment under the ham radio flag that really is not intended for amateur radio use, but aimed more at the illegal CB (Citizens Band) operators. These radios are easy to spot as most ham radio equipment does not come with a channel selector. They are easily modified by the end user and can then be used on any frequency from 24 MHZ all the way up into the ten meter ham band in the 28 to 29 MHZ range, as well as everything in between. This sort of radio also puts out more power than what is legal on CB and can get you into trouble if you are caught by the Federal Communications Commission (F.C.C). These radios also do not put out as clean of a signal as amateur radio gear so are frowned upon even in the ham bands although they are usable. You can always tell when someone is using an illegal export 10 meter radio by the crummy distorted sounding audio.

The bottom line is, that a ham radio is any radio used by a amateur radio operator in the ham radio bands whether it be a hello kitty FRS radio modified for UHF ham radio use or an export 10M radio used by an amateur radio operator.

Whether you buy and inexpensive Wouxun KG-UVD1p or the equally inexpensive Baofeng UV-5RE cheap ham radio equipment is easy to find for the newly licensed ham radio operator.


Street Talk

I am exactly the same way. I usually have several radios going including a police scanner while I work on another radio. Glad you enjoyed the article William, hope to catch you on the airwaves someday.

Reply
  about 9 years ago
William6  

Thanks for sharing. I am one of those people who like the days of sitting in a room chocked full of equipment, maps of the world on the wall, a battered book of radio freqs from around the world hanging just within arm's reach stuck on a string that is stuck too the wall and maybe a transistor radio close that might pick up one local radio station...just for the weather reports. But that's just me. Good article, Don.

Reply
  about 9 years ago
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