Amateur Radio (Ham Radio)

History: This class of radio service was created to encourage experimentation with radios. The number of aspects of this hobby have grown to include, “purposes of non-commercial exchange of messages, wireless experimentation, self-training, private recreation, radiosport, contesting, and emergency communication.”

Availability: Not as common as FRS radios and can be much more expensive. Radios are available at local/online radio shops, ham club events, and at Amazon/EBay.

License Needed: Yes. Free for 10 year license. $15 for test administrative fee.

Use: Personal Only. Cannot be used for any pecuniary interest (this is one of the test questions!)

Range: VHF/UHF handhelds 2-4 miles, mobiles 4-10 miles, repeaters 50-70 miles; HF radios signals can travel around the world

Equipment needed: Can build or buy any radio that transmits on amateur frequencies in your ITU region. This falls in FCC Part 97 Regulations.

Antenna: Detached. Can be a small Handheld Radio antenna to a wire antenna bigger than a football field.

Output: Up to 1500 Watts. But practice dictates that you use the lowest power you need to reach your contact.

Modulation: Any. You are encouraged to experiment and even create new forms of modulation.

Frequencies: Amateur frequencies allowed in your world region. The United States is in ITU Region 2 with multiple frequency bands. (Printable Version)

160 Meters1.8 to 2 MHz
80 Meters3.5 to 4 MHz
60 Meters USB Voice - 5.332, 5.348, 5.368, 5.373, 5.405 MHz
40 Meters7 - 7.3 MHz
30 Meters10.1 to 10.15 MHz
20 Meters14 to 14.35 MHz
17 Meters18.068 to 18.168 MHz
15 Meters21 to 21.45 MHz
12 Meters24.89 to 24.99 MHz
10 Meters28 to 29.7 MHz
6 Meters50 to 54 MHz
2 Meters144 to 148 MHz
1.25 Meters219 to 220 AND 222 to 225 MHz
70 Centimeters420 to 450 MHz
33 Centimeters902 to 928 MHz
23 Centimeters1.24 to 1.3 GHz
13 Centimeters2.3 to 2.31 GHz AND 2.39 to 2.45 GHz
9 Centimeters3.3 to 3.5 GHz
5 Centimeters5.65 to 5.925 GHz
3 Centimeters10 to 10.5 GHz
1.2 Centimeters24 to 24.25 GHz
6 Millimeters47 to 47.2 GHz
4 Millimeters75.5 to 81 GHz
2.5 Millimeters119.98 to 120.02 GHz
2 Millimeters142 to 149 GHz
1 Millimeter241 to 250 GHz