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 Meters||1.8 to 2 MHz|
|80 Meters||3.5 to 4 MHz|
|60 Meters||USB Voice - 5.332, 5.348, 5.368, 5.373, 5.405 MHz|
|40 Meters||7 - 7.3 MHz|
|30 Meters||10.1 to 10.15 MHz|
|20 Meters||14 to 14.35 MHz|
|17 Meters||18.068 to 18.168 MHz|
|15 Meters||21 to 21.45 MHz|
|12 Meters||24.89 to 24.99 MHz|
|10 Meters||28 to 29.7 MHz|
|6 Meters||50 to 54 MHz|
|2 Meters||144 to 148 MHz|
|1.25 Meters||219 to 220 AND 222 to 225 MHz|
|70 Centimeters||420 to 450 MHz|
|33 Centimeters||902 to 928 MHz|
|23 Centimeters||1.24 to 1.3 GHz|
|13 Centimeters||2.3 to 2.31 GHz AND 2.39 to 2.45 GHz|
|9 Centimeters||3.3 to 3.5 GHz|
|5 Centimeters||5.65 to 5.925 GHz|
|3 Centimeters||10 to 10.5 GHz|
|1.2 Centimeters||24 to 24.25 GHz|
|6 Millimeters||47 to 47.2 GHz|
|4 Millimeters||75.5 to 81 GHz|
|2.5 Millimeters||119.98 to 120.02 GHz|
|2 Millimeters||142 to 149 GHz|
|1 Millimeter||241 to 250 GHz|