Amateur Radio is a hobby enjoyed by millions (yes, millions) of people in hundreds (yes, hundreds of countries around the world. Amateur Radio Operators (or Hams as they are sometimes called) are licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In order to obtain a license one must pass a written test for the particular class of license they desire. Hams are awarded privileges based upon the class of license they hold. Rules and regulations governing Amateur Radio Operations are contained in the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 97, Amateur Radio Service. Currently there are three classes of Amateur Radio Licenses being issued: Technician, General, and Amateur Extra Class. In the past two additional classes of licenses were issued: Novice and Advanced Class.
In the United States there is a national association for Amateur Radio. This association is the American Radio Relay League (ARRL). This association has been around since 1914. It is a noncommercial organization of radio amateurs. Although ARRL membership is not mandatory, the benefits are numerous. The ARRL mission is an important one, and the organization is very involved with all matters affecting Amateur Radio.
Many people think of Hams only as individuals who use two-way radios to chat with other Hams. Although many Hams do, in fact, use two-way radios to communicate, they do so much more than just communicate. And though talking with other Hams from just about anywhere in the world, Hams can use other forms of communications besides voice. Hams truly are on the leading edge of technology in may ways. Rather than try to present all the things Hams do for their communities and country, you are encouraged to take a look below (coming soon) at some of the links to see just some of the many areas Hams are involved with. Also please look at the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Hams and Amateur Radio. You will most likely learn things you did not know and may appreciate more what Hams can do to make the world a better place.