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March 15 2015


What is Ham Radio & How Does it Work?

Ham radio (so called because its operators were originally derided as being ‘hammy’ in the 19th century, when the technology first emerged) is a term that applies to any form of amateur radio broadcasting.

There are designated radio frequency spectra available solely for public use. Uses range from recreation to communication and the non-commercial exchange of ideas. ‘Hams’ take advantage of these frequencies in order to transmit any number of things

Strictly speaking, there should not be any money involved in amateur radio (hence the term ‘amateur’). Although themajority of Ham radio practitioners are actually extremely knowledgeable about radio technology (don’t let the ‘ham’ part fool you), they are not considered professionals because they do not profit from their endeavours. Conversely, commercial broadcasting involves (a lot of) money: royalties are paid, producers and performers are paid and the whole thing is ultimately a commercial exercise.

Hams use a large amount of frequency bands from all across the radio spectrum, but the majority of frequencies are to be found just above the AM band.

A lot of hams, however, use VHF FM, operating hand-held transceivers that send on one frequency and receive on another. Local radio clubs set up FM Repeaters (which borrow space from other broadcast devices such as towers and, in doing so, amplify the radio signal’s strength hundreds of times over), so that hams can communicate with each other wirelessly over a distance of hundreds of miles.

As an example of what hams get up to, here’s an excerpt from Gary Brown, of How Stuff Works.com

“Although a ham radio does broadcast in all directions, hams generally do not use their radios in a broadcast kind of way as a disk jockey would at a radio station. In normal AM or FM radio, one disk jockey transmits and thousands of people listen. Hams, on the other hand, conduct two-way conversations, often with another ham or with a group of hams in an informal roundtable. The roundtable of hams may be in the same town, county, state, country or continent or may consist of a mix of countries, depending on the frequency and the time of the day. Hams also participate in networks, often called nets, at predetermined times and frequencies to exchange third-party messages. In the case of disasters, hams exchange health and welfare information with other hams”.

To become a ham, I recommend that you join a club. You’ll need an amateur radio license, of course, but this won’t break the bank, I’m sure.

I hope that helps, Melissa.

Tags: Ham Radio

February 12 2015


What Does Two Way Radio Mean?

A two way radio is one that can transmit and receive. It is also called a transceiver. The two way radio definition encompasses most of the wireless or cellular systems. Portable devices which use the two way radio system are called walkie talkies or handie-talkies. The transmitter on a two way radio device is turned on by pressing a push-to-talk button. Pushing this button sets you free to start talking through the device. There is normally another person on the other end of the conversation, or a group of people who have devices which use the two way radio system.

The 2 way radio technology is one of the earliest wireless network technologies. Despite the fact that there are countless other ways of wireless communication due to innovation, the two way radio system is still viable and used by people to widen their communication range.

It is mainly used due to the following two main advantaged:

Communication is Instant

The two way radio system enables instant communication. Within a fraction of a second after pushing the push-to-talk button, you would be able to pass on your messages . This has been made possible by a quick call set-up time integrated in this technology. The reliance of organizations on the two way radio system is founded on the fact that the device enables instant communication.

Group Communication is Possible With This Technology

This is a distinct feature of the two way radio technology. The capability of this system to create a scenario where a whole group communicates even from distances apart is also called “group call”. It is very efficient in that one caller is able to convey a message to up to thousands of other users at the same time. Not one user receives his/ her message later than the others in a group call. The conveyor of the message does not need to repeat himself/ herself so that the message is heard by everyone in the group communicating. Very little radio frequency channel resources are used during the group communication, meaning that it is not a way that utilizes so much of an organization’s resources.

Benefits of a Two Way Radio System of Communication

All wireless technology systems of communication have their advantages and disadvantages. Organizations or groups have their preferences in regards to how they conduct their day-to-day businesses.

A two way radio system of communication is superior to other systems of wireless communication due to the following key reasons:

• It is suitable for people who are mobile hence are rarely together to carry out their duties and responsibilities close to each other.

• It is suitable for communicating among a group of people.

• Communication using the two way radio system is instant.

The aspect of a two way radio system of instant communication enables emergencies to be handled pretty fast. A situation that requires urgent attention can be attended to as fast as possible. A cellular phone would be a great option for communication of emergencies, just that, they take time as the person on the other end of the call has got to receive first so that the message is conveyed. The few seconds or possibly even a minute as the phone rings could create an avenue for the situation to worsen. A two way radio system only requires you to push a button and then convey the message straight-up, as long as the radio frequency channels are available. In the event of congestion on the radio frequency channels, the two way radio system is designed to overcome this and create a priority in the event of an emergency. This feature is not available to other technologies of the wireless system.


What Does Two Way Radio Mean, The two way radio system is very efficient and economical. Making phonecalls to more than 5 members of a particular group would be pretty expensive as compared to conveying messages through a two way radio system. It would also take time to call one member after the other, a situation that would not arise with the two way radio technology.

Tags: Two Way Radio
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