HF RadioRadio amateurs, sometimes known as "Radio Hams", are qualified radio operators of all ages who operate their own radio transmitters at home or almost anywhere. You can communicate with other radio amateurs across town, across the country or even across the world, without any telephone bills. You can transmit messages using speech, computer text, amateur television or Morse code.

Amateur radio offers far more scope for long distance communication with fewer restrictions.

Radio amateurs are allowed to transmit on many different wave bands and some of these allow world-wide communication. Radio amateurs can transmit speech and various other types of signal. Radio amateurs use the unique "call sign" issued with their licence.

Radio amateurs can transmit up to 400 watts with any type of aerial. Radio amateurs can either buy a transmitter, construct their own or modify one made for another purpose providing they have the appropriate license.

Radio amateurs can use mobile or hand-held portable transmitters to access a network of "repeaters" which receive the amateur's signal and re-transmit it at higher power to extend the range. There are even satellites that receive and re-transmit amateur radio signals.

Is amateur radio a technical hobby?

You need some technical knowledge to pass an exam to get an amateur licence but after that, you may be more interested in the operating side of the hobby and meeting people "on the air", both in Britain and abroad.

If you are interested in the technical side, amateur radio offers a lot of scope for electronic construction projects. You can construct all sorts of radio or electronic equipment such as aerials, simple electronic circuits or even a complete transmitter and receiver.