WHAT IS AMATEUR (HAM) RADIO?
Have you walked or driven passed a house and seen something unusual…A large tower structure with a large antenna on or maybe a satellite dish which is clearly to large to be a DSTV dish, or maybe even simple wire structures hanging over the roof and wonder what that was all about?
It is most likely that you have just passed the home of a Radio Ham!
Amateur Radio all started with a Morse key many years ago but has developed not only into the finest hobby keeping up with technology but also keeping up with the needs of the community at large.
On 11 September 2001, The World Trade Centre in
Radio Hams belonging to the various emergency organizations within their own ranks came out and helped, ensuring good communications to all those services in need.
December 2005 saw a Tsunami hit
Amateurs know how to setup communication systems that work. They know how to get the best communications without complicating things. These are guys who in every other realm would be known as professionals. They however don’t get paid and do it for the love of radio.
Ham radio is however not all work and no play.
Have you ever wondered how times appear on the results boards so quickly at the finish point of a motor Rally event when the cars have not even arrived yet…..yes you guessed it….Radio Hams are looking after the communication, stationed at all the check points, as well as handling all the needs for communication in the event of an emergency.
Amateur radio is a multifaceted hobby as can be seen from the above and communication developed by the hobby has become so varied there is something for everyone.
From talking on earth based repeater systems using the simplest of Handheld Transceivers (Walkie talkies) to Communicating through Satellites to people on the other side of the world or on board a space ship. Yes NASA always has Ham radio equipment onboard!
The modes available include the Morse code, Voice Communication in various forms and Data Communication in various forms allowing integration of radio equipment with your computer.
The lure of making contact with a far off distant country or making new friends from all over the world gets taken to a far deeper level as it is happens first hand and in person with the use of radio equipment.
Children of all ages (10 to100) are joining the ranks of Hams everyday. Life skills are developed as kids learn to interact with other kids as well as adults in a respectful manner and are listened to themselves, something a child values. Concentration skills and the enquiring mind certainly is catered for.
Are you interested in computers, Radio, Satellites, electronics?
Now you are really interested! You would like to go out and buy equipment and start burning up the airwaves, with your wife and kids in tow. Not so fast!!!
You have to be licensed by ICASA. ICASA is the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa.
You will have to pass a short written test to evaluate your knowledge of radio equipment and pass a simple operators test to make sure you know how everything works and you have to be at least 10 Years old. These tests are administered by The South Africa Radio League.
You do not have to pass a Morse code test!!!
Still Sounds difficult ….Not really!
The Port Elizabeth Amateur Radio Society continues to provide classes for aspiring Radio Hams and the exams take place every 3 months for Restricted Class B Licenses …write this and pass and you will have a ZU callsign…Class A exams take place twice a year, pass this one and you’re a ZR….and then ultimately you can upgrade to ZS in various ways. The ZS license in Amateur Radio terms is what every ham aspires too.
So if this is the hobby for you contact us as follows:
Phone anyone on the list of PEARS committee members and we will help you get started!!
Come and join us on the Airwaves, Surf the Skies and find new Friends!
Amateur Radio is the only FAILSAFE communication in the World... and that's the way it is!
Regards & 73
Donovan Van Loggerenberg ZS2DL