Amateur or “Ham” Radio is a popular hobby and service in which licensed Amateur Radio operators (hams) operate communications equipment. Although Amateur Radio operators get involved for many reasons, they all have in common a basic knowledge of radio technology and operating principles, and pass an examination for the FCC license to operate on radio frequencies known as the “Amateur Bands.” These bands are radio frequencies reserved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for use by ham radio operators.
Amateur Radio has many aspects. One can explore electronics, antenna design, software, digital communications, emergency preparedness, satellites, weather-spotting, competitive operating, world-wide “DX-ing”, or just use ham radio as a powerful communications tool, especially when widespread disasters strike. Emergency responding agencies depend on their communications network when all else has failed.
The Barnstable Amateur Radio Club is an active group with activities throughout the year. They participate in the American Radio Relay League field day, the Boy Scouts of America’s Jamboree-on-the-Air, and Amateur Radio Direction Finding, which is a racing sport that combines radio direction finding with the map and compass skills of orienteering. It is a timed race in which individual competitors use a topographic map, a magnetic compass and radio direction finding apparatus to navigate through diverse wooded terrain while searching for radio transmitters.
Feel free to stop by on Saturday and say hello to the hams. They’ll be the guys with the antenna!