In almost all countries, governments allocate portions of the radio spectrum for non-commercial use by the citizenry after individuals demonstrate the ability to use the spectrum properly. The regulations of most countries around the world provide for this opportunity through Amateur Radio. In the United States, Amateur Radio regulations are administered by the Federal Communications Commission, the same branch of government that oversees the licensing of broadcast stations and other users of the radio spectrum. Unlike most other users, Radio Amateurs, sometimes called “Hams”, are authorized only for non-commercial use of their frequencies and equipment.
Hundreds of thousands of ordinary people of all ages and from all walks of life and all educational backgrounds have obtained their Ham licenses. Their main interests in radio may be technical, recreational, social or educational. Some are “on the air” every day, some operate only occasionally, and still others are inactive.
Amateur radio is different from other popular services, such as Citizens Band, Family Radio Service and General Mobile Radio Service. To become a Ham, one must pass the required examination on electronic theory, operating practices and governing regulations. But the extra effort to get a license results in much more expansive privileges than those available to CB, FRS or GMRS. Higher power limits, specialized antennas, a variety of operating modes (voice, digital, video, etc.) and a vast array of assigned frequencies ranging from short wave through microwave give Radio Amateurs unparalleled flexibility in communicating.
What is an Amateur Radio Operator?
An amateur radio operator is an individual who typically uses equipment at an station to engage in two-way personal communications with other similar individuals, on radio frequencies assigned to the amateur radio service by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States and the International Telecommunication Union worldwide.
Amateur radio operators build and operate several types of amateur radio stations, including fixed ground stations, mobile stations, space stations and temporary field stations. A slang term often used for an amateur station’s location is the “shack,” named after the small enclosures added to the upper works of naval ships to hold early radio equipment and batteries.
American amateur radio operators are granted an amateur radio license by the FCC upon passing an examination on radio theory and operation. As a component of their license, amateur radio operators are assigned a call sign (such as WN6QJN) that they use to identify themselves during communications. There are about 3 million amateur radio operators worldwide, including more than 700,000 licensed operators in the United States alone.
What is a Ham?
Amateur radio operators are also known as radio amateurs or hams. The term “ham” as a pejorative nickname for amateur radio operators was first heard in 1909 by operators in commercial and professional radio communities. The word was subsequently embraced by the operators, and stuck. However, the term did not gain widespread usage in the United States until around 1920, after which it slowly spread to other English-speaking countries.
Today, radio amateurs are exploring voice and data communications in ever higher frequencies allocated for experimentation and exploration – extending all the way to 275 gigahertz (GHz) and even beyond, nearly to the spectrum of light. Amateur radio operators volunteer countless hours of community service in providing emergency communications during natural and man-made disasters, as well as public service communications in support of special events such as marathons, bike races, and public events. Many are trained as severe weather spotters by the National Weather Service (NWS) and provide “ground truth,” by mobile radio, to forecasters and emergency management agencies in support of public safety.
Where is the closest club?
The Hot Springs Amateur Radio Club (HSARC) is located in Hot Springs South Dakota. We hold regular meetings on the second Tuesday of each month at 6:30 pm.
The meetings are open to the public and you do not have to be a licensed ham to participate.
The clubhouse is located east of the Hot Springs Public Library at the corner of 11th St and Catholican Ave….just look for the little building with all the antennas.
To comply with CDC recommendations during the COVID-19 pandemic, the meetings have been moved to the South Annex building located at 709 Jensen Highway.
The HSARC is a American Radio Relay League (ARRL) affiliated club, and has been since March 1962. The club callsign is KØHS.
HSARC owns and maintains two 2 meter repeaters. One is located on Battle Mountain on 146.700 MHz with a PL tone of 146.2 and the other is located on Mt. Coolidge on 147.120 MHz with a PL Tone of 146.2.
Where can I learn more about the hobby, get the training materials or take the license test?
HSARC is equipped with a VE (Volunteer Examiner) team. We hold 4 scheduled Test Sessions each year. We can also do unscheduled test sessions as needed. ARRL Registered Instructors are available to teach each of the 3 license classes. Classes are held when needed.
Send correspondence to:
Hot Springs Amateur Radio Club
P.O. Box 501
Hot Springs SD 57747
We would be happy to answer any questions you may have. You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org