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Originally provided by: William Becher, AA8RW

Last updated:

Why become a ham radio operator?

Below is a list of a few of the many advantages of becoming one of a select group of amateur radio hobbyists (or "Hams" as they are usually called):

  1. Enjoyable activities - There is an almost endless variety of things to do, something to trigger the interest of even the most discriminating person
    • Contests
      • DXCC - Contact 100 countries or more
      • WAS - Work all states - Contact every state in the US
      • DXing - Make distant contacts
      • Field Day - Set up communications in the field
      • Fox hunting - Locate hidden transmitters
    • Public Service
      • Help people in distress
      • Provide communications during disasters
      • Radio Amateur Communication Emergency Service (RACES) - Assist local emergency agencies
      • Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) - Provide emergency communications
      • Skywarn - Report severe weather conditions
    • Various forms of Communication
      • Satellite - Utilize satellites for long distance communications
      • Digital - Use digital techniques including computers for effective communications
      • Television - Send and receive pictures
      • GPS - Locate geographical positions of transmitters and receivers
      • Morse Code - Communicate when other modes fail or where simplicity is desired
  2. Build things - Although much commercial ham equipment is available for purchase there always exists the opportunity to build specialized equipment
    • Radio receivers and transmitters
    • Television equipment
    • Test equipment
    • Antenna tuners
    • Antennas
    • Computer controls and interfaces
    • And even amateur radio satellites (AMSAT)
  3. Career networking - Hams serve as mentors, help find employment and even award scholarships (e.g., look at FAR or ARRL.) You'll find Hams employed in all types of organizations:
    • Industry
    • Research
    • Education
  4. Lifelong friendships - Hams are constantly meeting new friends as they communicate with other hams from around the world. They can be
    • Young or old
    • Male or female
    • In school
    • Employed
    • Retired
  5. Foreign languages - What better way to brush up on or learn a foreign language than talking with people in other countries
    • South America
    • Mexico
    • France
    • Russia
    • Japan
    • Germany
  6. Knowledge - It's a great way to educate oneself. It's a hobby that fosters learning. To name just a few
    • Radio propagation
    • Electrical and electronic principles
    • Digital communications
    • Geography, earth and space science
    • Communication skills
  7. UMARC Membership - Provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to receive
    • Hands-on access to equipment
      • HF/VHF/UHF Transceivers
      • Vertical, Yagi, rotary, discone, etc. antennas
      • PSK-31, Echolink, CW, etc., digital modes
      • Satellite transceiver systems
      • Data loggers
      • Complex test equipment
      • And the list keeps growing
    • Training on
      • All UMARC equipment
      • The various modes of operation
      • Contest and special events
      • How to construct electronic equipment & antennas
    • Opportunity to learn from
      • Interesting Club meetings
      • Membership informal discussion groups
      • Participation in Club activities
    • As well as great fellowship and camaraderie among Club members

O.K. So what are you waiting for? DO IT TODAY! Become an amateur radio operator in the next few weeks. It's much easier than you might think--in fact it's a snap! Simply take a simple 15-30 minute multiple-choice Technician test and, presto, you're a Ham! And there is no Morse code testing required anymore, so don't let fear of learning code hold you back!

And while you're at it, join UMARC.

Turn to the "How do I" page now to see how simple it is.

Go Blue!

73 de W8UM

Last updated: 6/16/10

Want more details?



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Ham Radio Clubs

University (UMARC)
Ann Arbor (ARROW)
National (ARRL)