Amateur Radio Handheld

September 23, 2016
Amateur radio handheld hf

Jon Platt, WØZQ, shows off his microwave “handheld” station - a complete transmitter and receiver package with the horn antenna built right in. With this simple station, Jon has made contacts hundreds of kilometers away by bouncing signals off of rain showers and other weather-related structures, such as temperature inversion layers. (Photo by Bruce Richardson, W9FZ, and provided courtesy of the ARRL)You may have heard about amateur or “ham” radio from a friend or maybe one of the members in your Makerspace is a ham. What is ham radio and what does it offer you?

First, you’re a Maker, so you already have a lot in common with the ham radio community. Hams are tinkerers, builders, fixers, and inventors by nature.Portable operation can be a lot of fun and doesn't take a big station. Sean Kutzko, KX9X, is using a handheld radio and a small beam antenna to make contacts via an amateur radio satellite while he is on vacation in Puerto Rico. (Photo by Ward Silver, NØAX) Opening the box (or building your own box) is not only allowed, it’s encouraged! Of the many radio services out there — from commercial broadcasting to CB to public safety — amateur radio is the only one in which equipment can be homemade and tuned to any frequency or channel that hams have access to. Flexibility, experimentation, and hacking are a way of life with hams.

Ham radio has many facets — it’s actually 1000 hobbies in one.Gonzalo Jara, XE3N, used his HF/VHF transceiver (transmitter/receiver combo) and a simple wire delta loop antenna just 6 meters above the ground to make more than 350 contacts from the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. (Photo by Gonzalo Jara, XE3N, and provided courtesy of the ARRL) You can dive deeply into electronics, antennas, digital communications, public service, competitive operating, solar and geophysics science, world-wide “DX-ing, ” or just use ham radio as a personal communications tool. Some hams focus on just one or a few topics while others try to experience it all. As a Maker, you are probably most interested in the electronics, but once you start digging in, you never know where it might lead or where you can apply your skills.

But what is ham radio really? Hams have access to the radio equivalent of national parks in which commercial activity is banned and only non-commercial operators (the “amateurs”) get to visit. Some of the parks or bands (frequency ranges reserved for hams) are the traditional “short-wave” bands you might think of when you imagine ham radio. Those bands have lots of activity, with hams making thousands of contacts worldwide every single day, sometimes with nothing more than a few watts of power and antennas made of wire. Other bands are best suited for local and regional communication around town and performing public service. Our bands go all the way to microwaves.

Anna Veal, WØANT, is busy coaching future hams Matthew Harris (left) and Jasper Smith (right).  They were competing in one of the many ham radio contests - ARRL November Sweepstakes - from the Douglas County, Coloradio STEM School and Academy club station whose call sign is ABØBX. (Photo by Byron Veal, NØAH and provided courtesy of the ARRL) 2014 HRLM Cover 3D NEW REVISED - SEPTEMBER 9781118592113 cover.indd DX Maps
Source: makezine.com
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