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 Amateur radio (also known as 'Ham Radio') is a hobby that enables participants to experiment with and learn about the use of  radios and radio communication to communicate with other radio amateurs around the world. It uses a variety of designated radio frequencies for the exchange of messages, wireless experimentation, self-training, and emergency communications although we use very different frequencies to most of the emergency services. Within these frequency bands operators are allowed to transmit on any frequency using a variety of voice, text, image, and data communications modes. This enables communication across a town, a city, a country, a continent, the world, or even into space. In many countries, amateur radio operators may also send, receive, or relay radio communications between computers or transceivers connected to secure virtual private networks on the Internet.

Being the original 'Social network', amateur radio operators come from all walks of life and it is not unusual for you to be communicating with Kings, pop and film stars and public figures as well as people on their way to work, on lunch break or retired. There is even a system called ARIS (Amateur radio in space) that allows communication with the crew of the International Space Station.

There are many reasons to become a radio operator, you may enjoy making contact with people all over the world which often leads to developing international friendships, it may be to take part in competitions to test how effective your equipment is, and how good you are as an operator or it may be to become a member of RAYNET which provide communications either in times of emergencies or simply to provide assistance to many hundreds of events each year.

There is no better way to explore the fascinating world of radio communications than by becoming a radio amateur.

The backdrop to this page is the station GB3RS at the RSGB's National Radio Centre, the station is based at Bletchley park. Details of how to visit can be found in the links page. Thanks to them for the kind permission to use the image.

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