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What is Amateur Radio?

What is Amateur Radio?

I've been a Qualified Radio Technician since 1983 and a Radio Amateur since 1994.

My current employment allowed me lots of time on the road and thus, time on the air. A lot of listeners and existing radio amateurs ask the question; Why should I become an amateur? Or make the statement, 'I don't know why I've joined the hobby'.

So, what IS amateur radio?? In conversation a while ago, where the ARRL Handbook was also under discussion, I came to the realization that NOBODY'S experience with amateur radio would and/or could be the same! It DOESN'T read like a book (my reference to the handbook), from front to back. It is a strange 'book'; every 'reader' has a different 'index'; you also see 'advertisements' for some parts of it, but when you start 'reading', what you get is not what is 'advertised'!!! This 'book' has many 'chapters' and you can 'read' any, many or one of the 'chapters', in no set order.

I suspect the disillusionment comes when you don't experience the hobby the same as the first impression, which piqued your interest. Another bad habit we have, is forcing people to 'read' our book. A lot of people are coerced into the hobby and then fade away due to lack of interest. Quality before quantity!!

Amateur radio is a 'group sport'; there is very little you can do on your own!! It is about communication first and the furtherance thereof an equal second. Whether you are into QRP (low power) or mega power and antennae arrays, antennae building, packet radio, SSTV, APRS, Digital Modes, EME, DX hunting, homebrewing, or Ragchewing, or all of the above, we all participate at our own level and can actually compete 'above' our own level! It can be affordable and also break the bank.

To sum it all up: Amateur Radio is a comprehensive, thick volume, with most pages stuck together. Some of us will only read one 'chapter', some a bit more, some a lot more and I doubt if anybody will ever be able to 'read' the whole 'book' properly! It is also a continually updated 'book'. It reads well from start to finish, the trick is to loosen more pages in between, which will fill in the blanks, create more blanks and start the vicious circle of stimulating the enquiring mind!!!!!

Author: - D.J. Conradie (Kobus) ©