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What is amateur radio?
Amateur rado is popular technical hobby and volunteer public service that uses designated radio frequencies for non-commercial exchange of messages, wireless experimentation, self-training, and emergency communications.
Amateur Radio is the only hobby governed by an international treaty.
As a radio amateur you are able to transmit radio signals on a number of frequency bands allocated specifically to the radio amateurs.
Radio amateurs make use of their frequencies in a number of ways:
Contacting people all over the world by radio which often leads to developing international friendships.
Competing in international competitions to test how effective your equipment is, and how good you are as an operator.
Technical experimentation — many of the leaps forward in radio technology have been initiated by radio amateurs.
Communication through amateur space satellites or with the International Space Station (which carries an amateur radio station)
Providing communications at times of emergencies and undertaking exercises to ensure you keep the capability to do so.
There is no better way to explore the fascinating world of radio communications than by becoming a radio amateur.
What can I do with Amateur Radio?
Whilst the Internet has brought us instant world-wide email, VOIP and video communication, it is tied to an infrastructure of enormous proportions.
With Amateur Radio, you are communicating directly, “point-to-point” with no intermediate infrastructure. You are also communicating with people in their cars, on ships, on remote islands, and in under-developed parts of the world. But perhaps more importantly, Amateur Radio is not just about communicating — it’s about exploring the technology that makes radio communication work — the electronics, the antennas, the propagation characteristics of the ionosphere, and even computers that are linked to radio equipment for all sorts of purposes including specialised modes of communication, station logging, propagation prediction, etc.
Amateur Radio: Getting started
Anyone can listen in to amateur radio transmissions. If you’re new to amateur radio, then listening-in for a while is a good way to get a feel for what is going on.
To become a radio amateur, licensed to transmit, you will need a brief period of study, and to pass a simple theory examination.
In conjunction with radio clubs around the NZ, the Western Suburbs Radio Club provides the examination to enable you to become a radio amateur. The NZART has the course work on-line and the Question Bank with Mock exams for you to practice. When you are ready to sit the examination contact the Western Suburbs Radio Club for an examination time and date.
Once you have obtained your licence, the Western Suburbs Radio Club is there to hold your hand through the early days as a licensed radio amateur, and to provide advice and guidance as you progress.
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