Amateur radio is still alive and well, and coming into the 21st Century as a playground for the technically curious. In addition to the work hams do in disaster relief communications, there is a lot of place for experimentation and learning. Ham radio is pushing the envelope in digital voice communications, high-speed "Internet" over incredible distances, and providing a fertile playground for the technologically curious. Understanding our wireless world and how it works starts with an entry-level ham radio license: where you take it from there is up to you..
14 Chris Sullivan: Ham Radio: It's not about talking to pork products (but we're working on that)
More Than Talking to Pork
Chris Sullivan, NØDOS
What is Amateur Radio?
The legal version:
quot;... A radiocommunication service for the
purpose of self-training, intercommunication
and technical investigations carried out by
amateurs, that is, duly authorized persons
interested in radio technique solely with a
personal aim and without pecuniary interest.quot;
-FCC Rules, Part 97
What is Amateur Radio?
Geeks playing with radio.
It's supposed to be a technologist's
It's supposed to be about learning new
It's supposed to be about fun.
When was the last time the government
did something specifically for techno-geeks
to play around?
We all know this about ham radio, right?
(OR/WA floods, Katrina)
Talking to distant places
It must be cool, it's big in Japan!
DIY is alive and well in ham radio
Even today, the
homebrew scene is
alive in amateur
Experimentation is encouraged.
You are encouraged to try different
things, test theoretical designs and
experimental equipment, hack, turn
knobs, and generally try to break
And yes, void your warranties.
The Distant Past (the early 1990s)
Packet Radio gave slow
(typically 1.2k/sec) access to the
It didn't stop there.
WiFi.. across miles, not feet
Channel 1-6 is in ham radio
Hams are using off-the-shelf
Homebrew and commercial
amplifiers add range
90 mile WiFi?
Montana MultiMedia Network
First experimental link was
mountain top to mountain
top, Red Lodge to Crazy
Peak, near Bozeman MT.
The most amazing thing?
2-4 Mb/s, 90 miles
1.2k/sec.. 1200 baud.. remember those
Google's new Latitude
service? Hams were doing it
in the 1990's
APRS uses GPS, packet
radio to transmit positions to
other hams, the Internet
APRS - Brightkite, unplugged.
APRS can relay more
And guess what?
It does all of this using 1200
baud modems, the likes of
which were quot;obsoletequot; in the
A modern modem is 50x faster, and that's WAY slower than
most people's Internet connection now a days... yikes!
It's just the tip of the iceberg.
quot;Impossiblequot; communications - slow modes near noise floor
Store and forward packet radio
Talking to the International Space Station / Space Shuttle
Amateur radio satellites
Earth-moon-earth and meteor scatter
Microwave and Nanowave
Light beam communications
Narrow-bandwidth digital voice
Auroral / coronal discharge
Radios in used pork product tins
Talking to arrogant windbags on 7.290 MHz
Modern Ham Radios
The basement room of equipment? Largely gone!
There are a few rules.
No commercial use
Stay in our yard
Don't be a jerk.
There's plenty left to do!
It's never been easier to get started
No more Morse code requirements
Basic electronics, operational knowledge
Longer notes, pointers to more information at my website: