Amateur Radio Operators are Hams

Amateur Radio Operators are Hams

Some People are Referred to as a “Ham”

Amateur Radio Operators are often called Hams.  To find out more about why the term “Ham” is used, see this explanation including this definition: “Ham: a poor operator; a ‘plug’ (G. M. Dodge; The Telegraph Instructor).”

Amateur Radio is across the Globe

Amateur Radio has a worldwide presence and has been for decades. It is for use in wartime and moments of peace. Amateur Radio allows communication between different time zones, countries, and continents.

Amateur Radio is a life long skill. The process is free to study, free to use (though there is a cost for equipment), and there is no charge to get the license from the FCC.  There is a license exam fee and the current cost is $14-17 in my area. This fee helps offset the cost of exam materials.

Amateur Radio can be a Family Activity

Amateur Radio is fun to do with my family. I have had my Technician license since June 2007. My husband obtained his Technician license in July 2007 and later upgraded to the General class license. His last upgrade was to the Extra class license on 18 October 2011.

Our oldest son took the exam for his Technician class license on October 31, 2009. My oldest and I are studying for the General exam. Our fifteen-year-old passed the Technician exam in 2018 (when he was 14). Our eight-year-old (when he was seven) also attended the class with the then fourteen-year-old. He did not take the exam as he was not ready). He is continuing to study for it as is our youngest, who is seven.

Jonathan on HF Rig Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan Amateur Radio Operators are Hams
Jonathan on HF Rig Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan Amateur Radio Operators are Hams

{The above photo is of my husband, Jonathan (KE7OLE), working on an HF rig at the Mt. Tahoma Technoree during Jamboree On The Air (J.O.T.A.) on October 15, 2011.}

Three Amateur Radio Licenses in the U.S.A.

Each license allows certain bandwidth privileges. Ham radio allows you to talk to a neighbor, a spouse driving on the way home from work during the evening commute, or to talk to others around the world.

Sometimes, Amateur Radio operators are able to talk with an astronaut on the International Space Station. This opportunity is available when the Space Station is overhead and an astronaut is on the radio waves.

Amateur Radio is a sought after way to communicate as Hams offer a way to instant, reliable, and constant form of communication after a disaster. Amateur Radio operators work with FEMA, American Red Cross, AREAS, RACES, and other organizations in the supporting role of providing communication abilities.

Communicating across the Ocean

Here is an example of how Amateur Radio allows communication between people miles apart or even over the ocean.

Recently, my husband was on his HF (High Frequency) rig (another term for radio equipment) and was tuning in to the 15 meters band. He came across an operator that was on the battleship USS Missouri ‘Mighty Mo’ (BB-63)! They were doing a Club event on the HF bandwidths.

Our boys thought it was cool how there were Hams on the USS Missouri. They were excited he was attempting to talk to a Ham operator who was aboard a ship.

When I heard an operator from the KH6BB USS Missouri Battleship Radio Room say, “here on Battleship Missouri in Pearl Harbor,” I was super excited! Why? Years ago, when the USS Missouri was in port at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyards, my family and I were able to go tour it. I have pictures (or my mother does) of me on the vessel as well as the polo shirt that I purchased while onboard.

Here is a close up of the polo showing the 50th Anniversary logo design:

U.S.S. Missouri BB-63 Polo Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan Amateur Radio Operators are Hams
U.S.S. Missouri BB-63 Polo Copyright Adrienne Z. Milligan Amateur Radio Operators are Hams

When our family is able to go to Pearl Harbor, I will be sure to schedule with the “Mighty Mo so that my husband, myself, and our boys can visit the Radio Room and use the radio from the USS Missouri.

What’s Your Call Sign?

Do you have your Amateur Radio license? If so, what was your reason for obtaining it? If you have a Ham license from another country, please share. We love talking to Hams around the world!

This was originally on my site. As of March 15, 2016, this post now lives here on Gluten Free Preppers. This post was updated on April 20, 2019.

19 thoughts on “Amateur Radio Operators are Hams”

    1. Hello! Thanks, Michal, for visiting! I love hearing from other Hams. 😀 I have not have the honor of making contact with anyone from Poland on the airwaves, yet. ~Adrienne (KE7NTN)

  1. Very interesting information about HAM radio operators. I used to know several that had this hobby, now I don’t know anyone.

    Have you seen the movie “Frequency?” That’s the last time I heard about this topic. I think it’s great that you are doing this as a family.

    Have a fun time!

    1. Deborah, being a Ham has been fun and worthwhile. It has helped us communicate with others during power outages and severe winter storms. I’ll have to check out the movie “Frequency” – thanks for the suggestion! Thanks for visiting! ~Adrienne

  2. Hi Adrienne,

    It was really interesting to read about Ham radio operators.

    I was aware of them – from various films, songs etc – but hadn’t realise that there were different licenses and exams leading to different bandwidth privileges.

    Love the fact that one of your “commenters” is a Polish HAM Radio Operator.

    Sounds like a great community to be involved with.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

    1. Joy, thanks! I was so excited to see a Polish Ham Radio Operator comment, too! It was so cool. I learned a lot about the Ham community when studying for my first license. Thank you for stopping to visit! ~Adrienne

  3. Enjoyable post, though I must confess that I’m not clear on the link to being gluten free. I’ve heard the term “Ham” before and it sounds like a whole different world. I imagine it to be similar to the verbal version of the way we connect with people online.

    1. Marquita, thanks! Being a Ham goes along with the “prepper” of Gluten Free Preppers. 🙂 Being a licensed Amateur Radio Operator is a different world – a fun one at that! Usually, Hams communicate via voice from one radio to another. There are software programs and smart device apps so Hams can communicate via internet relays and smart phones (instead of using a Ham radio). Thanks for stopping by! ~Adrienne

  4. Despite the fact that newbie radio operators get involved for a lot of motives, they all have in commonplace a primary know-how of radio technology and working standards. By passing an examination for the FCC license, they get to operate on radio frequencies known as the “beginner bands.” Those bands are radio frequencies allotted through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to be used by using ham radio operators.

    1. Brian, it is true indeed people get involved with Amateur “Ham” radio for a lot of reasons! Some people do it so they can communicate in emergencies, some do it when their spouse or child does it, and some do it because they always wanted to get their license (like me). Thanks for visiting! ~Adrienne

    1. Elise, I am glad you found this information interesting. 🙂 I love being a “Ham!” ~Adrienne

Leave a Reply

You have to agree to the comment policy.

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.