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Ham Radio is also known as Amateur Radio. It's both a hobby and a service comprised of people, electronics, and communications. Ham radios can talk across town, across a state, across a country, and even around the world. This is accomplished without any infrastructure such as internet or phone lines. A ham radio station sitting in a corn field in Kansas can communicate with another ham radio station in Europe. It's fun. It's rewarding. It's educational. And you can make friends that will last a lifetime.

No license is required to receive or listen only. A license is required if you want to transmit. While the license is required by the FCC, it's really a license to learn! There are opportunities to learn electronics, mechanical engineering, modulation, digital signal processing, computers, networking, and much more.

There are many different aspects to ham radio. While some regulatory limits apply, the largest limiting factor is your own imagination. Ham radio is not just talking. Many hams use computers connected to their radios. This permits computer to computer communication, without the use of the internet or any infrastructure. While the morse code requirement has been eliminated from licensing, it's still going strong as a form of communication among hams. It's actually one of the most simple, robust, and effective ways to communicate using ham radio.

Ham radio is often utilized during and after major disasters. If regular communications infrastructure has been destroyed or is not available ham radio can furnish communications. Ham radio is utilized by state and county governments to establish communications in the absence of phones and internet. Ham radio stations are often established at shelters, to link the shelter to the government response for the incident. Ham radio is also used to permit families at shelters to communicate their safe status to loved ones outside the impacted area.

For more information:
http://www.arrl.org/getting-licensed
http://www.arrl.org/find-an-amateur-radio-license-class
http://www.arrl.org/find-an-amateur-radio-license-exam-session