The amateur and amateur-satellite services are radiocommunication services defined in the Radio Regulations of the ITU. Radio amateurs, of which there are some three million around the world, demonstrate their qualifications by passing examinations in radio theory and practice and thereby gain access to specific frequency bands located throughout the radio spectrum for use in intercommunication and technical investigations.
Radio amateurs have a proud history of advancing the art and science of radio and of developing and applying their skills to public service, especially in the event of natural disasters when normal communication systems are disrupted. With a low-power high-frequency (HF) transceiver, a car battery, and wire for an antenna, a skilled amateur can establish communication from virtually anywhere using his or her knowledge of ionospheric propagation. At the local level, organized groups of amateurs are prepared to assist their communities using personally owned VHF and UHF equipment.
The first amateur satellite, launched in 1961, has been followed by 100 others including a geostationary satellite covering Africa, much of Asia, and Europe. Amateur radio communication with the International Space Station has brought thousands of students into direct contact with the manned space program.
Around the world, amateur radio enhances the national skills base in telecommunications technology and provides a stimulating and absorbing activity for people of all ages and from all walks of life.
The hardware and software tools available at reasonable cost to today’s radio amateurs provide ever-expanding opportunities to explore the radio spectrum. Building on more than a century of tradition and advancement, a bright future awaits!