Radio Amateurs - Ordinary people with more than ordinary interests
They are at first sight, just ordinary citizens, including some of your neighbours or work colleagues, and people in more than 100 countries. They are radio amateurs - also known as ham operators, or amateur radio operators. They are people who are interested in communicating and interested in experimenting and learning about modern technologies involved in the burgeoning fields of information and communications they are ordinary people with more than ordinary interests. They are people who see themselves as part of an international community of more than 3 million amateurs around the world, and part of the Australian national community of some 20 000 licenced amateur operators. They are people who are willing to devote their hearts and minds to community service when the need for communications can best be met by the amateur radio service. They are people who lend their knowledge to the training and education of others…they are indeed ordinary Australians with more than ordinary interests and more than ordinary skills developed through amateur radio
The widening range of interests followed by Radio Amateurs
It has always been a feature of Amateur Radio that people from all walks of life have followed the hobby. It is another case of “not who you are but what you are” that matters. Many years ago it was common to hear the description "From newspaper boys to Kings" in reference to Amateur Radio - and it simply meant that radio amateurs range from newspaper boys (street sellers of daily newspapers) to Kings, with royalty being among the ranks of ham operators. The history of Amateur Radio in Australia commenced a century ago and from the beginnings has engaged the minds of many people young and old in discovering how to engage in radio communication. Very often the amateurs of those times had to build every part of their radio station whereas today often the radio station is based on a wide range of black boxes purchased off the shelf. The common characteristic of radio amateurs from the earliest of days to this time is knowledge. Amateur radio is a knowledge-based hobby and amateur operators must demonstrate levels of Knowledge to be allowed to operate their radio stations.
Today’s Radio Amateur
Today Amateur Radio is enjoyed by people from all walks of life, the young and not so young, and the able and disabled, who meet on the airwaves for a chat or engage in other interesting activities especially experimentation in its many forms. Whereas in previous times radio was a hobby based mainly on a narrow range of components and knowledge, today radio draws on every aspect of information technology and electronics. Today’s amateur can draw on a vast storehouse of knowledge and a very wide range of equipment. The range of means of communications and the frequencies available are very great indeed.