Amateur radio

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Amateur radio, often called ham radio, is both a hobby and a service in which participants, called "hams", use various types of radio communications equipment to communicate with other radio amateurs for public services, recreation and self-training.[1] Amateur radio operation is licensed by an appropriate government entity (for example, by the Federal Communications Commission in the United States[2]) as coordinated through the International Telecommunication Union.[3]

An estimated two million people throughout the world are regularly involved with amateur radio.[4]

The term "amateur" does not imply a lack of skill or quality, but rather that the amateur radio operator is not paid for his or her efforts.



Although its origins can be traced to the late 19th century, amateur radio, as practiced today, did not begin until the early 20th century. The first listing of amateur radio stations is contained in the First Annual Official Wireless Blue Book of the Wireless Association of America in 1909.[5] This first radio callbook lists wireless telegraph stations in Canada and the United States, including eighty-nine amateur radio stations. As with radio in general, the birth of amateur radio was strongly associated with various amateur experimenters and hobbyists. Throughout its history, amateur radio enthusiasts have made significant contributions to science, engineering, industry, and social services. Research by amateur radio operators has founded new industries,[6] built economies,[7] empowered nations,[8] and saved lives in times of emergency.[9]

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