What Is Amateur Radio?

Amateur radio, also known as ham radio, describes the use of radio frequency spectrum for purposes of non-commercial exchange of messages, wireless experimentation, self-training, private recreation, radiosport, contesting, and emergency communication.

I Have A Cell Phone. Why Do I Need Amateur Radio?

In an age where communication is often taken for granted, it’s easy to overlook the importance of Ham Radio.We often receive questions like: “Why do I need Ham Radio when I have a cell phone?” or “Didn’t the internet kill Ham Radio?” While these modern forms of communication may have shifted the attention away from Ham Radio, by no means did it make it unnecessary. In fact, during a disaster, it’s very likely that these modern forms of communication will be the first ones to fail.The number one reason for preparedness minded people to consider Ham Radio is its reliability during times of crisis. Since the early 1900s, this form of communication has reliably made it through every major crisis, disaster, and emergency situation with flying colors. When all other forms of communication fail, Hams are often the ones who are called upon to help communicate in and out of the disaster zone.When the grid goes down, the Ham Bands will still be alive and very active.

Why Should I Become Involved?

Being an amateur radio operator is a good way to provide community service.
While casual communication is one of the first things that attracts people to Ham Radio, operators also serve a larger purpose – in times of crisis, many modern technologies for communication fail. When this happens, radio channels are frequently used to communicate critical information to help those in need, and Ham operators will work to help with these communications. Operators also work with public service agencies when necessary, assisting in relief efforts during natural disasters or other crises. As such, Amateur Radio provides interested operators a meaningful way of volunteering. Besides, Amateur Radio is involved in the STEM curriculum in schools. 

How Do I Get Started?

Check out our “​Getting Started” page for a step by step guide to getting started.

What Equipment Do I Need To Get Started?

Basically you need a handheld radio. Our recommendation is to purchase an analog/DMR or analog/D-Star radio along with a Hotspot. With this setup a new technician will be able to communicate locally and around the world. MCARS will help guide you on specific equipment.

Can I Really Talk Around The World?

Absolutely! Not too many years ago that privilege was for the General and Extra Class operators. Now technology allows Technicians to communicate around the world via voice or digital.

How Can I Help My Community And Others?

First, get your license. Second, get involved with your local club (MCARS). Third, practice your communication skills by getting involved with Nets. Fourth, learn how to really operate your equipment. Fifth, Get involved with your local RACES, ARES or NTS group. Your involvement not only helps the community but other surrounding areas when disaster strikes.

Why Is It Called Ham Radio?

​Well, it goes like this: The word “HAM” as applied to 1908 was the station CALL of the first amateur wireless stations operated by some amateurs of the Harvard Radio Club. They were ALBERT S. HYMAN, BOB ALMY and POOGIE MURRAY. At first they called their station “HYMAN-ALMY-MURRAY” then changed to HAM for short.