Amateur radio,, also known as ham radio, is defined as using a specific spectrum of radio frequencies for non-commercial purposes. These purposes can include entertainment, message exchange, experimentation, and emergency purposes. The term amateur is used to designate that individuals involved in ham radio use do not receive financial compensation, which contrasts with individuals involved in public broadcasting, public safety, and professional services that utilise two-way radios,, such as taxi services.
Ham radio operators use a ham radio transceiver,, or "rig", as it is often referred to within the ham radio world. Individuals who want to purchase ham radio transceivers can choose to go all out and purchase a top-of-the-line model, or they can start with an inexpensive transceiver or even a used transceiver if they prefer. There are several places where hobbyists and ham radio enthusiasts can purchase ham radio transceivers and other equipment, including eBay, so they should consider all the pertinent factors before deciding which model to purchase and where to purchase it.
History of the Ham Radio
Since the beginning of time, humans have sought out a way to communicate with one another over long distances. As different groups of individuals began moving farther away, it took longer to send messages back and forth. While various cultures have come up with different methods of sending messages, such as individuals travelling by horse and carrier pigeons, these methods were still somewhat slow, and there was a good chance that not all messages would reach their destinations. Another communication option common in the 1700s was semaphore, which involved individuals using patterned or coloured flags or lights held in different positions. This was an effective method of rapid communication, but it was useless unless both parties were within visual range.
In the early 1800s, Samuel Finley Breese Morse began experimenting with telegraphy, which involves sending messages along wires. Morse not only created the mechanism by which messages could be sent over telegraph wires, he also created a code that allowed individuals to communicate full sentences using dashes and dots that were transmitted as long and short beeps through the telegraph wires.
The birth of radio occurred in the latter half of the 1800s. Credit for this superior technology goes to a number of inventors, including Hertz, Tesla, and Marconi. The discovery of the properties of radio waves and the ability to harness them paved the way for amateur radio operators to begin transmitting. The first radio society for amateur radio transmitters was created in Australia in 1910, and after that, amateur radio societies flourished across the world.
Ham radio operators began conversing with other hobbyists locally and worldwide and continued to do so through both World Wars and into the 20th century. Even today conversing via ham radio is a popular pastime for a range of radio enthusiasts who converse using Morse code and voice communications.
Obtaining an Amateur Radio Licence
Individuals who wish to send or receive amateur radio communications need to apply for an amateur radio licence from Ofcom, the organisation that regulates all U.K. communications industries. Before hobbyists and ham radio enthusiasts can use their ham radios, they must pass the required tests and apply for licensure. When applying for a licence, which can be done via post or online, individuals need to provide the address where the radio equipment is being housed and select a call sign from the list of those currently available. Once Ofcom grants the licence, the individual is free to start broadcasting.
Ofcom has started offering lifetime amateur radio licences; however, these licences must be validated every five years. As long as this is done, individuals can retain their call signs and the right to use their ham radios for life. Individuals who hold licences in other countries may or may not be allowed to operate in the U.K. without having to file for any additional licences. Whether or not an individual needs to apply for a U.K. broadcasting licence depends on which country his or her original licence was issued in.
CEPT TR 61-01
Countries that have signed up for CEPT TR 61-01 licensure can broadcast in the U.K. without having to apply for a U.K. licence. When transmitting a call sign, these individuals put "M/" before their existing call sign.
CEPT TR 61-02
Ham radio enthusiasts that hail from countries that utilise CEPT TR 61-02 licensure can broadcast in the U.K. without any additional licences for no longer than three months. Hobbyists that want to broadcast for longer than three months must get a Harmonised Amateur Radio Examination Certificate (HAREC) from the country where their amateur radio licence was issued and submit it along with the Ofcom radio licence application.
Individuals who hold licences in countries who do not use CEPT licencing need to apply for a temporary reciprocal radio licence if the issuing country has a reciprocal agreement with the U.K. If the country does not have a reciprocal agreement, the individual needs to send Ofcom information regarding the country’s amateur radio licence class, a copy of the syllabus, and the contact information for the country’s licensing administration. Each of these applications is evaluated individually, which means that they may take longer than standard applications.
What to Look for in a Ham Radio Transceiver
Which type of ham radio an individual prefers depends on several factors, including how he or she uses the radio, the range he or she wants, and whether the user wants a mobile rig or a stationary transceiver. Though many people would question why they want a stationary transceiver when they can have a mobile transceiver that can travel with them, there are pros and cons to both.
Mobile Ham Radio Transceivers
While mobile and handheld ham radio transceivers are mobile, they are battery operated, which means there is a limited supply of power. The transmission range is also shorter for handheld transceivers than for stationary transceivers, so for those who need an extensive range, stationary transceivers are the way to go.
Mono, Dual, and Tri-Band Transceivers
Another factor to consider is whether to purchase a mono band, dual band, or tri-band transceiver.. Dual and tri-band transceivers are more expensive than mono band transceivers, but they offer the opportunity to communicate with a wider range of people. Beginning ham radio operators may want to start with a mono band transceiver and upgrade to a different transceiver at a later point if they want to.
Types of Frequencies
There are three main bands that are used for ham radio broadcasting: HF, UHF, and VHF. While most amateur radio broadcasters only utilise the UHF and VHF frequencies, which are for local and regional transmissions, those who plan to apply for additional licences may want to purchase a transceiver capable of transmitting all bands. The HF band is capable of sending and receiving worldwide transmissions; however, additional licensure is required for using this band. All-band transceivers cover all three bands, which means hobbyists do not have to purchase a new transceiver if they decide to get the required licence to broadcast on the HF band.
Shopping for Ham Radio Transceivers on eBay
Although ham radio enthusiasts may find a limited selection of ham radios and accessories elsewhere, they can find the greatest selection of ham radio rigs on eBay. There are thousands of sellers posting listings on eBay from around the world, which makes it easy for ham radio hobbyists to find the perfect transceiver. Before making a purchasing decision, prospective buyers should determine the features they are looking for and find a couple of models that have all these features. Once they have determined which model they prefer, buyers should compare prices on a couple of eBay listings to confirm they are getting the transceiver for the best price.
Buying Ham Radio Transceivers on eBay
If you are ready to take a look at the listings available on eBay, go to the home page and start from there. You can get a listing of results by typing the keywords ham radio transceiver into the search box. If you are looking for a specific model or style of transceiver, you could add that information to your keyword search, or you can narrow down the listings using the filters on the search results page, which include type, brand, and price.
Before making a purchasing decision, buyers should read each listing carefully to determine which ham radio transceiver is being sold and what other accessories, if any, are included. Prospective buyers may want to browse through a few listings for the same transceiver to ensure they find the best possible price for the transceiver. Buyers should also read through the seller’s return policy so that they know if the item is returnable.
Ham radio transceivers have a variety of uses, from conversing to people from around the world to transmitting news and information locally. Ham radios can even be used to call in emergencies in most areas, which means ham radio enthusiasts may be able to perform a community service in addition to having a hobby. Now that learning Morse code is no longer required, it is even easier to pass the exam and get an amateur radio licence. However, international users should go over licensing practices in the country they want to use their ham radio to ensure they have the right to.
Individuals who are interested in getting into ham radio broadcasting may want to consider purchasing an inexpensive transceiver or even a used transceiver to decide if they like the hobby and the transceiver. If the individuals decide they like the hobby and want to upgrade to a better transceiver, they can always sell their existing receiver and upgrade to a better transceiver. Once buyers consider their own wants and needs, finding a ham radio transceiver on eBay is a quick and easy process thanks to the useful search engine and useful filters.