Monday, October 4, 2010

Activities For Radio Hobbyists


Amateur radio or ham is largely a hobby activity. The majority of thel hobby time is spent on making contact and having conversations with people in distant regions and from different cultures. Two way communications, identifying their location and station, zone, region and place is the usual custom. This is always followed by other casual communications. If the contact is made for a contest to make two way communication with as many stations or ham radio operators as possible, this all the information that is shared.

DX-ing and DX-peditions: An amateur radio operator's main hobby is to make contact with as many stations as possible from as many parts of the world as possible. DX stands for Distant Stations. The DX-ing usually is followed with the QSO. (a Q code., see below) which means "a conversation".

DX-peditions are different in the sense that they are expeditions organized / planned solely for the purpose of making contacts with some special or rare stations and regions. Some people travel long distance just to make contact with some unrepresented region or place.

Radio Frequency scanners available now a days form the tool of great use in these attempts. The radio scanner scans for signals until a strong signal is found and so on.

QSL cards: The Q code is a standardized collection of three-letter message encodings, all starting with the letter "Q", initially developed for commercial radiotelegraph communication, and later adopted by other radio services, especially amateur radio. In today's audio signal transmission age, the Q codes are not essential. but still in use and are viewed as a sort of tradition.

As a part of DX-ing and DX-peditions the QSL card or the proof of contact card is shared. QSL is one such Q-code that means "I acknowledge receipt". The common practice was that the ones who made contact at a particular frequency exchange a QSL card in the mail to confirm their contact and conversations. These QSL cards can be used as a proof of their making contact and amateur operators who make contact with a certain number of other amateur radio operators in a specified time is awarded. Moreover, they are distinguished and honored since they are deemed to be efficient amateur radio operators.

Remote region contacting: Some countries have less amateur radio operators, and making contact with these is considered special. So, when a radio amateur from these regions makes contact, other ham operators flock to make communication with this / these hams. Making contact with these less represented places has its awards and special considerations in the award programs.

Hamfests: Social events for the ham families and friends. It's something akin to the family oriented social fests where there are sales, exchanges, meetings and fun. Similarly, the fest is filled with selling and exchanging hams, meeting real life ham friends and fun events for a day or sometimes over few days.

Discussion groups and Nets: Ham operators form a discussion group based on common interests other than ham or it can also be a ham related discussion group and they can form nets or networks.


If a radio hobbyist gets involved with all of these different activities, he or she is sure to never be bored. Look into some of them, and see if you would like to get involved.