For many people, ham radio is communication. For many others it is research, project building or just plain tinkering. Often, several aspects of the pastime are combined.
Communication may consist of being part of an emergency group or just chatting with fellow hams across the city or across the world. Research or science oriented people combine this with a study of the physics of radio wave propagation. Some amateurs build equipment to communicate via satellites or by moon bounce. Some have even helped build some of the more than 20 amateur satellites which are now in orbit.
Communication may be by Morse code, voice, or by packet (a digital transmission mode compatible with home computers). Amateurs often talk to astronauts aboard the International Space Station which has it's own station for the recreational use of the astronauts. Amateur TV provides opportunity for interesting experimentation. Many hams enjoy public service, which in addition to providing practice for emergency preparedness, helps coordinate and deliver reliable communications for events such as the Canadian Ski Marathon, MS bike-a-thon and the Terry Fox runs.
The OARC runs classes as numbers permits, classes are taught by a professional instructor. One on one help is also available from volunteers in the club for those who wish to do self-study. For more information on classes and self-study options, please e-mail iwanttobeaham AT oarc.net.
If you feel you are ready for taking the exam, our club designated examiner is Mike Kelly, VE3FFK e-mail ve3ffk AT rac.ca We have a short FAQ for anyone in the Ottawa area who may be thinking of taking a course or an exam.