Amateur radio is quite different from Citizens Band radio. CBers do not have pass any examination nor meet any specificqualifications before being allowed to operate on forty 11-meter channels. Their transmitter power level is limited to 4 watts., communications distance is short, and only FCC-approved radios may be used. Unlike ham operators, CBers are not issued individual station callsigns or licenses.

By contrast, ham operators can radiate up to 1500 watts, build and repair their own transmitting equipment, and each is granted an individual operator/station license and unique callsign.

Radio amateurs have access to many frequency allocations the RF spectrum, enabling effective communications across a city, a region, a country, a continent, or the whole world. The Amateur Radio Service is an international entity and exists in nearly every country.

The ITU, a specialized agency of the United Nations, is the governing body over worldwide information and communications technologies. Because radio waves do not respect international borders, representatives of nearly 200 countries meet periodically at the Geneva-based ITU to agree on global telecommunications  regulations including those pertaining to the Amateur Radio Service.

Both the reuirements for and privileges granted to a ham operator vary from country to country, but generally follow the international regulations and standards established by the ITU at World Radio Conferences.

Article 1.56 of current ITU Radio Regulations contains the international definition of the Amateur Radio Service. It defines ham radio as: " A radiocommunication service for the purpose of self-training, intercommunication and technical investigations carried out by amateurs, that is, by duly authorized persons interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest." The FCC's version goes step further. It adds that another of the purposes of the Amateur Service is to provide emergency communications.

Washington readout
by Frederick O. Maia W5YI
pages 50-51
CQ. August 2011

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