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Amateur (Ham) Radio Information for Persons with Disability

Author: Disabled World : Contact: www.disabled-world.com

Published: 2012-09-13 : (Rev. 2019-10-14)

Synopsis and Key Points:

Information on amateur radio for persons with disabilities wishing to become Ham radio operators.

Ham radio is a hobby enjoyed by over a million people worldwide. Amateur radio operators call themselves "radio hams" or simply "hams".

The appeal of Amateur Radio is the ability to communicate with others across the country, around the globe, and even with astronauts on space missions.

Main Digest

Amateur Radio, or Ham Radio, is an enriching hobby that provides a window to the world for people with mobility problems, the blind, deaf, or those with limited means of communication.

Amateur radio operators, or "Hams," use radios to communicate with other users - whether they are around the corner or around the world. Amateur radio encompasses a wide variety of activities all of which are centered around an interest in radio and communications. The appeal of Amateur Radio is the ability to communicate with others across the country, around the globe, and even with astronauts on space missions.

In most countries there are no age or citizenship restrictions to becoming a ham radio operator. Morse code is also no longer a requirement to obtaining your Amateur Radio license in many countries.

U.S.

If you are new to HAM Radio, or just wish to find out more about it, the website at www.arrl.org/new-to-ham-radio provides a lot of useful information for newbies and experienced Amateur Radio operators.

The Courage Center Handiham System provides tools for people with disabilities to learn Amateur Radio and technology skills, and to earn their Amateur Radio licenses.

Handiham helps persons with any combination of physical and sensory disabilities by providing tools, technology and education to become effective amateur operators. People with disabilities who join their program quickly learn about new technologies, including assistive technologies that will help them in other aspects of their lives, not just amateur radio. Visit www.handiham.org/drupal2/ for further information.

Amateur Radio Yaesu FT DX 3000D HF+50 MHz 100 Watt Transceiver
Amateur Radio Yaesu FT DX 3000D HF+50 MHz 100 Watt Transceiver

U.K.

The license system has 3 tiers, the Foundation license, the Intermediate and the Advanced.

The foundation is an introduction to amateur radio and when completed you will be able to get a license, a call-sign and then transmit and enjoy radio.

If you are housebound the exam can be taken at your home. If you are visually impaired the exam can be read to you. Visit www.raibc.org.uk/ for further information.

Canada

Radio Amateurs of Canada is a not-for-profit membership association with headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. It is a national organization, representing the interests of amateur radio all across Canada. Visit www.rac.ca for further information.

CNIB Amateur Radio Program - CNIB provides community based support to help Canadians who are blind or partially sighted achieve their goals and increase their independence. Their Amateur Radio program has grown to nearly 500 members across Canada, from teens to professionals, parents and retirees. The Amateur Radio program provides: assistance in obtaining equipment, helps to train new operators and helps prepare operators to pass the required Radio License exams - www.cnib.ca/en/living/learning-leisure/amateur-radio/Pages/default.aspx

Amateur radio Yagi beam antenna.
Amateur radio Yagi beam antenna.

Australia

October 2005 saw the introduction of the new standard grade syllabus in Australia and it is much easier than the old novice license. It is now in line with the world standard for the middle grade license and you can use your standard grade license in many countries that have reciprocal licensing with Australia.

There are several radio clubs around Australia offering training for the standard license and the charges can vary from club to club from as little as $10.00. You will also need to purchase some support technical reference information such as the ARRL handbook or the Radio Theory handbook.

You can study for the Standard License Multi-Media Course with the Radio and Electronics School in the comfort of your own home. This course is supplied on two CD ROMS, and is an easy short course which lasts from 4 to 5 weeks duration.

WIA Assessors are supported by Nominated Assessors and are responsible for undertaking Special Assessments for candidates with a disability or in remote areas.

The WIA is also able to offer assessments for vision impaired candidates. A vision impaired person wishing to be assessed must advise a WIA Assessor or Learning Organizer that they wish to be assessed for an Amateur Radio Examination.

Visit www.wia.org.au/licenses/standard/about/ for further information.

Typical home amateur radio station.
Typical home amateur radio station.

HAM Radio and Computer Interfaces

Today nearly all modern transceivers can be connected to a computer which means you can use various available software to control your radio including sending and receiving pictures and data.

In addition there are a great deal of other programs, add-ons, plug-ins and software online that allow you to connect your Amateur Radio to a computer. A Google search for what you require will generally bring up the choices available to suit your needs.

Difference Between Amateur Radio and CB Radio

There are so many differences between Citizens Band (CB) and Amateur Radio it would be impossible to list them all in a simple answer.

CB or Citizens Band Radio Service is where the FCC allows untrained and unlicensed individuals to use low-powered two-way radios radios for personal or business use.

CB radios are limited in power output and frequencies.

Ham Radio (officially called the Amateur Radio Service) is where people who have studied two-way radios, antennas and US and international regulations - and who have passed an examination (and paid a fee) are allowed to communicate with other radio hams around the world.

Amateur radio operators who transmit over short-wave frequencies are called ham radio operators. The origin of the term is unknown. Ham radio is non-commercial, two-way transmission in which messages are sent by Morse code or by voice.

Ham radio is a hobby enjoyed by over a million people worldwide. Amateur radio operators call themselves "radio hams" or simply "hams."

This is an extremely simplified explanation, for further details you will need to search online or read up on both forms of communication.

Add to This Page: If you are involved with, or know of other useful HAM Radio resources for persons with disabilities please contact us so we can add to the list.

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