Is ham radio obsolete? – Is it an old hobby or still in trend

Amateur radio sets or hams were used for non-commercial transmission via radio frequency bands like emergency communication, experimentation, radio contesting, or self-training. People with electronic interests used to own hams to use it for talking around the world, in space, or across town without any mobile network or internet.

It was a fun, educational a very helpful gadget in case of emergencies when the local network or telephones stopped working or get destroyed. Engineers and scientists also use hams for their experiments and data collection from signals even from space.

Although with time there have been very grand advancements in communication technology too and devices such as radio are now just a feature on our cell phones but still there are tech geeks out there who still love to have a hobby to operate ham and experiment and communicate via radio frequencies.

Brief history

Hams or amateur radios were started back in 19 century as a substitute for wireless telegraphy for people who were not good at sending a message by Morse code and the name “ham” was used for mocking them but in 20-century hams became popular and was adopted as an interesting hobby by many scientists, experimenters and tech enthusiasts who contributed a lot to their fields by using these amateur radio sets.


Hams, unlike AM or FM, have two-way communication and they can broadcast the signal in all directions and there is no need for a line of sight pointing of an antenna for communication. The hams operate in a shorter wavelength region that is just above the AM and microwave band. 

Hams use battery-powered transceivers to transmit and receive frequency signals and use FM repeaters and set up local radio stations. The signals of hams can be used to communicate anywhere in the world or space with the help of boosters from the TV station antennas and radio signal boosters.  The communication of hams is based on Morse code and voice, also the receiver in some sets has a computer screen to reconstruct the message.

Who can use it

Hams can be operated by anyone having basic radio operation knowledge and license from the federal authorities. Also, you can operate on the allocated frequencies only and can communicate via Morse code, voice, telegraph or computerized message, etc. through it.

Computer geeks and electronic engineers try to use ham radio and innovate new components on the circuit boards. They run different experiments to make the communication better and increase the range by contacting as many hams from as far they can connect to. 

There are a number of amateur radio contests where your radio sets can compete for communication quality, range, and other innovations. If, however, you want to test the waters by getting yourself one of your first handheld radios then there are multiple options available on the market. Playing with a ready-to-use device will let you experience what ham radio is and let you understand if ham contest and radio customization is the challenge or a sport for you.

Current trend

Although the hobby is followed by lesser peoples nowadays but still hams are a reliable communication option in case our current communication networks break down. In 2013 during hurricane Katrina amateur radios were the ones to rescue and communicate in those disastrous times.

With cheaper radio sets and software-defined radios, the radios are getting back in trend and not only the military and disaster management are using these many science students, tech enthusiasts and kids are getting attracted towards the amateur radios.

The technology is evolving every day and so does the hams with new features and modulation techniques and innovative activities like a boat or plane tracking, satellite communication and observation of astronomical events are making the hams back in trend and people not only from a science background but also laymen are getting attracted in buying hams.


With so many interesting activities and interesting projects, the market of hams or amateur radios is growing again and now these radio sets are not only used for communication but space research, observation of weather, or astronomical events.

People are encouraged to explore and experiment with these amazingly advanced hams which are not only more impressive but also very affordable. So for all those radio enthusiasts, the trend of hams is not dying, it is the beginning of a new era of Amateur radios.

Leave a Comment