Progress Through Activity

Amateur Radio Club Inc.



What is Amateur Radio?

   Amateur radio is great fun. It is the most interesting, educational, democratic and rewarding hobby in the world today. Amateur Radio (also known as "HAM Radio" due to Amateurs skills), is the personal use and experimentation with radio equipment for local, worldwide and space communications. Radio Amateurs communicate with other Amateurs across town or around the world on special sets of radio frequencies allocated for our specific use.
We are legally licensed to talk with any of the other three million Amateur's in more then 300 countries around the world, including Amateurs stationed at the North and South Poles, and even Astronauts as they circle our planet.

   Signals transmitted from Amateur Radio stations may travel a few metres or can circle the Earth, and even bounce off the moon to be received on the other side of the planet. You would be amazed at the different types of communication available to us, all free to explore. No timed calls or charges, and no wires, just great fun and friendship with everyone sharing a common interest.

Who are Radio Amateurs?

   Well. we are just ordinary people with an interest in the magic of radio, and how a voice can travel through space from the other side of the world and be captured by a piece of wire, to be received loud and clear at our station. Once licensed, we wonder why we waited so long, as the enjoyment of the hobby gets better and better as you explore the endless possibilities.

   Amateur Radio Operators are truly citizens of the world. Our "call signs" are passports into most countries via the airwaves. National boundaries, politics, colour, sex, age or occupation are no barrier to Amateur Radio, with very few countries not allowing this great hobby.

    Amateurs enjoy talking all over the world and beyond, either on regular schedules or as chance contacts. Many have formed life long friendships with people they have never met in person, while others take the opportunity to travel interstate or overseas to visit their Amateur friends.

What do Radio Amateurs do?

   Amateurs enjoy operating from their home stations, from their car, boat, yacht, aircraft or while out walking or hiking and on outings and Amateur expeditions. We talk about a wide variety of subjects, some technical, while others also enjoy taking part in many radio contests held.

   Today, our own Amateur Mobile & Satellite Networks allow us to talk to the world, including Amateurs at the Poles and Astronauts in space using hand held transceivers the size of a modern phone.

   Amateur Radio Operators communicate mainly by voice, but use video, and a vast range of digital modes, Morse code, and even use the Internet to link local repeaters to other repeaters all around the world.

   Local repeater systems located in high areas re-transmit signals allowing large distances to be covered. The ultimate repeaters are our own Amateur Satellites, which were built by Amateurs and lifted into space by the various space agencies around the world. Truly amazing for a hobby, don't you think?

   Amateurs also transmit live and recorded broadcast quality television from their own TV stations, or just chat via "videophone". They also send digital photographs and other computer data over the radio waves, Packet Radio is just one example, and is used for Email, screen chat and many other purposes including tracking vehicles positions and speed on real time computer maps. There are just so many facets to Amateur Radio that it is impossible to mention them all here. The hobby is what you choose to make it

   Amateurs with a Standard or Advanced Licence, are entitled as part of their licence privileges to build their own equipment or modify second hand commercial units, then test and use them in their own station. Most Amateurs build and erect their own antenna systems and pursue a vast range of simple to complex electronic projects. As most Amateur Radio equipment is commercially available, Amateurs can also choose to buy some or all of their transmitters and other station equipment.

   It's completely up to you. Even with $100 and a Foundation Licence, you can talk to stations world wide.

   The social aspects are great too, and off the air, You can join the Westlakes Amateur Radio Club or any of the other local clubs or groups and enjoy the variety of events they hold. You may also choose to assist in a major event like the World Rally Championship, or numerous others, where skilled Amateur Volunteers supply the communications over their extensive Amateur Radio Network. Also in times of disaster, Amateur's skills are often called upon around the world to supply vital communications where "normal" communications are disrupted. Just some examples were when Amateur Radio was responsible in alerting the outside world of Cyclone Tracey's devastation in Darwin and the Terrorist attacks and cyclone's in the US.

   The possibilities in Amateur Radio are endless, you could build a simple transmitter, or even a satellite for launch into space. The only limit is your imagination, and how involved you become is entirely up to you.

Who Can Become A Radio Amateur?

   The short answer is You Can! Radio Amateurs are men, women and youngsters, the able and the disabled from all walks of life. As Radio Amateurs they have tremendous fun, make great friendships and gain a huge sense of personal satisfaction and achievement. In Australia there is no minimum age for obtaining an Amateur Radio Licence. Amateur Radio provides an excellent introduction into astronomy, the absorbing world of computers & IT, electronics and radio, so many young Amateurs go on to choose careers in these fields.

   Radio Amateurs also include many retirees and people with disabilities who find that Amateur Radio opens the world to them from the comfort of their own homes, keeps them active and alert and opens new horizons every day. Many famous people such as King Hussein of Jordan and King Juan Carlos of Spain have become Radio Amateurs. Dick Smith is another of the many well know personalities who enjoy Amateur Radio. Our own Andy Thomas (VK5JAT & W5MIR) is not only an Astronaut for NASA, but an Australian Amateur Radio Operator. Andy has talked to hundreds of Australian Amateurs from space while aboard MIR the ISS and the Space Shuttle on his many missions. As most Astronauts hold Amateur Licences, there continues to be made to and from the International Space Station (ISS), You might just find yourself talking to a celebrity!

How Can I Become an Radio Amateur?

   You can begin as a listener on the amateur bands now, but to transmit you must have an Amateur Communications Station Licence that is issued by the Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA). In return for being granted a Licence, and thousands of "channels" in 23 frequency bands to operate in, all with their own unique and special characteristics, Radio Amateurs are required to pass tests in basic electronic theory, practical &regulations. The tests are not hard, and the study enjoyable because you are learning about something you are or will be interested in. Many 10 - 16 year olds are Amateurs along with many adults who never completed school! ANYONE CAN DO IT!

   The purpose of the tests is to ensure that licensees operate their station safely and without causing interference to others. Also, it teaches you to become a Professional Communication Station Operator, and the knowledge gained gives you the confidence to pursue projects that you may have never dreamed of. Licensed Amateurs gain great privileges, and the trust put in by Governments all over the world, especially in times of disaster, is great, it is a truly revered and special hobby, with a camaraderie seldom found elsewhere. Why not contact the Westlakes Amateur Radio Club? and experience for yourself some High Tech Communications FUN!

Easy Entry Foundation Licence

   The Foundation Licence is an EASY entry level licence designed to get you ON AIR FAST! It offers generous band privileges at lower power levels. Everything you need to know to gain your Foundation Licence is the Foundation Licence Manual, available from the Westlakes Amateur Radio club or from the WIA. With the help of our Westlakes Foundation Course and the video tutorials provided here on the website you will be able to get your licence in an easy way.

For further information and an Amateur Radio Station Demonstration, please contact the friendly and helpful people at the Westlakes Amateur Radio Club or any club near you! We are waiting here to advice and help you!   

  More about the FOUNDATION Licence here                         Back to the MAIN Index



 Westlakes Club News  VK2ATZ broadcast Sunday's 9.00hrs on the VK2RTZ Repeater on 146.775MHz
Westlakes Amateur Radio Club Inc. York Street, Teralba NSW