Ham radio is simply a euphemism for the term “amateur radio.” It is merely a casual utilization of radio frequencies for informal message exchanges, personal training, short recreational usages, and urgent communication.
The word “amateur” there is simply for specification of a person or group of people that have special interests in radio technology and is used primarily to distinguish it from commercial and public broadcasting, for public safety such as for the police and fire unit, and also best suited for professional two-way radio services such as in the navy, maritime, aviation and so on.
It is another fun hobbyist trend that caught on with young kids and students alike who like to experiment in their spare time.
So if you feel like trying hands on something new, and want to build your own ham radio equipment from scratch, you can follow along in this article to get the bits and pieces of how to go about it.
Having to watch the full development of something you love go from absolute start to finish can be very exciting and fulfilling.
Building from the ground up is a bit the same as building from a toolkit. The only significant difference will be when you might have your build your kit.
That said, we are going to be taking you through a step-by-step guide on the equipment and tools you need to have in place, as well as the procedures of putting them together to create your ham radio all from scratch.
The Ham Radio Space As Of Now
Before going any further, we need to understand the Ham radio sphere and what is currently obtainable.
Ham radios make use of electromagnetic radiation to transmit voice data, just like with many wireless technologies. They make use of radio antennas and transceivers to establish a connection and send electromagnetic waves.
The kind and strength of the signal being transmitted will be gauged based on its frequency and wavelength.
Electromagnetic waves can be categorized in spectrums of either ascending or descending wavelengths and frequency. Different types of electromagnetic waves include infrared waves, radio waves, X-rays, microwaves, gamma rays, ultraviolet waves.
How To Build A Ham Radio From Start To Finish
Before starting out trying to build your Ham radio, you need to have specific key components down. They are five essential tools you would need to create a working amateur radio station, namely:
- An Antenna
- An Antenna tuner
- Getting Licensed
Before starting with building the Ham radio, you need to first get a receiver on deck. A receiver acts like a scanner that lets users scan and locate different radio signals and frequencies.
A lot of modern receivers also come with a module that acts as a type of memory storage which lets users store their preferred frequencies of choice.
Transceivers are simply devices that act as both receivers and transmitters all at the same time. Although it is an optional tool when trying to design your ham radio, it can come in handy to give you a more upscale performance.
Transceivers usually come having two meters and one band for small ham operators, but you can always get a more advanced multi-band type that offers you much stronger connection power.
When it comes to radio antennas, you must not compromise on quality. The type of antenna you choose to purchase all depend on your requirements and budget constraints.
Typically you have the choice of picking an antenna that lets you transmit on one radio frequency or one that broadcasts on multi frequencies. The latter is usually more expensive.
However, that does not mean that one that transmits on one frequency can’t do a great job, so that way, you get to save cost.
Your main aim should be on the quality, be it uni-dimensional or multi-dimensional. Always go for long-range higher-frequency antennas that can trap and sustain a reliable connection for a very long period.
Another essential thing to take note is knowing how to position your antenna. Always try as much as possible to place your antenna very far above the ground when outdoors using tall structures like trees or long poles.
If you are operating from inside a building or a vehicle, position your antenna close to the window.
An Antenna tuner
The truth is a lot of old hams do not put into consideration the need to get an antenna. It is more or less an option tool as many operators do without them
In any case, it is still a crucial part of the puzzle you are about to solve, and it is advisable you have it if you desire to build a strong that will far efficient in receiving and transmitting radio signals.
Many antenna tuners usually take on different shapes and sizes in their make-up. There are very nice and catchy types with great designs although they might attract a high price in cost. You can, however, still get a reasonably nice one for a good price.
Typically, an antenna tuner lets you transmit on more than just one radio frequency than a basic antenna will permit. For instance, a dipole antenna will allow you send on only an 80-metre bandwidth.
Using an antenna tuner will however give you the leverage of transmitting on several other bands.
Essentially, it is merely a piece of equipment that gives you the option of transmitting on as many bands as possible.
Antenna tuners are an option, and if you still feel that you don’t need one, then you should opt-out of purchasing it.
Getting License For Your Ham Radio
So you have finished building your ham radio, and it is now ready for use. But you can’t just go ahead and start operating immediately.
You will need to get a license before you can begin operating officially.
There are specific verification exercises you will have to undergo before you can be certified to run a ham radio which centres on subjects as electronics and radio technology as well as the rule and regulations required to use them.