Amateur radio service
The Amateur Radio Service (shortly: Amateur Radio , English amateur radio service or colloquially ham radio ) is in accordance with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) one of amateurs exercised global non-commercial radio service ( English service ) with the self-purposes:
- Self-study of radio technology
- Communication with each other
- technical investigations
Radio amateurs are admitted to the amateur radio service after an examination and operate radio technology as a hobby . Commercial and economic interests are expressly excluded. Radio communication takes place exclusively between holders of an amateur radio license. Messages from and for uninvolved third parties may only be transmitted in rare exceptional cases such as emergencies and disasters. The ITU regulations expressly state that amateur radio traffic should not contain any political aspects. Freedom of expression in or the sovereignty of member states of the ITU should not be affected by amateur radio operations. In totalitarian regimes it happened historically and in the present there are again and again restrictions on amateur radio operations, as it is feared that oppositional opinions could be spread. On the other hand, amateur radio, according to the German understanding, should serve international understanding . Amateur radio can serve to cultivate friendships, technical training and applied research across national, ethical, language and religious boundaries. With some radio amateurs it also satisfies the passion for collecting and has sporty aspects.
The personalized amateur radio call sign is used to uniquely identify a transmitting station and consists of an alphanumeric combination. The ITU prefixes of the callsigns are assigned to individual states, dependent or independent areas and international organizations. Some countries have multiple prefixes.
Characters following the prefix are called suffix . They too can have regional significance. This is not the case in Germany. In Austria, the single-digit number 1 to 9 following the country prefix OE corresponds to a federal state (see also amateur radio call signs in Austria ), while the number zero here is used by Austrian amateur radio stations in international waters, on board aircraft and for club stations. If the letter X is immediately after the number (1 to 9), it is a club or relay radio station in Austria.
Legal framework and permits
Everyone is allowed to receive any amateur radio broadcast. In contrast, radio transceiver operations are regulated differently from country to country.
The international law treaty of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is the executive order for the radio service (in Austria and Germany: VO radio , in Switzerland: radio regulations , currently in the 2016 version). This international treaty regulates the broadcast and reception operation of all radio services in order to rule out mutual interference at and across national borders. International law is implemented in state law through amateur radio laws , ordinances and national frequency plans. The respective state administration also issues regulations on training, testing, approval and the issuing of call signs . The rules are subject to changes, for example the Morse test in Germany has not been mandatory in amateur radio since 2003.
In the VO Funk (current version from 2016) the amateur radio service is defined as follows:
- Amateur service: 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.
- Amateur-satellite service: A radiocommunication service using space stations on earth satellites for the same purposes as those of the amateur service.
The amateur radio permits (in Germany, authorization to participate in the amateur radio service ) are graded into several classes according to the degree of difficulty of the exam, with restrictions on frequency use , transmission power , type of modulation or the operating mode . First, an examination is taken at the responsible regional office. In Germany it is the Federal Network Agency BNetzA, in Austria the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology , in Switzerland the Federal Office of Communications OFCOM. In the USA, the amateur radio association ARRL tests itself as an exception . After the test, the holder of the test certificate can apply for his approval, provided that he has not received the amateur radio call sign after passing the test.
In contrast to amateur radio, for which a respective radio license is required worldwide, the so-called Jedermannfunk also exists globally . It enables radio operation with a number of approved devices with a short range ( CB radio , PMR radio , SRD radio ). The traded devices require a declaration of conformity for which the responsible distributor (manufacturer, importer or dealer) is liable. The devices must not be modified for transmission. The operating mode, power and frequency allocation of the devices are usually regulated so that they can only be put into operation for the respective application.
Amateur radio is a very diverse hobby:
- Focusing on the actual radio link, talking to other radio amateurs around the world.
- Those interested in technology build smaller or larger parts and the antenna of their radio system themselves. Construction, testing and further development of the devices are the most important aspects here.
- "High-performance athletes" take part in all kinds of competitions, such as contests or direction finding competitions .
A variety of amateur radios are available through specialist dealers. The technology used there is often very complicated; so that modifying these devices quickly reaches its limits.
To make it easier for radio amateurs to deal with the relevant technology, various companies and radio amateurs offer kits. This way saves the sometimes difficult procurement of components and, with the associated documents, simplifies construction, expansion and modification. Do-it-yourself devices often only have a low transmission power.
The functional combination of radio, antenna and measuring accessories is called an amateur radio station or, in the amateur radio world, a rig . The room in which these devices are set up or operated is called a shack .
The radio amateurs have different frequency ranges , the so-called amateur radio bands , between 135 kHz and 250 GHz in the long wave , medium wave , short wave and ultra short wave range. Radio amateurs are also active in the gigahertz area, in the optical area and in the area of terahertz radiation , and especially in the latter they are also actively involved in research.
Because of the slow transmission, especially in Morse times, a pronounced culture of abbreviations has developed. Most of the amateur radio abbreviations come from the English language . They are used worldwide. For example, the two letters OM (“Old Man”) stand for a male radio amateur, while YL (“Young Lady”) stands for a radio amateur (in both cases of any age).
Modulation types, operating modes and transmission types
Traditional modulation types and operating modes such as telegraphy and telephony are used, as are radio telex and modern digital transmission methods such as packet radio , Pactor , APRS , FT8 or PSK31 , which are mainly used for text transmission. Image and video transmission is also possible with operating modes such as FAX , SSTV ( Slow Scan Television ) and ATV (amateur radio television). An amateur radio version of the new digital shortwave radio Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) has also been developed. Recently there has also been digital radio communication, such as the D-STAR digital transmission standard developed in Japan .
Many of the modern modes of operation can be operated with the help of software, some of which is free and developed by radio amateurs. All you have to do is connect the radio to the sound card of a standard PC.
In addition to direct connections, contacts via relay stations , echo links , amateur radio satellites (e.g. OSCAR ), earth-moon-earth or meteor scatters are also possible. This means that you can talk to almost the whole world on the VHF bands, which can only cover distances of up to 300 km terrestrially. Radio amateurs have built their own satellites that can be used as relay stations. However, natural phenomena that only exist for a short time, such as aurora (reflection of radio waves from polar lights ) or the reflection of radio waves from aircraft, are used to cover greater distances on VHF.
A radio connection can be established with one of the above-mentioned operating modes:
- The most original mode of operation is telegraphy with Morse code ( Friedrich Clemens Gerke , Samuel Morse ). The previously mandatory Morse Code test for shortwave licenses has been abolished in almost all countries. Therefore, one initially feared that activity in this operating mode would decrease quickly. Morse code is still very popular, especially with do-it-yourselfers, because you can work with very simple devices (the transmitter only needs to be able to switch the carrier on and off) and very low receiver bandwidths (200 Hz compared to at least 2100 Hz for voice radio). Given the necessary practice, you can record well over 200 letters per minute with your ear - typing quickly with an electronic morse key is not the decisive problem. Some younger radio amateurs consider Morse code to be one of the digital modes of operation; That is, they generate Morse code with the computer and also decode them by machine. Most of the "old hands" who still had to take a Morse Code test regard this as unsporting behavior. However, it turned out that telegraphy, as the most original form of communication, continues to have a firm place in amateur radio. Telegraphic radio connections with simple content are also possible when using the international amateur radio abbreviations if the radio partners have different language skills.
- Telephony (voice radio) with various transmission methods (e.g. SSB = single sideband modulation ) is the most common type of communication.
- Various image transmission methods from facsimile to amateur radio television are common.
- In the last few decades, digital amateur radio modes have become increasingly important. Radio amateurs are constantly devising new digital transmission methods which are then tried out with other radio amateurs around the world.
Immediately next to the ISM bands at 2.4 and 5.8 GHz used in WLAN technology, there are amateur radio assignments. This makes it possible to operate broadband radio links with very inexpensive, only slightly modified WLAN equipment. Often, in addition to commercially available WLAN components, only directional antennas with high gain are used. For some time now , a broadband radio link infrastructure has been developing under the name HAMNET , which is already well developed, especially in Austria.
For the amateur radio service, frequency ranges are assigned across the electromagnetic spectrum. In these amateur radio bands , radio traffic takes place in different modes. The bands cover the wave ranges from 1.2 mm to the longest wave range of 2.2 km. However, the most popular amateur radio bands are in the shortwave range from 160 m to 10 m and in the VHF range from 2 m to 23 cm.
Frequency ranges for all radio services are assigned by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in the VO Funk international. The decision-making body for this is the World Radio Conference . The regulations and specifications that are binding for the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany are contained in the of August 27, 2013 ( Federal Law Gazette I p. 3326 ). In it, the individual bands are assigned to specific radio services on a primary or secondary basis; Not all amateur radio bands can therefore be used by radio amateurs alone. For example, the frequency range 144–146 MHz in the 2 meter band in Europe is reserved for use by amateur radio services and is primarily used by them. The 23 cm band (1240–1300 MHz) is assigned to amateur radio on a secondary basis . Radio amateurs have to set up their broadcasting operations there in such a way that the primary radio services are not disturbed and, in turn, have to accept interference.
Usually, frequency ranges for ITU region 1 (Europe, Africa, Russia), region 2 (America) and / or 3 (rest of Asia and Oceania) are assigned with the consideration that radio waves cannot be stopped by political borders. Particularly in higher frequency ranges, due to the reduction in the spread of EM waves, nationally different frequency range assignments for the amateur radio service are possible. In Scandinavia, for example, the 70 cm amateur radio band is only 6 MHz wide (432–438 MHz), while in the rest of Europe it is 10 MHz wide (430–440 MHz).
The amateur radio associations draw up band plans within the individual amateur radio bands. Traditionally, the lowest band section on shortwave is allocated exclusively to telegraphy (Morse code), while telephony (radiotelephony) is operated at the upper end. In recent years there has been a gradual transition from sorting according to individual operating modes to sorting according to bandwidths used. The idea behind this is that modulation types with low bandwidths also require lower transmission powers and that weaker transmitters interfere less with one another than very strong transmitters do to weak transmitters. In addition, digitalization means that there are a large number of operating modes for which exclusive tape sections can no longer be made available.
Various projects and offers for young radio amateurs have emerged within the amateur radio sector. Some international events are listed below:
- Youngsters On The Air (YOTA) is a group of young radio amateurs from IARU Region 1. Most are under 26 years of age. There are a variety of activities, such as YOTA Month in December. The Youth Contesting Program (YCP) enables youngsters to participate in contests at excellent stations. The YOTA Camps (Subregional) offer a framework for exchange in all areas of amateur radio with other youngsters.
- Kids' Day on the first Sunday in January and the third Saturday in June (an idea from the American Radio Relay League ARRL).
- Europe Day school stations respectively on May 5, initiated by the German working group Amateur Radio and Telecommunications in the school e. V.
- Young Helpers on the Air (YHOTA) on the second weekend in May and on the last Saturday in September, an international meeting of the youth groups of the aid organizations and school medical services on the amateur radio bands.
- Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) on the third full weekend in October, a worldwide gathering of scouts with the help of amateur radio stations.
There are also many other regional and local events, such as youth field days , holiday fun activities, handicrafts and youth groups. At schools and universities there are often club stations (school stations) as well as projects for radio contact with the International Space Station ISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station ( ARISS )).
A magazine sees the interests of young radio amateurs as follows (as of November 2006): “A Dutch survey among young people about what they care about most about amateur radio resulted in the following ranking of interests: contests, diplomas, QRP (!) , Radio and PC, amateur radio in groups, emergency radio, natural phenomena, radio and astronomy. ”However, QRP refers to the self-construction of simple radio devices with low power.
QSL cards and amateur radio diplomas
Radio connections are confirmed with QSL cards . QSL cards from amateur radio countries where there are very few or no radio amateurs, but also from rarely working or difficult to reach amateur radio stations such as the International Space Station or from prominent radio amateurs such as Juan Carlos of Spain are particularly popular . The hunt for distant amateur radio stations is called DXing . The QSL cards will be sent either to its own Amateur Radio Association to the amateur radio organizations in the country - or sent directly to the address that you leave the Callbook receives.
There are now websites for this purpose: If both communication partners enter matching connection data, the connection is considered confirmed.
For certain services, for example for radio contacts in a certain number of areas, amateur radio diplomas are issued. This usually requires collecting QSL cards or electronic confirmations for the application beforehand.
Radio amateurs around the world organize themselves in interest groups. They also offer courses to prepare for the amateur radio examination and represent the interests of radio amateurs vis-à-vis politics and society.
- in Germany: DARC eV (German Amateur Radio Club eV) and VFDB eV (Association of Radio Amateurs in Telecommunications and Post eV)
- in Austria: ÖVSV (Austrian Association of Experimental Broadcasters)
- in Switzerland: USKA (Union of Swiss Shortwave Amateurs)
- in Luxembourg: RL (Réseau Luxembourgeois des Amateurs d'Ondes Courtes)
The courses often take place at schools, adult education centers or universities. As a training standard work has u. a. the book series by Eckart KW Moltrecht, DJ4UF established. Training stations are licensed for practical training. The use of a training call sign then offers the opportunity to observe radio operations under the supervision of an amateur radio operator even before the amateur radio test, and thus to try out and consolidate the knowledge acquired.
The history of the amateur radio service
The pioneers of radio technology such as Heinrich Hertz or Guglielmo Marconi laid the foundations for today's radio technology in the last two decades of the 19th century. In the pioneering days there were only a few regulations. This led to chaos on the frequencies in many countries. In 1906 the Convention Radiotélégraphique Internationale was decided in Berlin , which, for example, obliged larger ships to operate a radio station. The United States only ratified this convention a few months before the Titanic disaster.
When the RMS Titanic sank in 1912, better communication could have significantly reduced the number of casualties. In the USA, this led to the Radio Act of 1912 , which among other things referred "private radio stations" to wavelengths below 200 m (over 1.5 MHz), limited their transmission power to 1 kW input and introduced official call signs. At the time, these shortwave frequencies were considered worthless because they mistakenly assumed that the range was limited. The 2nd World Radio Treaty of 1912 speaks for the first time of "private radio stations" without defining the term in more detail. The term "radio amateur" officially appears at the 1927 Washington World Wave Conference.
In the USA there were experimental stations until 1939 , the call sign scheme of which corresponds to that used by US radio amateurs to this day (1–2 letters from the US ITU call sign block , 1 number, 1–3 letters). In 1939 such experimental stations were allowed to move to the commercial camp, then of course with the call signs of 3–4 letters, which are still common today.
The history of the amateur radio service was very different in the individual states. Many countries, such as the USA , Great Britain and France , were very liberal on the subject and encouraged development. In 1905, the British Postmaster General issued the first printed experiment licenses to amateurs.
In the USA from 1905 the "Telimco-Telegraph" was freely available for $ 8.50, with which one could cover about a mile. Due to the First World War , private radio operations were also banned in the USA from 1914 to 1919.
Germany until 1945
Until 1924 only the "Law on Telegraphing of the German Reich" of April 6, 1892, which guaranteed the state absolute telecommunications monopoly, was in force. On May 24, 1924, the Reich Ministry of Post published an order that reorganized broadcasting. From then on, private individuals could acquire the “Audion attempt permit”, which allowed the possession and operation of a simple receiver. That was just a permit to receive. Until then, even the possession of a recipient was forbidden. A few club stations were licensed in Germany, while in Great Britain there were already 1200 officially licensed radio amateurs at the same time. At the end of May 1933, 180 old “black radio operators” were officially licensed - probably for propaganda reasons. When the war began on September 1, 1939, all 529 licenses were withdrawn.
During the Second World War , a low three-digit number of war radio permits (KFSG) was issued. During the war, the value of the knowledge that radio amateurs had acquired was recognized and attempts were made to make it usable in industry or in radio stations.
Federal Republic of Germany after 1945
After the collapse of the German Reich, Allied military law initially applied separately to each of the four zones of occupation. Uncontrolled communication is always suspect in such cases. Cross-zone organizations were not possible, communication and travel were difficult. The French administration was significantly more restrictive than the British and, above all, the American. The Soviet zone was almost completely isolated. The first shortwave conference after the war took place in Stuttgart on June 7th and 8th, 1947 and had around 500 participants. Many gentlemen's agreements were possible in the American and British zones. In 1947 the QSL card agency “Box 585, Stuttgart” was opened.
The organization and discipline of the German radio amateurs had to pass their test in the period from April 23 to 30, 1948: The German radio amateurs committed themselves to absolute radio silence to the military government, which was almost completely observed. Subsequently, the events rolled over: From May 8th to 9th, 1948, a shortwave conference took place in Bad Lauterberg, at which the amateur radio associations of the western zones united. Shortly afterwards, the Deutsche Post announced that from May 1948 amateur radio license exams would take place. The Amateur Radio Act did not take place until January 19, 1949. This made it possible to officially issue amateur radio licenses in the United Economic Area. The first amateur radio law is therefore older than the German constitution.
The Saarland had been annexed by France after the war and was no longer considered part of Germany. The first amateur radio law came into force on April 4, 1951. On January 1, 1954, 3389 radio amateurs were licensed in the Federal Republic of Germany. On December 31, 2017, 64,548 class A and E radio amateurs were registered with the Federal Network Agency. The high point of the number was the cut-off date (December 31st) of the year 2002 with 80,874 amateur radio approvals. Since then, this number has steadily decreased. In 2019 there were only 63,070 amateur radio licenses.
The first official mention of amateur radio in the area of the GDR came in 1950 as part of the Free German Youth (FDJ). There were "interest groups for special sports " from which the Society for Sport and Technology (GST) emerged. A letter from the initiative committee for founding the GST mentions young people's demand to practice amateur radio. The GST then published the magazine Sport und Technik , which regularly contained news articles. This resulted in the magazine Funkamateur , which was privatized after the fall of the Wall and which still exists today.
On February 6, 1953, the "Ordinance on Amateur Radio" was announced. The first licenses were issued on July 14, 1953. An amateur radio license in the GDR was always linked to membership in the Society for Sport and Technology (GST).
The GST promoted the establishment of so-called club stations through material donations, where several radio amateurs could use the mostly self-built technology together. Occasionally the club stations were provided with new commercial equipment - examples are the Dabendorf KW receiver and the Teltow 215B transceiver - as well as isolated equipment from the armed organs of the GDR . In addition to the club station manager (chief operator) there were licensed so-called co - users of the amateur radio station, whose callsign was derived from the station callsign. The club stations have made a great contribution to training those interested in amateur radio. After a successful examination in accordance with the Amateur Radio Act of the GDR and approval by the MfS, private licenses were issued to individuals.
On April 23, 1954, the first license certificate was issued to the President of the OeVSV, Erwin Heitler, OE1ER.
However, amateur radio activities in Austria are much older: The Austrian Experimental Broadcasters Association (OeVSV) was founded in 1926 (according to another source: October 1925). The "OEM", the newsletter of the OeVSV, appeared from 1933 to 1938 (probably until Austria was annexed to the German Reich) and then again from 1945.
As was customary at the time, amateur radio began in Switzerland as "black radio" around the First World War. From July 1, 1925, it was legally possible to take the examination for a broadcasting license at the Obertelegraphen-Direktion . The first license was issued in April 1926. The first official callsigns had the prefix H9, which was replaced by HB9 before 1930.
Aspects of amateur radio
Amateur radio has given many technically interested people access to electronics and telecommunications. In this way, amateur radio made a considerable contribution to the promotion of young technical and scientific talent. Institutions such as the Deutsche Bundespost , Deutsche Telekom , the Technische Hilfswerk or the Bundeswehr promoted amateur radio accordingly . In the German Democratic Republic , amateur radio was part of paramilitary training; Access to amateur radio was only possible through the Society for Sport and Technology .
An important task of amateur radio should be international understanding. Yes, connections between radio amateurs from West and East were also possible during the Cold War , although the message content was restricted due to the system and regulations. Today, however, the internet and low telephone or flight costs offer good alternatives, but not in emerging countries with low internet coverage.
The attraction of amateur radio lies in knowing the geographic location of the remote station in order to be able to draw conclusions about the establishment of the connection via the ionosphere.
Amateur radio in emergencies and disasters
The amateur radio has always provided lasting support in disaster relief . Natural disasters and major loss events repeatedly lead to the complete failure of the regular communication infrastructure, particularly in large-scale countries and fragile infrastructure.
Historically, amateur radio links were used in Central Europe during the Hamburg storm surge or the Galtür avalanche disaster because other communication channels had failed. During the multinational FloodEx exercise, modeled after the flood disaster of 1953 , emergency operators mainly from the Netherlands and Great Britain were firmly involved in 2009 because the situation simulated the extensive failure of the trunked radio network TETRA . Amateur radio is also an important pillar of communication between helpers deployed abroad and their home country, because license-free satellite telephone technology does not always work reliably.
In sparsely populated regions of the world with inadequate telecommunications infrastructure, amateur radio can be the first means of transmitting messages in emergencies or disasters. The freedom of the amateur radio service also enables unconventional solutions such as a 2 m and 80 m relay in Namibia: around Windhoek you can use it like a normal VHF relay, while radio amateurs in the rest of the country use the 80 m access can. The rest of the world can be easily reached via the Echolink connection.
Many a life has been saved by the transmission of an emergency call by radio amateurs and many a member of a disaster victim was able to find out something about the whereabouts of a relative in this way.
In the densely populated regions of the world, such as the industrialized countries of the northern hemisphere, there are now a large number of public and official means of communication. Disasters from the Hamburg storm surge in 1962 to the earthquake and tsunami disasters in the Indian Ocean in December 2004 and in Japan in 2011 have shown that these high-tech public communication networks are susceptible to interference.
Even if emergency services with their own radio systems are on site, amateur radio can play an important role: Many of the radio systems used are not interoperable , and emergency service A cannot establish radio contact with emergency service B. Radio amateurs can often bridge this limit with their own technology and with the knowledge acquired during their hobby.
Changing environment of amateur radio in Germany
Since around 1990, amateur radio has been less clearly noticed in society, which is clearly noticeable in the small number of offspring. There are many reasons for this: Young people have a multitude of opportunities for a technical hobby. The unique selling point of amateur radio, the use of high-frequency technology, is often no longer considered necessary when the Internet is freely accessible. The entry threshold for obtaining an amateur radio license is highly formalized. In an urban environment there are hardly any possibilities to set up antennas.
Other circumstances that can adversely affect amateur radio:
- Wireless communication has become easier and ubiquitous for users. The underlying digital systems are, however, more complex and hardly allow the user to deal with the underlying ( hardware ) technology.
- The fascination of radio contact with unknown radio partners from all over the world can now also be experienced in chat rooms and in Internet forums.
- Due to the enormous spread of cell phones etc., it is possible for everyone to quickly exchange information with other people, which was previously a privilege of radio amateurs with their portable radio devices.
- Classic, simple and inexpensive entry-level sources such as shortwave receivers (SWL) until the mid-1970s or CB radio until the end of the 1990s have dried up without a replacement.
- The proliferation of inadequate and cheap electronic devices leads to more and more problems with non-compliance with electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) . In amateur radio, for example, interference from cable television or radiated interference from electronic devices due to poorly executed installations. Powerline Communication (PLC), in particular, is a very big problem for which amateur radio associations also bring model lawsuits.
- The self-construction of amateur radio equipment has declined since around 1970 and has been replaced by buying finished equipment or combining finished assemblies and components. This was made easier by the fact that these components were now only a fraction of their previous prices. Radio amateurs who only use commercial products and hardly ever build them themselves are also jokingly referred to as "socket amateurs". Modern concepts such as software defined radio encourage the self-construction of simple constructions with excellent performance.
Even today, publications of scientific quality can be observed from the area of amateur radio. Innovative techniques are being researched in amateur radio satellites. At many universities there are associations of radio amateurs whose members, mostly students and employees of technical subjects, in self-organized teamwork, sometimes realize very demanding and complex projects. These are usually carried out as a hobby project with an already existing professional qualification. For example, engineers from the University of Wuppertal experimented with digital amateur radio television ( DATV ) from the University of Wuppertal . An amateur radio group at the Technical University of Munich experimented with satellite communication . The amateur radio group of RWTH Aachen University at the Institute for High Frequency Technology also combines academic engineering with practically implemented amateur radio.
Perspectives - the possible future development
Many observers assume that amateur radio will continue to lose its attractiveness overall, but that it will remain interesting in its niche, high-frequency technology . As a supplement and practical test field for digital applications in combination with high-frequency technology, it complements the courses at universities and technical colleges.
Due to the general availability of IT technology as well as online applications for wireless networking, amateur radio technology has lost some of its special appeal. The general availability of communication technology and mobile radio technology serves a large part of the needs of those interested in technology.
A contrary trend shows the increasing interest in amateur radio applications in the QRP area, transmission with low power. Since around 2003, the topic of software-defined radio has increasingly been in the focus of radio amateurs, which is associated with a significant revival of the self-assembly (from components) of radio devices and their own or further development. With the WebSDR accessible on the Internet, amateur radio bands can also be received on the Internet without a physical receiving device on the computer.
The influence of digitization on amateur radio cannot yet be fully assessed. On the one hand, there are more and more digital transmission methods from PSK31 to HAMNET. On the other hand, digital technology is becoming cheaper and more powerful, so that the devices used have fewer and fewer functions in conventional analog technology. This can be seen very clearly with software defined radio. The self-construction activities of radio amateurs will clearly move away from the soldering iron and towards the use of computers.
Freifunk does not count as amateur radio. The Freifunker are interested in radio relay and network technology . They distribute free WiFi for everyone, network with each other via WiFi and radio link connections over distances of up to 30 kilometers.
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