You can communicate from the top of a mountain, your home or behind the wheel of your car, all without relying on the Internet or a cell phone network You can take radio wherever you go! In times of disaster, when regular communications channels fail, hams can swing into action assisting emergency communications efforts and working with public service agencies. For instance, the Amateur Radio Service kept New York City agencies in touch with each other after their command center was destroyed during the 9/11 tragedy. Ham radio also came to the rescue during Hurricane Katrina, where all other communications failed.
Amateur radio operators can communicate through a wide variety of methods. The ever reliable Morse code, the common Voice, and the more recent Data, where an operator can send not only text, but also images and even emails! You can speak with someone across a park, or amateur operators across the world by bouncing your signal across the atmosphere, satellite relays in space and even off of the moon and the auroras. With minimal equipment you can even talk with astronauts aboard the International Space Station!
The Ham radio hobby isn’t just about talking with others, many hobbyists like to build and experiment with their own electronics. Digital communications catch the eye of computer hobbyists. and There are many forms of contesting where in the operator attempts to contact as many locations as they can. No matter what brings you to the hobby, Ham operators form friendships and communities over the air and in person, with over 600,000 hams in the United States and over 2,000,000 World wide, there is always someone to talk to!