Amateur Radio is the hobby of radio communications. It is an enjoyable and educational pastime enjoyed by people of all ages, from all walks of life. Some people are interested in the ability to talk to people all over the world by air, even by satellite. Some people are interested in the competitive aspects of Ham Radio contests, while still other participate in the electronics aspects of the hobby.
It is important to note that Ham Radio is a hobby and nothing more. No one is a professional; no one makes a living at it. In fact, communications laws prohibit licensed operators from accepting any money in return for any of their services associated with amateur radio.
Amateur radio operators enjoy the privilege of being able to make daily use of one of the most effective methods of communications we know. “Hams” have large portions of the radio spectrum open to their use, as opposed to CBers, who are limited to a few specified channels. Hams may use much more powerful transmitters, and they may use television signals.
One of the most important features of Amateur Radio, as far as the general public is concerned, is it's ability to handle emergency communications. In cases of fire, earthquakes, or other natural disasters, hams step in with portable, powerful and versatile equipment. They can, on a moments notice, provide communications to a block, a city or even an entire region. Amateur emergency communications proved critical for relief efforts during the severe ice storms of January 1998, which left thousands in Central and Northern New York without electricity and telephone service for days. The CARC is also part of the University's Disaster Recovery plan for future events. Hams set aside one day each year to practice emergency communications. On that day, known as “Field Day” each ham operates “portable” or without conventional power sources.