What is Amateur Radio?

Amateur radio is a community of people that use radio transmitters and receivers to communicate with other Amateur radio operators. The things that amateur radio operators do with their radios are as diverse as the people themselves.

Amateur radio operators are often called ham radio operators or simply "hams".

Amateur (HAM) Radio is both a Hobby activity and Service. It is an activity of Self Learning, Inter-Communication & Technical Investigation carried on the duly authorized persons (i.e. Amateur Radio Operators) for a personal aim and without pecuniary interest. There are over 30 lakh people all over the world who pursue this activity in their free time, in India we have around 15000 amateur radio operators.

Amateur Radio Operators have to qualify in an examination conducted by Ministry of Communications & IT, Government of India and obtain license for operating / possessing a Radio Station.

Things you can to do with amateur radio

Amateur Radio operators in their free time use their radio stations and conduct two-way communication and exchange cultural, personal, technical information with other amateurs not only within India but all over the world. The two-way communications using Radio Transmitters, receivers, antennae can be either through Voice, Morse Code, Digital (Video  & Data) or through Satellites.

 •HF radios hams can talk to other hams in literally any part of the globe.

 •VHF and UHF transceivers hams enjoy extremely reliable communications within their local community.

 •QRP - Communicating with "very low power" is a challenge that many hams enjoy. QRP is usually practiced on the HF bands.  

There are several Digital Amateur Radio communication techniques that allow Hams to exchange text messages, send emails or even connect to Internet.   

•Amateur Television - It's just like real television because it is real television.  

•Slow Scan TV - Send pictures around the world for little or no cost.  

•Contests - You can put your radio operating skills up against other hams and teams of hams.

•Emergency and other volunteer services - Floods, landslides, tsunamis, earthquakes, cyclones, accidents (Rail / Road / Air). When ever `normal' communications go out, hams are ready to use their radios to provide emergency communication services to their communities.

 •Satellite communications - Hams operate using their own satellites for world wide communication using Walkie-Talkies or Base Stations.

Who issues Amateur Radio License in India? 

Asst. Wireless Adviser to Government of India
Ministry of Communications & Information Technology
Department of Telecommunications
Wireless Planning & Coordination Wing
6th Floor, Sanchar Bhavan, 20 Ashoka Road
New Delhi 110001, India


                                        How to become a Ham?

Any individual above the age of 12 can became a ham in India after qualifying in Amateur Station Operators Certificate examination.


The Officer-In-Charge, Wireless Monitoring Station, Dept. of Telecommunication under Ministry of Communication & Information Technology, Govt. of India is the authority for conducting the examination in their own town provided there are sufficient number of applicants.


There are 2 grades of licences:

  1. Restricted Grade  -Permitting use of Medium power. (1 hour exam)

  2. General Grade      - Permitting use of Higher power.  (2 hour exam)

The syllabus consists of  Basic Electronics and Communication Procedure and the exam is of objective type.


To qualify in General Grade one must qualify in  Morse Code at 8 words per minute.


It takes just a few weeks training to become eligible for the examination.


Basic knowledge can be obtained by purchasing study manuals, books on Morse Code from NIAR. There are many ways to go about preparing for and taking your ham radio license test.


•Self-study - Collect the study material and try to learn it yourself. Lot of information is available on internet now a days.


•Local clubs - For those that like a structured approach, many clubs organize classes to prepare people for their ham radio license test. 


The exam fee is Rs. 100 per grade


Amateur Radio licences are issued after clearance by Home Ministry, Govt. of India.


The licence fee for 20 years is Rs.1000/- and Rs.2000/- for life time

Operating An Amateur Radio Station

Amateur Radio Transceivers can be made by enthusiasts with locally available components. Several Hams have come up with their circuit design, PCBs and construction of low cost Amateur Radio equipment.

There are several International brands that sell their Amateur Radio equipment in India with network chain of dealers. You could buy any equipment that fits in your budget from these dealers. The prices ranges widely  from model, make, manufacturer and features.  Some popular brands are Kenwood, Icom, Yaesu, Alinco etc.


Amateur Radio equipments are on sale at Hamfests and at other get together of Hams.


Licenced Hams in Hyderabad can operate from the club station located at National Institute of Amateur Radio.