eHam.net News — Have you ever wondered about amateur radio? The people who are involved in the hobby are called hams. Most of us are unsure of the origin of the “ham” title, but we do generally like to “ham it up” on our radios. For the uninitiated, amateur radio is a licensed form of communication over moderate to very long distance, using two-way radio. Many old-timers got involved long before the introduction of computers and cellphones. So, many people today think of the ham radio operator as a historical oddity. However, there are far more licensed radio amateurs today than ever before. Why? Amateur radio is a hobby with some serious aspects. First, like many other hobbies, it is fun. Most of us enjoy chatting on the radio with other hams around the area. Others seek out contacts with hams around the country or the world. But then there are the many amateurs who help out in emergency communications through ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service). And those who provide support for public service events such as the Whiskey Row Marathon and several bike races held in the Prescott area. These folks are trained in proper radio technique for the services they perform. Today, many new amateurs got started because of an interest in being personally prepared for accidents or disasters. Before you think that the later group are all a strange clan of weird doomsday freaks, consider that our electric power network (the grid) is getting old and seriously in need of updating. We all depend on communications of some type daily. What if the power in the area were down for only a few days? No television, phone or newspaper. Cellphone service depends on electricity for its network as well. Most amateurs today use radios powered by batteries. Power can be derived from our autos or small solar arrays as well.