Most of the time, it's the most fun you can have with a radio. It's a way to talk with people around the world, or even orbiting the world; to send e-mail without any sort of internet connection, and to keep in touch with friends across town or across the country. But it is called the "Amateur Radio Service" because it also has a serious face. It is also a very important public safety communications system. When cell phones, land line phones, the internet, and other systems are down or overloaded, Amateur Radio still gets the message through. Radio amateurs, often called “hams,” enjoy radio technology as a hobby –that’s the fun part. But it is also a service –a vital service that has saved lives again and again when regular communication systems fail.
Amateur Radio kept New York City agencies in touch with each other on September 11th. When hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma destroyed other communications, ham radio provided vital life-and-death capabilities until systems could be rebuilt. Countless lives have been saved where skilled hams acted as emergency communicators to render aid, whether it is during fires, floods, earthquakes or a tornado. But most of the time, hams do what they do because it is just plain fun!