Welcome to the RAIBC website (Charity No. 802348)
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Why might you be interested in amateur radio?
Amateur radio is a way to communicate far and wide using radio equipment and aerials.
Contrary to some people’s impression of the hobby, amateur radio is a hobby of today and of the future. Anything that receives or transmits owes its existence to radio and radio amateurs. The radio in your kitchen, the television in your living room, the mobile phone in your pocket, the weather satellite in the sky and the GPS system in your car all work on radio. Amateurs were, are and always will be at the forefront of technology. Astronauts on the International Space Station are frequently licensed amateurs, and yes YOU can speak to them with your radio equipment and your license. In addition radio amateurs are called on to provide emergency communication in times of local, national and international crises.
Amateur radio often appeals to people with disabilities as it enables communication without leaving the home. It is a way to ‘travel’ the world and meet its inhabitants despite ones health problems. It is also an excellent form of self education in communications equipment, electronics and the effect of the weather and the sun on communications. Much, if not all, of this can be accomplished and enjoyed no matter what ones disabilities are. In addition there is no minimum activity required. An amateur can do as much or as little as they like or are able to do. Great satisfaction and enjoyment can and will be had.
Amateurs are able to enjoy the hobby despite many different problems. Those with visual impairments, speech impediments, hearing loss, paralysis and many other difficulties can and do enjoy amateur radio.
There are too many different angles to amateur radio to describe them all. However it is possible to communicate using a microphone to talk to others, a computer for digital transmissions or a morse key for morse code. Pictures and video can also be transmitted. Contacts can be made with friends in the same town or on another continent. Many different experiments can be conducted as well. Sometimes individuals conduct their own small experiments using different modes or aerials. Others get involved in larger experiments involving groups of amateurs. Then there are competitions to see who can communicate with the most number of amateurs in a given period. Other competitions involve chasing contact with amateurs in particular countries, islands, mountains, castles and so on. The list is seemingly endless.
How can RAIBC help?
We have years of experience in assisting people to become amateurs. We can provide the license course material in an audio format. We can also provide transmitting or receiving equipment to eligible members. The equipment can be adapted to ensure that a persons disabilities do not become an obstacle to operating a radio. For example providing a radio with a voice chip which will “speak” the frequency and mode that is in use. We can also provide lots of advice on what equipment to use, aerials to put up and of course a group of like minded individuals who understand each others problems.
Want to become an amateur?
In the UK the license system has 3 tiers, the Foundation license, the Intermediate and the Advanced. The foundation is an introduction to amateur radio and when completed you will be able to get a license, a callsign and then transmit and enjoy radio. As previously mentioned the entire course is available from us in an audio format. The course has a practical section which requires you to have a contact on the radio and show an understanding of Morse code. You will then sit a short exam with the results given to you on the day. Those with disabilities are catered for. If you are housebound the exam can be taken at your home. If you are visually impaired the exam can be read to you. The foundation is an excellent way to get started. If you are eligible RAIBC would then be pleased to loan you equipment to get on air.
Please feel free to contact us and we will be pleased to assist you as much as we can. We can help you find your nearest course and exam centre and a local club. Many amateurs are happy to assist those starting out in the hobby and RAIBC has supporters up and down the country. Generally there are foundation courses available in most parts of the country.
Please also consider joining RAIBC. That way you can benefit fully from all our services and enjoy the club.