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Amateurs on air
From the Past
When the hobby began 100 years ago the only form of radio communication was by what we know as wireless telegraphy -or more commonly: morse code – a series of dots and dashes or short and long bursts of signal , a binary code language. Amateur wireless experimenters used the same techniques as the professional operators who in turn had taken the code from the earlier days when it was used in the wire based telegraph system… This form of communication has survived to still be in use today – and has become an international language enabling people who can’t speak the same language, to communicate. Telegraphy has however been long overtaken by other methods which are more efficient and advanced.
Into the Future
Voice and Data Communications Now Where Next
Up until the 1920’s wireless telegraphy was the only way to transmit and receive information on the airwaves. But radio amateurs pioneered voice communications in the mid-1920s at the time when broadcast stations began. Although the transmission and reception techniques have changed over the years with technical developments, voice communication remains the major method of communicating on the amateur bands. However there are increasing use of Internet linkages through such methods as Echolink , IRLP and D-Star which allow amateur radio communications to be routed via the internet.. Increasingly new methods of data transmission are being developed such as PSK31 which allow text and other data to be sent at reasonable data rates. Amateur radio has always been active in the transmission of images by radio and there are many amateurs active in Television experimentation.
Communication of positional information through amateur radio based Automatic Positional Reporting Systems (APRS) is also a growing aspect of the hobby. Let’s not forget the advances being made by amateurs in communication at the microwave and above frequencies in both data and voice including experimentation in transmissions and receptions in the visible and Infra red light spectrum. While amateur radio is about communication, it is also about every aspect of information technology and electronics – the future of amateur radio is indeed limited only by our imagination
Wireless Institute of Australia