Glossary of Important Amateur Radio Terms

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Glossary of Amateur radio Terms

Glossary of Amateur Radio Terms

  • 73
    • 73 stands for “Best Regards” So the answer the “which is the correct way, 73 or 73s?” question? The correct way is 73. As you can see the word Regards is already a plural form, so by adding the “s” after 73, it makes it a double plural, “Regardses”. Link to be added.
  • AM (Amplitude Modulation)
  • AMSAT (AMateur SATellite)
    • The Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation (as AMSAT is officially known) was first formed in the District of Columbia in 1969 as an educational organization. Its goal was to foster Amateur Radio’s participation in space research and communication. AMSAT was founded to continue the efforts, begun in 1961, by Project OSCAR, a west coast USA-based group which built and launched the very first Amateur Radio satellite, OSCAR, on December 12, 1961, barely four years after the launch of Russia’s first Sputnik.
  • APRS
    • Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) is an amateur radio-based system for real time digital communications of information of immediate value in the local area.[1] Data can include object Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates, weather station telemetry, text messages, announcements, queries, and other telemetry. APRS data can be displayed on a map, which can show stations, objects, tracks of moving objects, weather stations, search and rescue data, and direction finding data.
  • ARES
    • The Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES) consists of licensed amateurs who have voluntarily registered their qualifications and equipment, with their local ARES leadership, for communications duty in the public service when disaster strikes.
  • Capillary Effect
    • Capillary action occurs because water is sticky, thanks to the forces of cohesion (water molecules like to stay close together) and adhesion (water molecules are attracted and stick to other substances).
  • Collinear Antenna
    • In telecommunications, when two or more dipole antennas are vertically stacked in such a way that their corresponding elements are parallel and collinear with each other, it is called a collinear antenna array. The antennas are mounted in such a way that every element of each antenna is in an extension of other antenna stacked upon it.
  • Coronal Holes
    • Coronal holes are associated with "open" magnetic field lines and are often although not exclusively found at the Sun's poles. The high-speed solar wind is known to originate from them and this has an impact on ionospheric radio propagation conditions and hence on all HF radio communications.
  • Diddle Stick
    • This is the term used to mean non conductive screwdrivers and other tools that are used on electronics that plugged in and turned on. Some times you have to work on them when they are live. Like adjusting the deviation on an FM transmitter.
  • Elmer
    • An Elmer is the Ham Radio term for a mentor, a helpful Ham that provides advice, encouragement, and assistance to fellow Hams. Most Hams have an Elmer at some point to help them get started and guide them on their first steps in Amateur Radio.
  • Geomagnetic Storm
    • During storms, the currents in the ionosphere, as well as the energetic particles that precipitate into the ionosphere add energy in the form of heat that can increase the density and distribution of density in the upper atmosphere, causing extra drag on satellites in low-earth orbit. The local heating also creates strong horizontal variations in the in the ionospheric density that can modify the path of radio signals and create errors in the positioning information provided by GPS. While the storms create beautiful aurora, they also can disrupt navigation systems such as the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and create harmful geomagnetic induced currents (GICs) in the power grid and pipelines.
  • Ground Radials
    • When used in the context of antenna construction, radials are physical objects: Wires running away from the base of the antenna, used to augment the conductivity of the ground near the base of the antenna. The radial wires either may run above the surface of the earth, on the surface, or buried a centimeter or so under the earth. The ends of the wires nearest the antenna base are connected to the antenna system electrical ground, and the far ends are either unconnected, or connected to metal stakes driven into the earth.
  • Ionosphere
    • The ionosphere is shell of electrons and electrically charged atoms and molecules (ions) that surrounds the Earth, stretching from a height of about 50 km (31 mi) to more than 1,000 km (620 mi).  Because this band is electrically active the ionosphere is able to reflect or refract electromagnetic radiation at certain frequencies, the HF bands in particular.  For most hams communicating beyond line of sight is a big deal and the ionosphere is what makes long distance (DX) contacts commonplace.
  • Isotropic Radiator
  • Morse Code / Continuous Wave (CW)
    • Morse Code, either of two systems for representing letters of the alphabet, numerals, and punctuation marks by an arrangement of dots, dashes, and spaces.
    • The codes are transmitted as electrical pulses of varied lengths or analogous mechanical or visual signals, such as flashing lights.
    • One of the systems was invented in the United States by American artist and inventor Samuel F.B. Morse during the 1830s for electrical telegraphy. This version was further improved by American scientist and businessman Alfred Lewis Vail, Morse’s assistant and partner.
    • Soon after its introduction in Europe, it became apparent that the original Morse Code was inadequate for the transmission of much non-English text, since it lacked codes for letters with diacritic marks.
    • To remedy this deficiency, a variant called the International Morse Code was devised by a conference of European nations in 1851. This newer code is also called Continental Morse Code.
  • Motor Boating
    • motorboating is a type of low frequency parasitic oscillation (unwanted cyclic variation of the output voltage) that sometimes occurs in audio and radio equipment and often manifests itself as a sound similar to an idling motorboat engine, a "put-put-put", in audio output from speakers or earphones.
  • MUF (Maximum Usable Frequency)
  • Silent Key
    • When referring to a person, the phrase Silent Key, and its abbreviation SK, is a euphemism for an amateur radio operator who is deceased.
    • The procedural signal "SK" (or "VA") has historically been used in Morse code as the last signal sent from a station before ending operation,[28] usually just before shutting off the transmitter.
    • Since this was the last signal received by other operators, the code was adopted to refer to any amateur radio operator who is deceased, regardless of whether they were known to have used telegraphy in their communications.
  • Solar Flare
    • Solar flares are enormous explosions that occur on the surface of the Sun. They result in the emission of colossal mounts of energy. In addition to this, the larger solar flares also eject large amounts of material mainly in the form of protons.
  • Sunspot Cycle
    • Most shortwave radio users know that there is a correlation between sunspots and propagation conditions. Sunspots are dark regions on the surface of the Sun, which are cooler than surrounding areas. They occur when the lines of the Sun’s magnetic field become twisted. There are more sunspots when the Sun is more active and produces more radiation which can affect the Earth’s ionosphere.
    • The Flayer of the ionosphere is caused mostly by ultraviolet radiation from the Sun. During times of high solar activity, there is more radiation from the Sun, and the resulting higher ionization levels in the F layer allow higher frequencies to be reflected. For example, around solar maximum, the 10-meter band (28 to 30 MHz) is frequently open for extended periods of time, and long distances can be worked with rather low power levels.
    • The D layer is also ionized more during the solar maximum, resulting in more attenuation, especially at the lower frequencies.
  • The Amateur's Code
    • The Radio Amateur is:
      • CONSIDERATE….. never knowingly operating in such a way as to lessen the pleasure of others.
      • LOYAL….. offering loyalty, encouragement and support to other amateurs, local clubs and the American Radio Relay League, through which Amateur Radio in the United States is represented nationally and internationally.
      • PROGRESSIVE….. with knowledge abreast of science, a well built and efficient station, and operation beyond reproach.
      • FRIENDLY….. with slow and patient operation when requested, friendly advice and counsel to the beginner, kindly assistance, co-operation and consideration for the interests of others. These are the hallmarks of the amateur spirit.
      • BALANCED….. Radio is an avocation, never interfering with duties owed to family, job, school or community.
      • PATRIOTIC….. with station and skill always ready for service to country and community.
  • Voltage Drop
    • Voltage drop is defined as the amount of voltage loss that occurs through all or part of a circuit due to impedance.
  • Watt
  • Watt Meter
  • Wire Gauge
    • a gauge especially for measuring the diameter of wire or the thickness of sheet metal
    • any of various systems consisting of a series of standard sizes used in describing the diameter of wire or the thickness of sheet metal
  • Woodpecker (Russian Woodpecker)
    • During the 1970's and 1980's, anyone who owned a shortwave or ham radio would have been very familiar with a sharp, repetitive "rat tat tat tat" noise. This interference permeated the airwaves and disrupted over air communications and television signals all over the world. This characteristic tapping sound gave the device(s) its now-famous nickname "The Russian Woodpecker" aka the Duga Radar system.
  • WWV
    • NIST radio station WWV broadcasts time and frequency information 24 hours per day, 7 days per week to millions of listeners worldwide. WWV is located near Fort Collins, Colorado, about 100 kilometers north of Denver. The broadcast information includes time announcements, standard time intervals, standard frequencies, UT1 time corrections, a BCD time code, and geophysical alerts.

Terms used on Resonant Frequency and Richard's Radio Adventures

  • Anti-Elmer
    • The Anti-Elmer is distinguished by the following characteristics
    • Treats other radio operators like they are stupid when they ask simple questions because they want to learn
    • Uses advanced terminology instead of simple English to explain simple concepts
    • Does his best to belittle new radio operator so he can feel self important
    • Not to be confused with the Clueless Extra that has his own particular stick up his butt
  • Clueless EXTRA
    • Operator that decided to get his / her Amateur Radio License because they had to get off Citizens Band for whatever reason
    • Operator that decided to get his / her Amateur Radio License because they thought it would be a fun little hobby like Golf, Needle Point, Fishing, Rubber Band Collecting, Developing New Make-up Tips, etc.
    • Operator that decided to get his / her Amateur Radio License because the entry level test was so easy they that they figured "Why not?"
    • Operator decided to get his / her Amateur Radio License because they
    • The operator that advanced to extra without having to do any real work to get there so he thinks Amateur Radio is Just a hobby
    • Have less knowledge or skill than a newly licensed Technicial
    • Are the first to put others down and treat them like they are stupid concerning their operating or when they asks questions about Amateur Radio thinking they are talking to an "Elmer"
Contact Info For Richard KB5JBV:

About the Author

Richard KB5JBV has been an Amateur radio operator since 1988. He has held positions with the America Radio Relay League including but not limited to Assistant Section Manager, Official Observer, Official Relay Station, Official Emergency Station, ARES Emergency Coordinator for Resonant Frequency: The Amateur Radio Podcast was created to help get information on amateur radio out to the new ham and the ham that wants to find out more about different aspects of the hobby they are thinking about getting into. So sit back have a drink and enjoy.

Richard KB5JBV has been an Amateur radio operator since 1988. He held positions with the America Radio Relay League including but not limited to Assistant Section Manager, Official Observer, Official Relay Station, Official Emergency Station, ARES Emergency Coordinator for Kaufman County Texas, Volunteer Examiner and Technical Specialist in the North Texas section.

Richard has also served as RACES assistant radio officer for the city of Mesquite, Tx. and among numerous other duties Including club president for the HAM Association of Mesquite Texas.