What is amateur radio?
Article 1.56 of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Radio Regulations defines the amateur service as:
“A radiocommunication service for the purpose of self-training, intercommunication and technical investigations carried out by amateurs, that is, by duly authorized persons interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest.”
Amateur radio is an immensely diverse hobby – it allows one to communicate with others across the world (and above it) through a range of modes across the electromagnetic spectrum. It’s also great for those who enjoy technical research, design and construction. Other activities include amateur radio direction finding (ARDF), orienteering with a technical twist, as contesting, Summits On The Air, and more.
Having had a long term interest in all things electronics, and been introduced to the world of radio through cadet signalling, I gained my Foundation Amateur Radio Licence (callsign M6ILO) with Wirral & District Amateur Radio Club in 2013. I then went on to the Intermediate licence and became 2E0ILO in January 2014. While assisting with Youngsters On The Air (YOTA) 2017 at Gilwell Park, London, I sat the Advanced Radiocommunications Exam, passing with distinction – and now hold the internationally-recognised Full licence with callsign M0ILO.
Shortly after its creation, I was invited to join the Radio Society of Great Britain’s Youth Committee, whose aim is to encourage and support young people in amateur radio, as well as provide a focus for the Society’s young members. I acted as Secretary for a while and am now Deputy Chair of the Committee.
As a Committee, we’ve arranged several events for young people. In 2015 we ran a ‘DXpedition’ to the Brecon Beacons for ten youngsters – making over 4000 contacts (‘QSOs’) with other radio amateurs. The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) Region 1 Youth Working Group runs the YOTA programme, which includes an annual ‘summer camp’ and the December YOTA Month. The RSGB Youth Committee organises the UK’s participation in both of these events, and was instrumental in the bid for the UK to host YOTA 2017 – a hugely successful event.