What is amateur radio?

Amateur radio (or ham radio) is a service provided by the FCC to allow those that pass the tests to be able to use a set of allocated frequencies for the use of communication, experimentation, emergency management, and fun. Part 97 of the Code of Federal Regulation states:

The rules and regulations in this part are designed to provide an amateur radio service having a fundamental purpose as expressed in the following principles:

(a) Recognition and enhancement of the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary noncommercial communication service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications.

(b) Continuation and extension of the amateur’s proven ability to contribute to the advancement of the radio art.

(c) Encouragement and improvement of the amateur service through rules which provide for advancing skills in both the communication and technical phases of the art.

(d) Expansion of the existing reservoir within the amateur radio service of trained operators, technicians, and electronics experts.

(e) Continuation and extension of the amateur’s unique ability to enhance international goodwill.

https://www.ecfr.gov/current/title-47/chapter-I/subchapter-D/part-97