The radio has been one of the foremost forms of entertainment and communication in the modern world. Marking the beginning of an era, the introduction of this technology completely changed the way the world spread messages and spoke to each other. Based on an extremely simple concept of transmitting electromagnetic waves through free space or air, radio has been a major part of our lives, even in the modern world of the Internet and high definition television.
For over a hundred years, the radio technology has been around and gone from strength to strength. Even with cellular phones and satellite phones around, radio technology has made a niche for itself and has become a fascinating source of study for people who are looking for a hobby. If you are one of them, then you can indulge yourself in various aspects including learning about the radio, making one yourself or simply collecting radios from different eras and countries. No matter what path you choose, you are likely to find a number of options waiting for you, ready to take your world by storm.
The Birth of Modern Communication
The idea of getting electromagnetic waves to travel through air was under extensive study by some of the greatest fathers of modern science. James Maxwell and Heinrich Rudolph Hertz extensively demonstrated that it was possible for people to send "radio waves" through free space, in laboratory conditions. However, it was Nikola Tesla who took it upon himself to demonstrate the uses of this technology for the first time. Tesla considered the use of radio waves in the transmission of information and, in 1897, applied for patents on the use of radio systems and electromagnetic receivers.
Marconi went further than Tesla could, creating a system that could transmit messages by up to 2.5 kms. With the 20th century coming along, radio technology just kept hitting new highs and when Marconi created the first transatlantic radio wave transmission, he was awarded the patent for the radio system after the US patent office decided to take it away from Tesla. Simultaneously, the radio was developed in Spain and other parts of Europe and as news of the invention spread, many people jumped on the bandwagon and started playing with the technology.
Radio in Today's World
A tiny little instrument that seems to produce voices and music on demand, the radio is still much in demand today. Even the most modern car comes with the option of a radio in their sound system as a "standard feature". The technology has found its way into the world of toys, converting regular toy-vehicles into magical radio controlled masterpieces that emulate real-life vehicles.
You have the citizens band radio, a feature that allows you to buy the license to have your own communication channel on the air. You can communicate with other radio enthusiasts on various open channels and that allows you to share your hobby with others. This is also used quite popularly to communicate public safety messages, spreading it through word of mouth. People have also been known to use Morse-code in the citizen's band format while the most common usage is by truckers, who have their own call-signs and their own jargon when they use the radio to find out where they can find a stop-over or how the traffic conditions are up ahead.
Ham Radio - Amateur Radio is another form of the CB Radio - Citizen Band Radio that is also used for communication. This is mainly meant for those who are learning about the science behind the technology or even for public service announcements. The citizens band and Ham radio are short distance formats while something like the TVX or FM DX are the long distance kinds, sent out by massive transmitters to long distances.
If you are taking up the amateur radio as a hobby, then you can really get a peek into the world of radio communication. You can collect different kinds of instruments, new or old, and work with them. Some people even like fixing radio sets while you can even learn how to build one from the bottom up. The number of variations of this hobby is almost as numerous as the number of people in it. There aren't too many who get into the radio hobby to merely listen to others talk but there are quite a few who love collecting old radio sets.
If you are in that category, try heading down to the local flea market or an antique store to find yourself a masterpiece. There are plenty of different criteria for picking radio sets or just getting involved in radio communication as a hobby. As long as you enjoy being a part of the traffic on the airwaves, you are free to go out there and get into the radio hobby!