Attended my first Ham (amateur radio) lecture last night. 20+/- to go. Took the Morse Code course last year (5 wpm). This will give me a Basic Plus designation, allowing me a broad range of abilities and frequencies afloat.
Last night they attempted to explain the difference between a SSB
operator and a Ham operator. The important difference to me is that the SSBs have to pay for the service
on one of those frequencies restricted for their use, while the Hams can access people on the wide range of Ham frequencies who are setting up the same software
as a hobby, and are eager to assist other Hams for free.
itself, used by the hobbyist and by the SSB internet service
provider, was designed by amateurs and is free.
I say we all go Ham. In my short career at sea, it has already been very helpful with access to the Mississauga Maritime Net and Southbound II Atlantic Weather
Assistance. The Hams I have met are as helpful as can be.