Amateur Radio Worldwide
One of the marvellous things about the hobby is that because radio signals don't stop at country borders - being a radio amateur is like having an international passport. You can visit the world on the airwaves, make casual acquaintances or life-long friendships, without even leaving home. Many long-time radio amateurs will tell you that some of their best friends are people they have never actually met in person.
Around the world radio amateurs have set up their own transmitting and receiving stations at home, in their cars, and even use hand-held radios to keep in touch while on foot. The friends they make could be someone across town, in a far-flung exotic country, or even a cosmonaut on the orbiting International Space Station.
Amateur Radio is internationally organised through a range of United Nations based organisations principally through the Amateur International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) which is part of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Because amateurs are communicating across national boundaries it is essential that there be international coordination of such matters as the frequencies allocated to the amateur radio service, qualifications required for the granting of a licence and rules governing radio communications between sovereign countries.
Part of the International nature of Amateur Radio are contests where amateurs from around the world or within specific regions compete to see how well they can operate and communicate with other amateur radio stations.
Another feature of international communications between amateur radio station (called DXing) is the exchange of QSL Cards either by post or electronically over the internet these cards have been a feature of amateur radio since the earliest days and allow amateurs a personal contact to supplement that had on air.
Overseas contact can be by High Frequency bands from160metre to 10 metre wavelengths or by the higher VHF and UHF 2 metre and 70 cm wavelength frequencies via repeater based internet connections such as Echolink, IRLP or digital links such as the D-Star system. There are also a number of international amateur radio satellites which allow for experimentation in communication.