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What are the Different Types of Ham Radio Amplifiers?

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  • Written By: Alexis W.
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 11 November 2016
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There are different types and wattages of ham radio amplifiers depending on the type of transmitter the user has. Ham radio amplifiers include VHF/UHF amplifiers. An RF or linear amplifier is another type of ham radio amp.

For an amateur radio enthusiast, the ability to send transmissions from the comfort of his own home or designated station spot to another user halfway around the world is of great appeal. For this reason, many people who use ham radios have also utilized some type of signal amplifier, whether it is purchased as a unit or built by the user. Installing any type of amplifier to a ham radio system is not a process that should be taken lightly, as these amplifiers are capable of handling and producing large amounts of electrical energy, and if improperly handled can result in death. Make sure any and all applicable manuals are thoroughly read and understood before handling these powerful instruments.

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Amateur radios are referred to as “ham” radios because "hams" is the title given to people who use them to broadcast radio frequencies around the world without professional broadcasting experience. People are able to use these radios, when properly licensed to do so, as a means of communicating with others all over the world, regardless of the distance between them. In order to do this from an area that does not provide the right amount of transceiver power, however, users may have to use what is referred to as ham radio amplifiers. This amplifier is designed to increase both incoming and outgoing signal to and from a ham radio, enabling the user a greater range of signal allowance.

In most case, ham radio amplifiers and transmitter compatibilities are type-exclusive. This means, for instance, that a user may not connect an HF transmitter to a VHF/UHF amplifier, as the two are not compatible signal types unless the radio itself is capable of handling all the different types of wavelength. An RF, or linear amplifier, on the other hand, produces a direct amplification of the radio frequency capabilities, both incoming and outgoing. It is usually compatible with any type of transmitter, which makes it the most commonly purchased type of amplifier.

There are also solid state amplifiers and tube amplifiers. Over the course of time, however, these have become obsolete as the progression of ham radio technology has taken place. In fact, today, ham radio transmissions can be broadcast over the Internet using VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology.

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