Amateur and ham radio station operating ... is a privilege.
The individuals who benefit from these privileges have been granted a license to operate an amateur radio station by the regulating agency of their country.
These unique privileges come with responsibilities. All privileges do!
All amateur radio operators must follow internationally accepted operating procedures and code of ethics. The operator who does not abide by the rules runs the risk of losing her/his license and call sign!
Amateur radio societies, from (most) countries of the world, collaborate to ensure an orderly use of the privileges granted to ham radio operators.
The ham societies collaborate under the auspices of a democratic organization called the IARU - International Amateur Radio Union.
Why collaborate? Because we all share a common natural resource: allocated portions of the radio spectrum (air waves).
Like aircraft pilots, who share the air space, must abide by commonly accepted rules and regulations, so must radio amateurs, but for different reasons.
Ham radio operators must also follow rules, but for a different reason. We must avoid causing interference to other hamradio stations, as well as other users of the radio spectrum such as......
The list of radio spectrum users is nearly endless!
Unlike commercial radio, who are usually allocated only one frequency to operate on, the ham radio community can operate on a huge number of frequencies!
Amateur and ham radio operators are all over the place ... meaning that we can operate in any of many narrow bands of frequencies scattered all over the radio spectrum.
We often operate "elbow to elbow" with a large number of neighbors, in crowded areas of the radio spectrum. Therefore, we must always be careful not to "step on anyone's toes".
The internationally recognized document that describes in detail how to operate as an amateur radio operator, within legal limits and in a considerate manner, is titled:
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