Some of the writers you read on Hackaday are amateur radio operators, and we often have a hacker chat on “Why be a ham today?” After all, you can talk to anyone in the world over the internet or by phone, right? What is the draw?
The Radio Society of Great Britain apparently shared the same thought and thought produced a great video answer the question. You mention the usual things: learning about technology, learning about people in other parts of the world, and disaster communication Radio sports (which seems to be more popular outside of the US; people compete for hidden channels).
Additionally, they talked a lot about how hams are included in space communications, from talking about satellites to talking to people on the space station to building small satellites. As the narrator says, there are “hundreds of ways to have technical fun with amateur radio”.
One thing that we noticed but didn’t say much about it is educational opportunities. There is a lot to learn, and working with children to help them learn is often very rewarding (and you usually learn something too). In order to forestall the comments that this post has nothing to do with hacking, we’re going to keep two things in mind: a Raspberry Pi will be displayed and shortly after the two-minute mark there is a very clever morse code key hacked together.
We talk a lot about amateur radio, starting with Arduino based digital modes put together portable stations (You can see a similar one in the video too). There’s no mention of another thing we noticed: it’s generally much easier today than ever to get a license. Most countries (including the United States) have abolished Morse code requirements. While some hams still enjoy CW (Hamspeak for running Morse code), this is not a requirement.