Anyone with a radio receiver or a radio scanner can listen in on ham radio communications, but only an operator licensed by the FCC can transmit the signals. Typically, ham radio operators, or hams, do not use ham radio to broadcast in the way radio stations broadcast to large audiences at once. Ham transmission is usually two-way or with groups of people using a transceiver, meaning that two or more hams talk to each other instead of everyone listening to a single ham s broadcast.
There are hundreds of thousands of amateur radio operators in the U.S. and millions around the world. Ham radio can be useful in spreading information during emergencies when other services such as telephones, television or the Internet fail.
Ham radio also is referred to as amateur radio.