In the days and place where I started, it was an interview with the Post Master who would ask questions to ensure you would not do anything daft, so I became VP8XBHZ which was a special 2 meter only licence, then VP8BKM although I have only a dozen or so HF contacts. On return to UK I tried for a reciprocal licence, I was told you must me joking, I would need to take the C&G Radio Exam then I could apply, problem was the collages wanted around £100 for course and exam, and would not allow just the exam as it messed up their record if we failed. However the local radio club would do a course and exam around every 5 years, so I waited 2 years and did it for £25. There were objections to how hard it was to take the exam, so this was all changed, now there are I think 3 exams which have to be taken in sequence. As each exam is passed you are allowed to do more, think it's the power you can use, however it is no longer the collage doing exam but radio clubs, and now it involves a lot of practical work, in my day it was all theory. Unlike CB there are many types of amateur radio, ham refers to being ham fisted with the Morse key. Lucky for me Morse is no longer required. So with VHF I have communicated with Austria, it was a system called Packet Radio where we digipeated from other peoples equipment to get around the world, used it a lot when licensed as VR2ZEP as from 22 floor not easy to erect a HF aerial, I was a member of HARTS (Hongkong Amateur radio transmitting society) and for VHF you can now get a hand held radio for less than £50 but it would not get around the world in basic form. EME (Earth Moon Earth) will allow you to bounce signals to USA, however with power allowed in the UK, this means Morse, you would need something like 5 kW to get over the pond with voice, you can get dissipation to use 1 kW for EME but that's not good enough for voice. Using local repeaters you can talk around 50 miles or more using 2 meter or 70 cm, but for any distance you need side band, with side band and sporadic E I have talked some 1000 miles, however under normal conditions 100 miles is about the limit. For HF FM is not used, it is all side band, as a rare call sign (VP8BKM) I could get around the world, however as GW7MGW no one really wants to talk to me. I still use the radio once a year on fire work night at local life boat fire work display, but I never bought any HF stuff, and my son, also licensed at 14 year old he got licence nearly 40 now, he took my aerial down, so in real terms that was the end of amateur radio for me. I keep a ruck sack with all the equipment needed for an emergency, but the local RAYNET has now gone, not enough events to pay for insurance. Mod:.