"Ham radio" (a.k.a. Amateur Radio) can be described as CB radios on steroids. To broadcast, you need a federal license after passing an
exam, and then the world is your oyster... with the right frequencies, you can talk to anyone else with ham equipment all over the globe! Cool eh?
Ham operators can be called upon by police, fire, EMS, and even the military as a backup communication infrastructure should their own equipment fail, and cell phones don't work. There are ham radio satellites, and even the International Space Station has ham equipment on it.
The pics below show the rig I own. It's a 2 meter radio that can transmit at 25 and 65 watts, which is more than adequate to reach a number of repeaters that have HUGE coverage all over eastern Ontario and western Quebec. Lotsa fun!
With a J-Pole antenna on a 26' pole attached to the end of my shop, I get signal reports from the local ham dudes saying I'm a full 5-9 when hitting the repeater at Kinnelly Mountain (VE3STP, 16 miles distance). My rig can reach Carleton Place which is 27 miles away, as well as Aylmer (35 miles). I could before with a smaller, less powerful radio, but with very poor quality signal. Now I'm cookin' with gas. Pretty good for the 2 meter band, especially considering Burnstown is in a small valley. The fun continues!
My QRZCQ page is here.