13 March 2006

Mysore and HAM Radio

Mysore is credited to be one of the first cities to have an amateur radio station. To cite history, India's first short wave public broadcasting station belonged to Dr. Matcalfe, VU2KH, a radio amateur. He was Vice-Chancellor of Mysore University. His group of radio amateurs established an entertainment public broadcasting station VU6AH in 1935. But then the authorities cancelled amateur radio licensing and took away ham radio equipment from enthusiasts when the War broke out in 1939. It was also the radio station in Mysore that gave the present day All India Radio its acronym - AKASHAVANI. Coming from such a historical backround, it was appropriate that the city also had an active present.
Amateur Radio (or HAM radio as it is popularly called) is the hobby of electronics with special emphasis on wireless communication. It is quite similar to pen friends. Only here we talk to our new found friends on the radio waves, instead if writing to them.
As the activity requires use of electricity and electronics, the enthusiast is requied to know the basics of the two fields. The airwaves are not open to the public. It is governed by the Government agencies. It is therefore necessary that necessary permission to use the airwaves is granted by the Dept. of Telecommunications, Wiresless Planning and Co-ordination Wing of the Ministry of Communications. To ensure that the applying person has the required knowledge of Electricity and Electronics, a simple test is required to be passed before grant of Licence to operate the Amateur Wireless Station.
There are different ways and differenct range of channels that the HAM operator can communicate with other similarly licenced operators.
Mysore City is among the top 20 in India by the number of HAMs licenced from the city. But the level of activity is quite low compared to many other cities with lesser number of HAMs. The two main Engineering Colleges - SJCE and NIE have taken active interest in the promotion of the hobby by encouraging their students to take up the hobby. They have imported wireless equipment for the use of their licenced students by setting up Club Stations.
I am one such who benefitted from the SJCE club station and later was involved in the setting up of the NIE club station. HAM radio has still a long way to go in future years.
I will be further writing on specific topics in future - like the History of Amateur Radio, the qualifications required to become a HAM, the acitivites one can participate in, the advantages and thrills of HAM radio operations, etc. I would appreciate comments, ideas and questions so that we can make this blog informative.