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.


Blog-Capt. Anup Murthy said...

Nice article Mr. Madhukar. I did not know, and I am sure not many other non-hams (if that is the correct word for it)would have known this piece of history. Is the history of amateur radio a subject that prospective HAMS need to know or is a part of any curriculum? Would be good if it is.

How do you see the future for HAM radio acitivities? I have heard that often, in times of disasters, HAM radio becomes the only tool for communicating when all other form of communication are down. Is this the case and how do you network with others to pass on information?

Madhukar - VU2MUD said...

Thanks Capt. Murthy
There are many Hams who still do not know this piece of history. In fact i came to know of it from the BSNL portal which has a mention of it.

The history of Amateur Radio in India is not part of the curriculum.

The future is as bright as it has always been for HAM radio. I have always been of the opinion that the hobby will get automated but it will never die.

This belief has been due to the fact that Morse Code was automated to Radio teletype (RTTY) and other digital modes of communication like AMTOR, PACKTOR (methods of sending data as packets instead of a steady flow of data - ensuring lower data loss as it included intermediate receipt confirmation).

Latest technology is that a licenced amateur, who has only a computer and a internet link at home, sitting at his computer, having wireless contacts with a HAM anywhere on the globe through a Computer - Wireless network called the ECHOLINK. More details on this will be provided in later posts on the blog as will be the details on Disaster communication.

Amar said...

Hi VU2MUD, it was quite tough locating you online.

Well, here is my plight, a long time ago, 1994ish, you had organized a course at the IEEE Mysore for young enthusiasts like me to get interested and join in the Amature Radio community.

I guess the course was for a few weeks and then the test which I remember passing with not such great colors, but I did and that was all.

I wished to contact you for my call sign details that I never received/ figure out how I could do so now.

- Amar

Madhukar - VU2MUD said...

Dear Amar

It is a pleasure meeting you after such a long time. There were certain problem during that period in the issue of Licences from the Dept of Communications. Non clearence from the local authorities added to the miseries of the enthusiasts.
In later years it has eased a bit, but takes some effort to get the licence.

Do give more details in a mail to vu2mud@gmail.com

Will check how we can help out.

selvan said...

i would like to get a ham radio
am working in remote area health care projects
can u help us to get ham radio service

selvan said...

am working in remote area health care projects
so can u help us to get a ham radio service