01 April 2006

Changes in the Amateur Radio Licence Rules

There has been recent announcement in the Amateur Service Rules which has already been gazetted by the Govt. of India. There has been a general outcry by the Hams on the changes. The changes are very vague and no details have been made available.

Two major changes that have been made are : 1. Change in the categories of licences - reduced to only TWO from the previous FOUR grades (General and Restricted). 2. The licence fees have been fixed for periods for either LIFETIME (upto the age of 80 of the licence holder) @ Rs. 2000/- (approx. $40) and TEN YEAR ( from the date of issue or renewal)@ Rs. 1000/- (approx. $20).

While the changes in general are welcome, it is still not clear as to what categories of the previous grades have been merged. It is also not clear as to the operating facilities and frequencies that have been authorised for the new grades.

Regarding the licence fee structures, considering the lifetime licence cutoff age at 80 years, a Ham who is about 65 year of age will have to pay Rs. 2000 for a period of 15 years whereas he would have paid under Rs. 200/- (approx. $4) under the previous licence fee structure.

It is also going to stop newcomers - especially the youngsters who have to shell out such a huge amount just to get started in the hobby.

Such arbitraial changes in the rules, without taking the opinion of the persons who would be affected, and gazetting the changes, will certainly "KILL" the hobby which has been of great help to the country in providing a second line of communication especially during natural calamities, major sporting events, etc.


Blog-Capt. Anup Murthy said...

The licensing fee is indeed large, this is not golf, a rich man's sport/hobby. HAM radio should have been treated differently. How much is the Government going to earn from HAM radio enthusiasts? It is simply crazy! Changes may be needed to reduce the paperwork and make it easy and affordable for people to delve into electronics and radio as a hobby. This is a hobby that only enhances the mind, and does not need retrograde actions from the Government, am I right Mr. Madhukar?

Madhukar - VU2MUD said...

Dear Capt. Murthy
It is surprising that a non radio operator like you understands the economics of the hobby better than the persons who are at the helm of bureacracy. It has been worked out by someone who has no idea of what the hobby is all about. A movement is on to bring to the notice of the Government the predicament the new Rule has put the radio operators in. Active involvement of all radio operators is required to tide over this mindless change.

Blog-Capt. Anup Murthy said...

I hope the HAM radio enthusiasts have a lobby of sorts to pressurize the Government. There's probably not much meaning in most of the absurd rules that various departments make and you are right, some mindless bureacrat who does not know the difference between HAM radio and HAM (as in pig meat) would have made such modifications! Maybe I am harsh but I have realized that being soft doesn't pay. All the best, I think you guys need to have a pressure group.