The Virus called "HAM BUG" is very dangerous.
The fever spread very fast. The realisation that I was listening to individuals who could build, own, operate and maintain a radio station was something I had not heard of - or for that fact imagined. I decided then that - as the saying goes - I would give my right hand to become a HAM. That put me in a odd sort of situation as the the future incidents will show. But all that a little later.
Now for some more background. After the realisation that they were down to earth individuals and not some "high flying" - I mean Pilots (Capt. Anup Murthy - no insult meant to you) - people, I got really locked on to the frequency. This was on the shortwave - just around where we had good Hindi film songs coming from Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corp. (Does any one remember listening to this station these days?). So it was easier locating these conversations at the slight touch of the tuning knob - too much movement and I would be listening to something else.
While listening, I started getting details of the hobby in detail. I learnt that the operators were - a businessman from Rajapalayam (Nickname - "handle" in HAM jargon - Suri - VU2NPS), a retired professor of Science from Salem (Vasan - full name Srinivasan - VU2NS), a retired All India Radio Installation Engineer from Mysore (Muthanna - VU2MP - the first HAM I met in person - that is a story in itself), a BLIND electronics serviceman from a small village in Tamil Nadu (Chak - full name Chakravarthy - VU2TTC - more details about him at www.qsl.net/vu2msy/chak.htm), to name a few.
It was Chak, who I take as my first "guru". It was Chak who used to talk about all topics related to the operating procedures, principles and other general details. It was also the person who encouraged listeners to send our "reception reports" to him - he always gave his address at the end of his transmission session for the day. He also gave out tips on how to send out the reception reports. I immediately sent out a post card to him giving him the details of who he was contacting and what was being discussed along with the time of the transmission.
Two days later, as was his usual habit, at 2.30 PM, he started mentioning the names of all the listeners (fondly called SWLs - Short Wave Listeners) who had sent our reception reports. It was then that I got the thrill of my life. "CHAK" CALLED OUT MY NAME!!!!!
It was the first time other than from a regular broadcast station that my name was mentioned by a person in what was a "LIVE" transmission.
The "HAM BUG" had entered my blood. I was bitten for life. This was the beginning of my "Madness".