09 February 2007

Hunt for the HAM in Mysore

I had caught the "HAM fever".

This started on my hunt for information to become a operator myself. As I have mentioned earlier, I had heard of a HAM Mr. Muthanna residing right here in Mysore. But how do I meet him? I badly need information and guidance. HOW DO I REACH HIM?

This was when I began to act like an addict looking for his dose - at least that is what I have heard people do.

First I wrote to "Chak" for the address of Muthanna. He was clear in his words that he could not give the information as he was not sure that Muthanna was willing to meet me. First Shot - OFF TARGET.

What do I do now? I had heard that all the licences were issued by the Department of Telecommunications. I decided that all post offices would have a record of the HAM licence holders in Mysore. This was because, in those days (1980's) all radio receiving sets needed a radio licence. The post office was maintaining a list of licences in their area and I was sure they would have a record of Muthanna who also had a transmitting licence - at least that is what I believed. This belief led me to write out a reply post card addressed to "Mr. Muthanna - VU2MP-Mysore". That was all! In it went to the post box. Anticipation. Reply on the third day!!! but not from Muthanna but from the Head Post office with the remark "Insufficient Address". It was like a bucket of ice cold water poured on my head. Madness? - what else?

My desperate hunt went on for a few more weeks. But I could not extract any further details on the whereabouts of my dear "unknown" friend Muthanna. I was beginng to panic again. The despartion was starting to creep in again. Lo! I had a thunder storm of an idea. Why thunderstorm? Read On.

One "fine" afternoon, as I was at my usual listening routine - listening to the regular group of HAMs chatting - I heard Muthanna join in to the group. During the conversation, he mentioned something about the Mysore weather that made me sit up. "It is raining in Mysore" said Muthanna. RAINING? I look out of my window in surprise! It was a FINE afternoon - no sign of any clouds - let alone rains. That gave me the thunderstorm of an idea. I quickly changed clothes - out came my bicycle - onto it I hopped - pedalling away - eyes glued to the road - NO - to the SKY. Why sky? If it was raining near Muthanna's house - all I had to do was locate the area where it was raining and I would have the territory of Muthanna's residence! That was my game plan. The route that I had decided on was Devaparthiva Road (Chamarajapuram) - Ramaswamy Circle - THEN WHERE? Looking at the sky from Ramaswamy Circle - my plans were quickly washed away in the non existant rains. There was no way I could locate the source of the rains that was mentioned by Muthanna. With a realisation that I was indeed MAD I slowly turned back home.

Finally sense prevailed. I decided to try another source to gather the information. I wrote a letter to Mr. Suri VU2NPS (mentioned in the earlier post) with a request to forward my request for contact details and my address to Muthanna. Why did I not think of this earlier - the universal million dollar question?

Within a week of this request, around 5.30 PM - while I was away playing my favourite sport of Cricket, I was later informed by my mother - Muthanna had walked into our home with my address in hand asking to meet me. A retired person had walked nearly 7 KMs to meet a youngster in his early twenties (I was then about 21) who was MAD about HAM Radio. Madness - what else?

He had given his address and appointment for me to meet him at his residence next to the Deaf and Dumb School, New Bamboo Bazaar (Thilak Nagar), Mysore. I had met my mentor - my first personal meeting with a HAM!