Sorry for the long gap in between the posts. Year end peak activity at the office. Finally managed some time to put in this post.
Continuing, from where I left off, the night Mr. Muthanna visited me in my absence, I got no sleep. I was then doing my degree in Yuvaraja's College - in the first year. Mr. Muthanna had instructed that I could meet him only after my college hours - ie., after 3 PM. In my excitement of the first "eye-ball" (HAM parlance for a tete-e-tete), I rushed home at 2 PM. Had a quick wash, changed clothes and off on my trusted Raleigh bicycle (the same one that carried me on my "mad" trip looking for rain) to locate Mr. Muthanna's house. I remember reaching his locality by 2.35 PM, 5 mins later I had located his house. Thanks to the odd looking wires and poles on top of his house. I had, of course, expected to see a big rod standing on top of his house - comparing to the rod/pole/pipe? that I had seen in the compound of AIR Mysore. I went round the roads of his area spending time till the designated hour - 3 PM. 2.58 PM and I was at his gate. Promptly at 3.00PM I was ringing his doorbell.
I HAD MET MY FIRST RADIO OPERATOR IN PERSON!!!!!!
AT LAST. What a relief it was. He took me into his shack (Radio Room) behind the main house. It was filled with a rack housing a World War II Receiver - a commercial transmitter (Heathkit) - a antenna change over switch to change from the transmitter to the receiver. There was also a rack full of old magazines. There were also a few other gizmos used for testing and repairing the radio equipment.
After the initial round of introductions and my first "bringing down to earth" advice that HAM radio was not for students (reason it was not a cheap hobby), Mr. Muthanna switched on his radio and tuned around looking for activity. What luck! We heard Chak, Suri and the usual group in conversation. Muthanna joined into the group and informed the group - who already knew I was a regular listener to their conversations - that I was in the shack along with him. I remember Chak (VU2TTC), Suri (VU2NPS) and others addressing me and welcoming me to Ham Radio. Muthanna handed over the mike to me - I panicked. I realised that when it finally came down to talking to some one - some where - where I cannot see them in person - HOW & WHAT DO I TALK? With my experience of listening, I had rehearsed my conversation. But with mike in hand - I was lost for words. Muthanna had to finally put words into my mount. "Good afternoon dear Chak, Suri and others. I am happy to meet all of you. Hope to meet you on the air soon with my own call sign" - I finally managed to say. By the end of it I was sweating all over. With anxiety or with the sense of achievement of having put my voice "ON THE AIR" - I have not been able to decide.
But all in all - I HAD GONE "ON THE AIR". That was what finally mattered.
Muthanna (who became a "silent key" - Ham equivalent to breathing his last- in 1991) will forever be in my memory of being the person who brought me into this hobby that I am so passionate about.
THANKS MUTHANNA - VU2MP