13 May 2007

The Beginning

That meeting with Muthanna was my first step in the proper direction towards my becoming a HAM. Muthanna gave me a few books and instructions on progressing towards getting my Licence.

His first instruction was for me to learn Morse code. He asked me to build an Oscillator (I later realized he meant a Code Practice Oscillator). In the excitement of having met Muthanna, I mistook it for an Oscilloscope (an electronic measuring devise). I lost heart – how do I get an Oscilloscope costing thousands of rupees? I decided that I would take my time and manage to get that Oscilloscope. How idiotic of me.

I continued listening and my craze for the hobby started spreading among my friends. They started feeding me with information about articles, write ups, announcements etc. I was beginning to collect a fairly good quantity of information about the hobby. I had also noted a few other operators from Mysore – Yogesh (VU2YSG), Shiv (VU2SSR), Sriram (VU2BOY – he “BOY” as his radio nickname), Sat (VU2NTC), etc. I did not know where they operated from.

In 1985, Yuvaraja’s College, where I was finishing my Graduation, started a Science Club. For the inauguration, they had invited a retired engineer from the All India Radio – you should have guessed it – it was Muthanna – my dear “Old” friend. That inaugural address was about the field of radio communication and naturally to my joy mentioned about the amateur radio hobby. After the meeting I went up to Muthanna and he immediately asked about my progress in the hobby. I mentioned that I was not yet able to start learning Morse code. The Science Club, we started wallpaper for science related article. I did my first journalistic piece – if it can be called that. I cut an article on HAM Radio from an old magazine, stuck it to a sheet and submitted it for publication. It was put up. My fascination for the hobby became common knowledge among my college mates and lecturers. This was to play a vital role in my becoming a Ham.

I was still in the search for the easiest way to learn morse code – very important as in those days there was no Restricted Grade (introduced in the last decade where an enthusiast can get his licence by taking only the written test in Operating procedures and basics of electronics). With the Final year exams approaching, I packed up my trustworthy radio (I had promised my mother that I would do so!) and Ham Radio took a back seat for 3 solid months!

Then I got proof that I was “destined” to be a HAM operator.

One of my classmates, KH Manjunath (I have lost contact now – he used to reside in VV Puram) came home with the news that there was a notice put up in Yuvaraja’s College that a training class was being conducted at SJCE as part of the Mysore University Amateur Radio Club for those interested in Amateur Radio. We immediately got onto our bicycles and off we went to SJCE – of course enroute checking out the college notice board for full information. There we tracked down the Electronics Department - which was running the Amateur Radio Club – and asked for Mr. Satish, the Student Co-ordinator. It turned out that he was in the Lab undergoing his practicals and we were to wait for about 30 minutes outside the lab. Information was passed on to him that someone had come to join the training classes.

I was in for another thrill of my life! When, finally, Satish came out of the lab and met us, I introduced myself and he immediately said “Are you THE Madhukar who has been writing letters to other operators?”. I said “Yes”.
He then introduced himself as Sat – VU2NTC – I had met my second ham in person.

No comments: