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Sunday, March 5, 2017

Tune into this invaluable hobby


Amateur radio (Ham radio), a key wireless communication facility, is little known among the public, and remembered by administrators only in times of disasters.
Hyderabad: From a friend in the neighbourhood to an astronaut floating in outer space, this radio can keep everyone connected. Yet, this personal hobby that doubles up as an extremely handy tool for disaster management remains in the shadows. Amateur radio (Ham radio), a key wireless communication facility, is little known among the public, and remembered by administrators only in times of disasters. Interesting, easy to get trained and affordable to own and use, Ham radio has less than 1,000 enthusiasts making use of it in the city. “The potential of amateur radio is not appreciated in the country. In a global community of 3 million Hams (amateur radio operators), less than 30,000 are from India,” laments S Ram Mohan, Director, the National Institute of Amateur Radio (NIAR), Hyderabad. All that one needs to become a Ham is to clear an examination and receive a license from the Wireless Planning & Coordination (WPC) wing of the Ministry of Communications. “A call sign that is the unique identity of a Ham is issued by the WPC using which one can start going wireless free of cost,” he said. The exam to issue licenses is conducted every alternate month.

The NIAR has a club station where a license holder can just drop in and log in with his call sign, free of cost. “It hardly demands any expertise and most can pick up with a three-day orientation,” says Ram Mohan. Ham is not a costly affair too as decent walkie-talkies that provide local communication can be acquired for up to Rs 5,000 and a multi-band radio offering communication in the sub-continent is available at less than Rs 10,000. However, Ram Mohan advocates preparing one’s own radio as the most economical option. “One can rig a radio at as less as Rs 1,000,” he quips. During natural calamities such as floods or cyclone when all communication networks collapse, it is the Ham radio that comes to the rescue. Teams from the NIAR-Hyderabad have been rushed to Visakhapatnam when the city was hit by Cyclone Hudhud to network relief and rescue operations. Similarly, when Kathmandu in Nepal faced a crisis after being hit by an earthquake, city Hams were scurried to set up a communication network there. After Cyclone Hudhud, amateur radio as a disaster management subject was introduced in Class 9 to popularise it. Since then, the NIAR has been trying to take it further by involving the student community for practical hands-on training. Letters were written to city schools requesting them to bring their students to the institute for better awareness.

Source and credit :- http://telanganatoday.news/tune-into-this-invaluable-hobby
Forwarded By :- Shri. Alokesh Gupta, New Delhi. alokeshgupta@gmail.com

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