Talk to the world
By Abhishek Rathi
Gardening is a hobby for the patient, stamp collecting for the adventurous, kayaking for the daredevil; and then theres Amateur Radio for everyone.Amateur radio operators are commonly called HAM radio operators or just HAMs. The term HAMcame about after three amateur radio enthusiasts setup their own amateur radio station at Harvard.They were respectively Albert
lmy and Peggie
urray. When laws to regulate amateurradio were being passed in the UK in 1911, Hyman spoke up to make the laws more liberal else theheavy taxes would have killed amateur radio due to heavy commercialization. The first initials of thelast name of the three operators became popularized by other amateur radio operators and theinitials HAM stuck on for all modern amateur radio operators.HAM radio offers a piece of its pie for everyone. It caters to the hobbies of people
love to talk& meet new people
, play with electronics, invent new radios, like to keep company while travelling,communicate directly via satellite, to just learn and many more.
HAMs are a medium of free speech.
In 2001, HAM radio operators came to the rescue when the Gujarat earthquake struck. In 2004,when the Indian Ocean tsunami struck the Andaman and Nicobar islands, HAM radio was the onlymode of communication. HAMs play a vital role in disaster management when infrastructuralcommunication systems are down.There are about six million licensed HAMs all over the world and sixteen thousand in India. HAMradio became popular in India in the 90s when the Indian government lifted its heavy taxes onimported electronic equipment.Anyone above the age of 12 can apply for a HAM license from the Ministry of Communication. Thereare four grades that an enthusiast can apply for directly, from Restricted Grade II, Grade II, Grade I toAdvanced Grade, each with a respective examination. Higher grade licenses allow the HAM morefreedom in using his/her equipment. The Advanced Grade exam tests the user in basic electronics;rules, regulations & procedures and Morse code sending & receiving skills (A walk in the park for anengineering student!).By law, HAM radios can be used for personal communication purposes only. It cannot be used forcommerce or broadcasting to the public (HAM signals are to be received by other HAMs only). Usingmodified HAMs; text messages, Amateur Television and data such as photos can be sent around theworld at little or no cost.A HAM can legally make his/her own HAM radio and develop ways to make their equipment moreefficient. Some radios are also capable of satellite communication with over 60 satellites servicingHAM communication (Advanced grade is a prerequisite).
HAMSAT is ISRO's first theme based Micro-satellite meant for providing Satellite based Amateur Radio Services to the National as well asInternational Community of Amateur Radio Operators (HAMs).
Every HAM all over the world is assigned a unique call sign by the Ministry of Communication. Thissign is determined by the country the user belongs to.