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What is Amateur Radio? How to Become a Radio Amateur?

The world is not a very safe place to live in these days as disaster and terrorism can strike at any moment. Communication is the only relief in times of disaster and hence the need for an efficient disaster management system becomes imperative in public placesand even in business  establishments andimportant commercial joints where people move around in large numbers. Disaster might strike in the form of natural calamities, terrorist attacks and accidents. Thus an efficient disaster management system which will work in adverse conditions is needed.
Disaster management crew must be well trained and equipped with the best appliances which might help them to communicate the condition they are in and the status of the calamity in the region they work for. In times of natural calamity like floods, storms or fire the usual mode of communication like phone, mobile etc might not work or might become in operative in the calamity. Underground communication lines get disableddue to flooding, cell towers are blown over or simply choke due to high utilization, backup generators run out of fuel, or are filled up with water. This is where Ham Radio (Amateur Radio) comes into picture. Using Frequency) sets, messages can be conveyed or relayed to long distance. Accurate picture of situation on the ground, requirements and key information could be sent to disaster response team.
With  Amateur Radio operators, you have a ready workforce that is efficient with regard to communicating with each other ‘efficiently, and ‘effectively’. They are known of for innovation and are adept at adapting to situations. Unlike commercial systems, Amateur radio is not dependent on terrestrial facilities that can fail. It is dispersed throughout a community without “choke points” such as cellular telephone sites that can be overloaded. Amateur Radio operators are experienced in improvising antennas and power sources and most equipment available today can be powered by an automobile battery Annual “Field Days” are held in many countries to practise these emergency improvisational skills. Amateur Radio Operators volunteer to help, as and when needed; however, there is no national database on active operators who can be called upon during any disaster, and also if they have right setup (which means ready to go on air gear) at short notice. Amateur Radio Operators can use hundreds of frequencies and can quickly establish  networks tying disparate agencies together to enhance interoperability.

In the Gujarat Ondia) earthquake on the 26th January 2001,Amateur Radio Operators of Gujarat commenced disaster relief communications within hours of the tragedy. With the help of Hams from various parts of the country, an emergency traffic network was established to exchange information to various parts of the country. Recent examples include the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre in Manhattan in 2001, the 2003 North America blackout and Hurricane Katrina in September 2005, where Amateur radio was used to coordinate direlief activities when other systems failed.
On September 2, 2004, Ham radio was used to inform weather forecasters with information on Hurricane es live from the Bahamas. On December 26, 2004, an earthquake and the resulting Tsunami across the Indian Ocean wiped out all communications with the Andaman Islands, except for an expedition that provided a means to coordinate relief efforts. Recently, Amateur Radio operators in the People’s Republic of China provided emergency communications after the 2008 Sichuan earthquake and U.S. hams did similar work following Hurricane Ike.
But cyclones, earthquakes or floods are not everyday events. What we see every day is that someone in the remote place is struggling for life, awaiting the arrival of an essential drug from another town or someone has lost a dear one because medical attention could not reach him on time. All this happens because most often communication is slow or impossible. Hams have special section to handle medical and other emergency traffic on their daily nets.

What is Amateur Radio?
Amateur radio is a community of people that use radio transmitters and receivers to communicate with other Amateur radio operators. If you were to ask a dozen different amateurs what ham radio meant to them chances are you would get 12 different answers. Amateur radio operators are often called ham radio operators or simply “hams” and frequently the public is more familiar with this term than with the legal term Radio Amateur. The source of this nickname is for all practical purposes lost from the beginning.  Amateur (HAM) Radio is truly a hobby but often one that makes a difference especially in emergency or disaster situations. It is an activity of Self Learning, Inter-Communication & Technical Investigation carried on between Amateur Radio Operators. Amateurs talk to local friends over the radio waves using a hand-held transceiver, communicating digitally with packet radio to exchange personal messages or vital information in an emergency, talking to other hams anywhere in the world, or engaging in contests with other Radio Amateurs over the airwaves there is something for everyone.
How to Become a Radio Amateur?
Amateur Radio operators have to qualify in an examination conducted by Ministry of Communications, Government of India and obtain license for operating /possessing a Radio Station. Any individual above the age of 12 is permitted to appear for Amateur station operator License Examination and no educational qualification is prescribed. It takes just two months (say two hours a day training) to become eligible for the examination. One should qualify a simple test conducted in three subjects namely:
  • i. Morse Code (Transmission & Reception)
  • ii. Communication Procedure
  • iii. Basic Electronics.

The Officer-In-Charge, wireless Monitoring Station, Dept. of Telecommunications under Ministry of Communication, Govt. of India is the authority for conducting these tests in their own town provided there are sufficient number ofapplicants. The licenses are issued by Wireless Planning & Co-ordination Wing of DOT, Govt. of India after passin the test.
You can know more details from the website: www.hamradio.in/amateur_radio/
What are the Benefits for Students by Joining Amateur Hobby
  • He/ She is introduced to the Scientific activity at a very young age and will create an awareness on the importance of Information Technology and Communications in their life.
  • He/ She will possess a licence from the Ministry of Communications, Government of India and are encouraged to construct their own Transceiver or Purchase or Operate a Amateur Radio Station including Information Technology through Computers.
  • He/ She joins the fraternity and interact with other Students, Teachers, Scientists, Doctors, Lawyers, Politicians, Kings and Prime Ministers from all over the World. plan ahead for their future carriers in their lives.
  • He/ She can take part or share information on the latest developments in various technologies.
  • He/ She can win a lot of Awards and Certificates by participating in various events all over the world sitting in their own room.
  • He/ She can discuss their views and ideas freely and can educate themselves & others to improve their knowledge on the Subject.
  • He/ She will inculcate the communication and leadership skills

About the author

Mallikarjuna

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