Dec 31, 2009

Amateur Radio in India/Globe : A Look back at 2009 events / milestones

On behalf of all Chennai Amateur radio HAM enthusiasts we would like to express our most sincere wishes for a wonderful 2010 . A lucky sign for this New Year is that we can at last see some sunspots that indicate there will be an improvement in the propagation of HF bands . HAMS globally report that in many years there has never been such a lengthy absence of solar activity as in the last two years.
Let us all hope that as 2009 is coming to an end, 2010 will have much better things in store for all Amateur Radio lovers in India in terms of better legislation to ease rules which are choking the hobby , more people get knowledge/awareness to become HAMS, more public awareness campaigns to popularise the hobby etc.
We are trying to compile here some of good/positive things which happened with Amateur Radio/HAMS in the Indian context.

* Several websites/blogs launched in India by HAMS which especially helps in giving info to budding amateurs to access information easily and inturn keen for the survival and growth of the hobby.

* HAMFEST India 2009 held in Bangalore and was a gala event with very good participation.

* Several other events held across India.
As per info provided by VU2GMN , below is the feedback received by ARSI from WPC officially for several requests made by ARSI and issues raised over the past few years and followed up with relentless personal visits to interact with officials on several occasions.

1. WPC not able to do away with security clearance which is the biggest stumbling block to issue of new licenses. They say it is an inter-departmental issue on which they have no control . We will keep fighting to get it removed as it is illogical at this point of time
2. On line renewals of licenses is under consideration
3. On line examinations is also under consideration
4. Allocation of frequency within 50.00 to 50.20 MHz not possible at present as it has been allocated to Fixed, Mobile and Broadcasting services. We will continue trying for at least a couple of spot frequencies
5. 10100 to 10150 has been allocated to Amateur Services on a secondary basis
6. 7.1 to 7.2 exclusively allocated to amateur services as already informed
7. If any group wishes to conduct emergency communication drills, a formal fax request can be done and during that time third party traffic will be permitted which is normally not allowed
8. Removal of Morse Code for all classes of licenses- they have not committed as of now but was informed orally that it is under consideration
9. Mobile or portable operation will still require permission on case by case basis. Security issues quoted as reason
10. Validity of amateur licenses- under consideration for implementing the 10-year and lifetime licenses
11. Renewal of licenses by local monitoring stations under consideration
Let's hope & pray as part of the Global HAM Family that 2010 brings much more joy and happiness all Amateur Enthusiasts and their families to keep this unique & wondeful hobby flying to greater heights.
On Behalf of All Chennai HAMS
ChennaiHamsBlogspot Team

Nov 11, 2009

Strong Chennai HAMS/SWL participation in HAMFEST 2009 at Bangalore

More than 700 hams and swl participate at the hamfest 2009 held at Bangalore on 7th & 8th November . From chennai 41 Hams and 6 swl's registered .

Some of partipants were 2GMN,2WYR,2SDU,2DH,2VIT,2MTS,3STJ,2GWH,3MOA,2DRK,2AKW,3USI,2VAU,2GJR,3GGK,3RLR,2KLS,2GPS,2PIY,2PTR,2RDX,2ETO,2LF,2MBA,2CMR,3VWR,3UBR,2TSF,2ABS,2DA,2PSQ,2DPNand SWl Jaisakthivel attended the hamfest. The next hamfest is going to be held at Pollachi on 2010.

For full photo profile pls click here.

Thanks and Regards

ChennaiHams Team

Sep 6, 2009

Underwater Radio Communications using VLF/ELF

This is in continuation to already two articles published on Marine/Air Traffic communication and I thought it would be best to complete it like a trilogy by writing in the most complex form of radio communication, UNDERWATER RADIO PROPAGATION.
Underwater radio communication is an important component of global technology in the 21st century, but at the same time continues to be a very challenging part as it has many uses in various spheres including underwater diving , deep sea exploration , oil exploration , Naval submarine operations etc.
Communication with underwater submarines is difficult because radio waves don't travel well through thick electrical conductors like salt water. The obvious solution is to surface and raise an antenna above the water, then use ordinary radio transmissions. Early submarines had to frequently surface anyway for the oxygen needed by their diesel engines. During the Cold War, however, nuclear-powered submarines were developed that could stay submerged for months. In order to allow for communication with submerged submarines, several techniques are used.

VLF radio waves (3–30 kHz) can penetrate seawater to a depth of approximately 20 meters. Hence a submarine at shallow depth can use these frequencies. A vessel more deeply submerged might use a buoy on a long cable equipped with an antenna. The buoy rises to a few meters below the surface, and may be small enough to remain undetected by enemy sonar / radar.

Due to the low frequency, a VLF broadcast aerial needs to be quite big. In fact, broadcasting sites are usually a few square kilometers (or miles). This of course prevents such aerials being installed on submarines. Submarines only carry a VLF reception aerial, and do not respond on such low frequencies. So a ground-to-submarine VLF broadcast is always a one way broadcast, originating on the ground and received aboard the ship. If two-way communication is needed, the ship must surface and communicate on other, higher, frequencies (such as UHF or VHF).

Electromagnetic waves in the ELF frequency range (3–3000 Hz) (see also SLF) can travel through the oceans and reach submarines anywhere. Building an ELF transmitter is a formidable challenge, as they have to work at incredibly long wavelengths: The US Navy's system operates at 76 hertz the Soviet/Russian system (called ZEVS) at 82 hertz. The latter corresponds to a wavelength of 3658.5 kilometers. That is more than a quarter of the Earth's diameter. Obviously, the usual half-wavelength dipole antenna cannot be constructed, as it would spread across a large country.

A VLF Antenna site in US. A typical VLF Transmitter site occupies a huge surface area and stretches for kms mostly . An example is a Grid laid out in the form of a Six pointed star (Star of David), with the Main Transmitter Station (MTS) at the center and transmission towers at the points. There are 13+ Transmission towers totally. The grid is composed of a central mast and two concentric circles of six masts each.

A surfaced submarine can use ordinary radio communications. Submarines may use naval HF, VHF and UHF voice and teleprinter circuits. Where available, dedicated military communications satellite systems are preferred for long distance communications, as HF may betray the location of the submarine. The US Navy's system is called Submarine Satellite Information Exchange Sub-System (SSIXS), a component of the Navy Ultra High Frequency Satellite Communications System (UHF SATCOM).

A Radio room inside a submarine.

No wonder the Indian Navy attached high priority to submarine communications even decades ago and subsequently anticipated the importance of Very Low Frequency (VLF) underwater transmissions instantaneously. As part of an ambitious naval modernisation program, during the mid-1980s the Indian Navy had constructed a VLF broadcasting station in Tamil Nadu.

Although not publicly declared, it was reported that the United States, the undisputed leader of submarine communications actively collaborated in the project, which was completed in September 1986. This facility needs to be viewed as an “initial step” in the quest of development of underwater Very Low Frequency/Extremely Low Frequency (VLF/ELF) and laser communications for effective coordination of the submarines with the Indian NCA. The operational VLF facility is used by the Indian Navy to communicate with its SSK fleet of Russian Kilo Class and German Type 1500, with trailing communication buoys at periscope depth of 10 to 20-metres. After the nuclear-powered ATV become operational, the VLF facility will permit Indian National Command Authority to issue launch orders to the submerged ATVs at periscope depth.

INS Kattabomman, located at Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu is home to a VLF (Very Low Frequency) station and communications network. It allows the Navy to communicate with its submarines, underwater, at long ranges. It can monitor surface vessels and can distinguish between merchant vessels and naval vessels over long distances in the Indian Ocean. It is the first of its kind in Asia and its technology was developed locally. VLF facilities exist at Chennai and Calcutta as well.

G.Vipin Shankar (SWL)

Sep 2, 2009

Chennai Airport VHF Radio Communication Infrastructure having problems

Subsequent to the earlier article , this interesting article appeared in TOI newspaper today 2nd Sept 2009.

Pilots, ATC fume as radio at city airport cracks up
Arun Ram TNN Chennai: The sole area control VHF radio at Chennai airport, which monitors aircraft movements up to 200 miles, is cracking up in the face of increasing traffic, putting pilots and controllers under severe stress. Though the air traffic control (ATC) is using a second area control frequency on a trial basis, it is unable to make it fully functional because of a shortage of personnel. The situation could prove risky during monsoon, when pilots ask for urgent deviations to avoid turbulence. Unlike in Delhi and Mumbai (which have 2 frequencies) and Kolkata (which has 3), Chennai has only one frequency (118.9 Mhz) for area control.

Chennai handles about 350 take-offs and landings daily, and a controller has to monitor and interact with up to 30 aircraft during peak hours. This results in overlapping of conversation between several cockpits and the ATC. Pilots call it ‘stepping down’. “When I am stepped down, all I get to hear is a buzz,” a pilot told TOI. “Normally, it may not be dangerous as I come under the approach radar once I am 50 nautical miles from the tower. But during monsoon, when I may have to request for urgent deviations, it could prove shaky.” ATC officers said such overlaps often happen. “In two years, traffic has doubled but upgradation of gadgets and manpower has not happened,” said an ATC official.

Air traffic management executive director V Somasundaram told TOI that the Airports Authority of India was planning upgradation of facilities across the country, but denied having problems with the Chennai area control VHF. Radar blacks out for 4 hours Hundreds of passengers at Chennai airport were put to hardship as flight movements were disrupted for about four hours on Tuesday because of radar failure.

The approach radar at the ATC went blank after an earthmover snapped an underground cable. P 4 AIR POCKET Trouble in air as gadgets fail INADEQUATE MANPOWER DESPITE TRAFFIC DOUBLING IN 3 YEARS Chennai: Too few men grappling with too old machines — that’s what Chennai air traffic control is. While the approach radar conks off often, as it happened on Tuesday morning, the single area control VHF used to communicate with pilots up to 200 nautical miles is proving too inadequate for the exploding traffic. “It was okay to have just one VHF till three years ago, when the airport was handling only about 150 movements a day. The traffic has doubled since then. Though we are trying out a second frequency, 124.45 MHz, to monitor aircraft between 80 nautical miles and 40 nautical miles, we don’t have enough people to operate both the frequencies simultaneously. We need at least 200 controllers, but we have hardly 140 people working in four shifts,” said an air traffic official.

Unlike Chennai air traffic control, which has only one area control frequency, Delhi and Mumbai have two, and Kolkata has three. All hell breaks lose at the control tower when the ageing approach radar that monitors flight movements within a radius of 50 nautical miles also fails, sending the controllers scurrying for pen and paper to make manual calculations of aircraft positions. Adding to the controllers’ nightmare are the confusing call signs (code names) of aircraft. There is no uniformity in terms of number of digits; some have two digits, others three or four. Three different airlines have call signs such as 442, 2442 and 3442. “During peak hours, with the VHF acting up, we may not hear one digit and may end up giving instructions to the wrong pilot,” said an air traffic controller.

When contacted, air traffic management executive director V Somasundaram said he had not got any complaint on the area control VHF malfunctioning. “Anyway, we are planning to upgrade the system across the country. Chennai will have a new system called performancebased navigation, which would make air traffic control more effective from October. As for manpower, we keep enhancing the strength as per the requirements,” he said. Chennai ATC has a wide range, extending to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the east, Thiruvananthapuram in the south, Hyderabad in the north and almost till Goa in the west. Besides handling landings and takeoffs, Chennai also has to monitor movements along busy overhead flight paths like the Singapore-Dubai route. The control tower at the airport monitors aircraft movements within a radius of 10 nautical miles using 118.1 MHz frequency. Then there is the monopulse secondary surveillance radar (MSSR), called the approach radar, which has a range of 50 nautical miles. Beyond this and up to 200 nautical miles, the communication is handled by the area control VHF on 118.9 MHz frequency.

Courtesy :

Aug 16, 2009

Introduction to Radio Communications in Air Traffic Control operations

I am sure all of us who love Radio communications are aware that both ships as well as aircraft across the world primarily use radio communications as a mode of ensuring that there is safe movements of passengers and cargo across the world from point to point.
Although modern technologies like sattelite communications etc do play their role in keeping aircraft or ships moving safely, radio communications on VHF/HF is still the backbone of air/ocean traffic control operations. I have already published an article on ship traffic operations and so this article would focus on air traffic management.
The soft and relaxed voice from the ground has a soothing effect on the pilot who completes his tiring journey by making a successful landing. It's a wonder for many how an aircraft reaches its final destination from a departure station, who all are involved in the process of safe flight and landing ? It is understandable if they assume that the pilot is the person who takes care of everything from take off, enroute flying and landing.
People in general know about the pilot, but much less about those who remain behind the screen and shoulder the responsibility of guiding the flights from the starting an engine at departure aerodrome to its landing at destination.
The limited field of view from the pilot's cockpit limits pilot's ability to avoid any close proximity to other air traffic around him during the course of the flight as well as on the ground. He is, therefore, dependent on the Air Traffic Controller for directing him in his flight and on the ground for all manoeuvres right till the end of his journey.
To eliminate confusion in understanding a particular instruction, standard Radio Phraseologies have been laid down which are understood by the pilots and Air Traffic Controllers the world over. A small mistake by Air Traffic controller or a misunderstanding by a pilot can result in a disaster and the loss of many lives. While pilots are required to follow Controller's instructions faithfully and meticulously, Air traffic Controller ensures that the instructions given are clear and flawless.
Although globally there are private players you manage air traffic operations, in India strictly air traffic operations is under the control of Airports Authority of India who manage the entire civilian skies which India controls. Defence has their own Air Traffic operations primarily managed by the Indian Air Force.
Civilian Air traffic management across the country is executed through a network of control towers, navigational aids and beacon stations which are located both at airports as well as non airport locations across the country. The Radio communication part of its consists of three main components.
Control Towers - Any airport you see you cannot miss a tall oval building which rises above other structures in the airports and that essential is the control tower with which an aircraft contacts first before a pilot can start his engine. Then its the tower control which guides the aircraft till take off and upto say 5-10 nautical miles when its handed over to Radar.

Chennai Airport Tower Frequency : 118.100 MHZ
Approach Radar - Once taken off the aircraft then switches to another radio frequency which guides them till possibly approx 200 nautical miles from the takeoff location or to another ground control enroute to final destination airport. Once the aircraft nears the destination airport the process happens vice-versa with first approach radar controllers guiding the aircraft till visual sight of control tower and air traffic controllers guide the aircraft to land safely.

Chennai Airport Approach/Radar Frequency : 127.900 MHZ / 124.450MHZ

FIC Region - This is more at a global level where the whole world is divided into various Flight information regions and aircraft when they travel from say Asia to Europe pass through multiple FIC Region controls. Chennai is an FIC Region and has control upto near Singapore on the eastern side and many airports under its region.
Control Towers and Approach Radar operations use VHF communications for contacting aircrafts, whereas FIC's use HF for long distance communication.

If you are more interested to know about Air Traffic Control operations in India AirSpace , pls visit the Indian Air Traffic Controllers guild website which has plenty of info.

G.Vipin Shankar, SWL

Ham Radio demo at the Regional level CBSE Science exibition at Chennai

An Hamradio demo was conducted at the regional level CBSE Science exibition held at Chennai recently . In the 10th standard CBSE syllabus on the social studies, under the disaster management heading there is chapter on how Amateur Radio is helpful during the natural clalamities globally as well as in India . Based on this The Devi Academy School in valasaravakkam has taken a keen interest to put up a demo station at the Regional level CBSE science Exibition held on Auguest 10th & 11th 2009 at The Hindu Seniorsecondary school in Indira Nagar, Chennai. OM Shanmugam VU2 CSM took care of setting up the station and explained to the visitors/students about the importance of the Amateur radio during disaster situations .

The response from the CBSE Schools and especially students/visitors was overwhelming . We thank the principal and the staff of The Devi Academy School , VU2CSM and an SWL WB Sivaraj who is an old student of The Hindu Senior Secondary School who had arranged the battery backup at the Venue. Hope more students taken up this as an active hobby and thus ensuring HAM Radio continues to grow as an ever exciting hobby of keeping you voice on air.

Jul 12, 2009

Memorable Eyeball/Gettogether on 12th July'09 Sunday at VU3STJ's House

VU3 STJ OM Radhakrishnan , also known popularly & affectionately known on the HAM airwaves as "Radha" became a ham in the year 1996 . He recently constructed a house behind the chennai vandalur zoo and invited fellow Chennai HAMS for a eyeball gettogether on Sunday 12th July . About ten hams managed to spare time and gathered at Radha's house and also helped STJ install aVHF yagi Antenna at a height of 50 feet from the ground level which should ensure he comfortably continues to be able to handle the task of handling the night Chennai VHF Radio Net as "Net Controller" . A very aromatic/hot coffee arranged by his XYL ensured all got some much required energy boost before we would begin the installation work for the antenna .

Radha is also active on HF 40meters apart from VHF . He is a retired Headmaster settled in chennai with his two sons and has been offlate conducting the chennai VHF net in the nights regularly as "Net Contoller" . With his antenna setup he becomes the signal report station for chennai hams from south side beyond Vandalur . VU3 CNN, VU2 KBX, VU2 RF, VU2 TTL, VU2 GHX, VU3 MPK, VU3 RGK, VU2 LFW and VU2 DPN were part of the team of Chennai Hams who made it to today's eyebal gettogether cum VHF Antenna installalation support.

It was a very nice and memorable sunday evening eyeball meet at radha's house and wish we could organise more such house visit eyeballs. All those who visited Radha's house today wish to thank Radha and his XYL for the wonderful hospitality extended.

For full PhotoAlbum pls click here

Introduction to Marine VHF Radio

Although IMMARSAT (International Maritime Sattelite Network) / and HF Radio ( is used for over the horizon long distance marine communications across the world, VHF is still the backbone for line of sight marine communications worldwide.
Marine VHF radio is installed on all large ships and nowadays most motorized small craft even in India . It is used for a wide variety of purposes, including summoning rescue services and communicating with harbours, locks, bridges and marinas, and operates in the VHF frequency range, between 156 to 174 MHz. Although it is widely used for collision avoidance, its use for this purpose is contentious and is strongly discouraged by some countries.
A marine VHF set is a combined transmitter and receiver and only operates on standard, international frequencies known as channels. Channel 16 (156.8 MHz) is the international calling and distress channel . Channel 9 can also be used in some places as a secondary call and distress channel. Transmission power ranges between 1 and 25 watts, giving a maximum range of up to about 60 nautical miles (111 km) between aerials mounted on tall ships and hills, and 5 nautical miles (9 km) between aerials mounted on small boats at sea-level. Frequency modulation is used.

In the Indian Maritime scenario Channel 16 (156.800 MHZ) and Channel 10 (156.500 MHZ) is used for routine port traffic control operations including maritime Search and Rescue.
Modern day marine VHF radios have a variety of features in addition to basic transmit and receive capabilities. All fixed mount marine VHF radios produced nowadays have some level of DSC calling capability. A number of the more expensive units are capable of acting as a hailer when connected to a hailer horn, can work with optional voice scramblers, and a few even have the ability to use a Bluetooth headset. A large number of unbiased independent reports on both fixed mount and handheld marine VHF radios can be seen at Marine Electronics Reviews.

Marine VHF mostly uses "simplex" transmission, where communication can only take place in one direction at a time. A transmit button on the set or microphone determines whether it is operating as a transmitter or a receiver. The majority of channels, however, are set aside for "duplex" transmissions channels where communication can take place in both directions simultaneously.

Each duplex channel has two frequency assignments. This is mainly because, in the days before mobile phones and satcomms became widespread, the duplex channels could be used to place calls on the public telephone system for a fee via a marine operator. This facility is still available in some areas, though its use has largely died out. In US waters, Marine VHF radios can also receive weather radio broadcasts, where they are available, on receive-only channels wx1, wx2, etc.
Amateur Station/HAM on board ships in India as per WPC Rules :
(1) The Central Government may on receipt of an application authorise establishment, maintenance and working of an amateur station on board a ship registered in India. Applications for such authorisation shall be accompanied by a written approval of the master or owners of the ship concerned.

(2) The establishment, maintenance and working of amateur stations on board ships shall, in addition to the conditions specified , be subject to such other conditions as the Central Government may determine from time to time and such conditions, among others, shall include the following, namely:-

(i) The amateur station on board ship shall be operated only while the ship is in International waters or Indian territorial waters. Its operation within the territorial waters of another country shall be in conformity with laws and regulations of the country concerned.

(ii) It shall not be operated whilst the ship is in any harbour in India.

(iii) The callsign allotted to such stations shall have suffix `MS' followed by the callsign of the ship in case of radiotelegraphy or the official name of the ship in case of radiotelephony.
(iv) The amateur station on board a ship shall discontinue operation at any time on request of an officer of the Central Government, the Master or Radio Officer of the ship or any land station.

Famous Indian HAMS

This is an extract of famous Indian HAMS listed by VU2SDU Shaikh Sadaqathullah (Amateur Radio Operator from Chennai (Madras),Tamilnadu,India. . Its a wonderful site and we are sure lot of hours have gone into putting so much info/thoughts into webspace.

Apr 24, 2009

The Hindu features an article on Ham Hobby in Chennai

Catch this on print in The Hindu Metroplus dated 25th April 2009 or Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Chennaihams wishes to thank Prince Frederick (The Hindu) for the good coverage which would give more visibility to the HAM hobby in Chennai to ensure this hobby keeps growing further in this era where other communication modes are expanding fast.

Apr 18, 2009

TImes of India honours all Chennai HAMs with an article on the occasion of World Amateur Radio Day

Catch this on print in Page 6, Times of India (Main Paper/Times City) dated 18th April 2009 or Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Chennaihams wishes to thank Kamini Mathai(TOI) for the good coverage which would give more visibility to this passion in Chennai , thus attracting more people to become HAMmers.

Apr 13, 2009

Chennai HAM Couple featured in THE HINDU - METROPLUS

Chennai HAM couple VU2DRK (Ramakrishnan) & his wife VU2MRK (Manjula) were featured in the mush register section of The Hindu - Metroplus Chennai dated 14th April 2009.

Click this link for full article

Wishes from all Chennai HAMS/SWL's to the couple for a wonderful life ahead and offcourse keep hamming to keep your voice on air always.

Apr 12, 2009

Chennai Eyeball Meet : A Memorable Gettogether

After longtime in Chennai all HAM's/SWL's got an opportunity to come together for an eyeball and share lots of things about the wonderful hobby. The response was overwhelming with almost 50+ people making time out of their precious Sunday and coming to venue at TTK road to meet their old buddies as well share their knowledge/experience with budding amateur radio enthusiasts/SWL’s.
A short photo profile of the eyeball is enclosed , full story board with photos would be updated shortly.

Vu2GMN Gopal Madhavan (President - Amateur Radio Society of India) gave the welcome address and elaborated on Amateur radio in general as well as the current bottlenecks the hobby faces in India and how ARSI is working to make things easier for budding HAMS.

Many senior HAM’s/SWL’s as well as budding hobbyists participated in the event and many shared their thoughts about this hobby as well as gave some much needed guidance for new comers.
VU2DPN also informed that the ASOC exam study group has now become 20+ members and hence most probably senior HAM’s are liaising with WPC wireless monitoring station (Perungudi) to conduct a restricted grade exam in Chennai by June’09 end.
All those interested to take up the exam are requested to register at to start getting the online lessons as well soft copy of study material which would be readily e-mailed to your mail ID .
Special thanks to VU3MOA Mohan for arranging for the venue and hope more and more volunteers come forward to organize such get together’s in Chennai in near future for the benefit of HAM community. Anybody wishing to publish a story/contribute photos like your HAM shack etc pls send across and we would review and publish same.

For full photoprofile of the event pls click on this link PhotoAlbum of Eyeball

Apr 2, 2009

Informal HAM Eyeball at Chennai on 12th April 2009

As a precursor to the world amateur radio day coming up in April month (18thApril) the Chennaihamsblogspot invites all the Chennai HAM's and SWL's to come together for the passion of this wonderful hobby under one roof in chennai for an informal eyeball on April 12th 2009 at 4:30PM onwards . Its long time since Chennai has an interaction like this.

The Address is as follows:
Maharastra Education Fund Hall No.290,
TTK road , Alwarpet , Chennai Opp to Ethiraj Kalyanamandapam.

The eyeball meeting is a casual interaction meet for all SWL's/budding HAMS tomeet around with buddies to discuss on preparation plans to take up ASOL examsand also for all OM's to catch up old friends , have a chat etc.Its also an opportunity to share suggestions/ideas for the improvement of theblogsite as well overall HAM activities in Chennai or any other subject relatedto ham radio.Your presence for this gettogether will be the key to success of the event and astepping stone for organising further HAM activities during 2009 in Chennai.

For any further info/suggestions pls call anyone below.
Deepan /VU2DPN/9840790506
Vipin /SWL/9840873578
Devdas /VU2DH/9841015516
Sathyan /VU3MES/9840988517
Hope we all have a wonderful interactive session during the eyeball.

Mar 12, 2009

13th HAM VHF Foxhunt conducted at Calicut,Kerala

The 13th Kerala VHF Fox Hunt was succesfully conducted at Calicut , Kerala on 8th March 2009 . Eight teams participated in total and a large crowd including members of public and press had assembled to witness the function which received lot of media coverage . The event was covered locally in Calicut by INDIAN EXPRESS, MALAYALA MANORAMA & MATHRUBHUMI and also TV. The programme was conducted by Quilon Amateur Radio League in association with Calicut Repeater Club.

VU2KGN QARL President Natarajan VU2KGN giving a brief to the chief guest about HAM Radio.

Rest of gathering including HAMS,SWL's, media etc.

On the D-Day 8th March among the thousands of radio waves in the air , there was a tone in a particular frequency 144.600 Mhz , when all the six teams linedup on at 1000 hrs with their directional antennas and HAM RADIO Handies .

Taking bearing in a building top - VU2DH - DAS, VU3GGK-GOPAL, VU2KIV DR.VIJESH, VU2OGO SANTOSH, VU2VJT THOMAS

The tools of the trade including VHF handie, Maps, compass etc and its defenitely looks tech stuff from scotland yard or straight out of a bond movie.

They rushed in various directions, few of them were proceeding towards the medical college where they receive strong signals towards the driving exam grounds near CHEVAYOOR. The fox was VU2RDL RAJAGOPAL Vice President of QARL. This is the first time VHF Fox hunt being organised in Calicut which the 13th Kerala VHF Fox hunt being conducted by QARL.
Ham radio enthusiasts volunteer for communication support anywhere in the world during emergencies and natural calamities, and even ships and aircrafts in disaster. The aim of conducting FOX hunt was to create public awareness that HAMs can serve Government & public during emergencies. In the interesting game, the team from Chennai hunted down the the fox first within record 45 minutes.

This first prize winning team consisted of VU2DH(DAS), VU3GGK GOPALAKRISHNAN (GOPAL) & VU2KIV DR. VIJITH . The Radio Wave hunters on the move having a close discussion before finally closing in on the fox den.

First position winning team VU3GGK,VU2KIV,VU2DH with fox VU2RDL RAJAGOPAL after capturing the fox Den. All the participants at the Fox Den.
The other team consisting of OM Ibrahim, VU3IRH from Pollachi and OM Prabhu, VU2TPP won the second prize . The third prize went to team comprising of OM Santhosh, VU2OGO and OM Thomas, VU2VJT from Payyannur. The winners would be awarded CSD rolling shields in addition to cash prizes and certificates during Ham Fair, 2009 at Kollam.
All Chennai HAMS/SWL's would like to convey hearty congratulations to all the partipants and winners for keeping up the spirit of this passionate hobby . Available photos are shown here , if any more photos related to this event if anyone has pls send across by e-mail and we could upload in this space.

Mar 6, 2009


Each year on 18 April , radio amateurs celebrate World Amateur Radio Day. On that day in 1925 the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) was founded. In 2009, the IARU theme of the event is Amateur Radio: Your Resource in Disaster and Emergency Communication.

Indian HAMS have contributing heavily during disaster situations. In Gujarat, for 10 days after the 2001 earthquake, hams were the only people who could communicate effectively. A number of them drove straight to Gujarat when they heard about the tragedy, using car batteries to power their radios so they could call for help whenever they found victims or unclaimed bodies. Every time there's a cyclone, an air crash or disasters in open fields where communication is difficult, hams are called upon for help since their mobile radio systems always work. Often, one ham is stationed at the district collector's office, just so he can talk to the authorities. Over the years, many hams have lost their lives when serving during disasters. Deepa, a young lady who went to Gujarat to help out, picked up a disease there and died. More recently, a Sri Lankan ham, who was in Iraq on a peace keeping mission as part of the UN group for communications, was shot dead.

Meanwhile, in Tamil Nadu itself during the Tsunami in 2004 , HAMS swung to action to support State Government in relief ops and hams from across South India are being mobilised to help in whatever ways they can. They established stations in Vellankani, Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Kanyakumari, Pondicherry and Thanjavur and also set up control stations in the bigger cities, like Chennai, Bangalore, Kolkata and Delhi.

While the Amateur Radio Service has traditionally made its contributions to emergency and disaster response ever since its very beginnings almost 100 years ago, this role has gained a lot of importance just in the recent past. It has done so mainly for two reasons:
** The number and dimension of natural as well as man-made disasters is unfortunately on the increase, and
** The modern communication technologies are increasingly complex, infrastructure-dependent and therefore also increasingly vulnerable.

The Amateur Radio Services puts two equally valuable assets at its disposal for emergency and disaster prevention, preparedness and response:
** A large number of very flexible and mostly infrastructure-independent, local, national, regional and global networks, and
** A large number of skilled operators, who know how to communicate with often very limited means and to establish communications even under the most difficult circumstances.
The tools at their disposal range from the most robust means such as battery-operated stations operating in Morse code to links through amateur radio satellites and interconnectivity with the Internet, in voice, text, image and data modes. They range from local VHF networks of fixed, mobile and portable stations to shortwave networks that span the globe. All these networks are operated on a daily basis by men and women who are thoroughly familiar with their technology and their intricacies.
Telecommunications have become a commodity that society takes for granted, and the sudden loss of that service is often felt in a similar way to the loss of shelter, food and medical support. When disasters occur in regions that do not have good coverage by public networks, or when existing communications infrastructures have just been disrupted or destroyed by such events, the Amateur Radio Service comes to the rescue. Amateur Radio operators provide communications for the rescuers and relief workers and their organizations and they help to provide communications for those affected by a disaster.

In fact, contributions to emergency and disaster relief are a major argument for the preservation and the extension of the privileges the Amateur Radio Service enjoys in international and national regulations. This is one of the reasons why more and more Amateur Radio operators, through their clubs and their national societies, prepare very seriously for their role in emergencies. However, their skills can be put to use only if they are known by other first responders. Effective response to emergencies can only occur with the work of volunteers in all the various fields; from search and rescue to medical assistance and those who can provide food and shelter. Communication skills are a new, but equally vital commodity.
Activities world over / in India cities on the occasion of World Amateur Radio Day 2009 can be a great opportunity to spread the word about what the “hams” are doing for the community.
As 18th April 2009 is fast approaching , pls start your throught process and we invite suggestions/ideas from all Chennai based HAMS/SWL's/Radio Enthusiasts on what we could do in Chennai on this day to further spread the passion of this hobby among common people. If we all come together then something nice could be organised at Chennai this year on this special day for HAM/Radio Enthusiasts.

Mar 1, 2009

HAM VHF Repeaters in South India - General Information

This is already compiled info available in the internet on the HAM VHF repeaters in South India, but many are non functional at this point of time, We invite current status info on all these repeaters from HAMS across SIndia to create an uptodate one and post on this webspace for the benefit of all HAMS/SWL's across South India.

A Short note about repeater equipment for info , inputs from site plus few other sources.

A repeater is a device that extends the range of mobile and portable radios. A repeater consists of a dedicated high-power radio unit that receives transmissions on its input frequency and simultaneously re-transmits them on its output frequency. Most repeaters have a set, band-dependant channel spacing (all repeaters on a particular band will have their input and output frequencies separated by the same amount, known as a REPEATER OFFSET).

Ham radio makes use of repeaters quite frequently, as do most commercial radio users. For very obvious reasons, scanner users need only worry about monitoring a repeater’s output or tx frequency. The most basic repeater consists of an FM receiver on one frequency and an FM transmitter on another frequency usually in the same radio band, connected together so that when the receiver picks up a signal, the transmitter is keyed and rebroadcasts whatever is heard. Ham repeaters are found mainly in the VHF two meter (144 - 146 MHz) and the UHF 70 centimeter (434 - 438 MHz) bands, but can be used on almost any frequency pair above 29 MHz.

Note that different countries have different rules; for example, in the United States, the two meter band is 144-148MHz, while in the United Kingdom and most of Europe) it's 144-146MHz.
Repeater frequency sets are known as "repeater pairs," and in the ham radio community most follow ad hoc standards for the difference between the two frequencies, commonly called the offset. In India two-meter band, the standard offset is 600 kHz (0.6 MHz), In the days of crystal-controlled radios, these pairs were identified by the last portion of the transmit (Input) frequency followed by the last portion of the receive (Output) frequency that the ham would put into the radio.

Thus "one-five seven-five" (15/75) meant that hams would transmit on 145.75MHz and listen on 145.15MHz (while the repeater would do the opposite, listening on 145.75 and transmitting on 145.15). Since the late 1970s, the use of synthesized, microprocessor-controlled radios, and widespread adoption of standard frequency splits have changed the way repeater pairs are described. Repeaters typically have a timer to cut off retransmission of a signal that goes too long. Repeaters operated by groups with an emphasis on emergency communications often limit each transmission to 30 seconds, while others may allow three minutes or even longer. The time restarts after a short pause following each transmission, and many systems feature a beep or chirp tone to signal that this has taken place.

A Band-pass/ Band-reject Filter otherwise known as Duplexer is used along with the repeater to operate on a single antenna for both transmit and receive. The Duplexer may have a set 2 or 3 cavities on both Transmit and receive side. A high gain Omni-directional antenna will be normally used at the repeater locations.

In India compared to other state/Cities Chennai is having maximum VHF repeater Stations.
Call Sign Tx Frequency Rx Frequency Location
VU2 PUM 145.600MHz 145. 00 MHz Chennai
VU2 MRR 145.775 MHz 145.175 MHz Chennai
VU3 MVR 145.675 MHz 145.075 MHz Chennai
VU3 VGC 145.575 MHz 144.975 MHz 75 KM from Chennai
VU2 VCM 145.475 MHz 145.875 MHz 150KM from Chennai
VU2 X I S 145.375 MHz 144.775 MHz 75 Km from Chennai

Due to some technical snags few of the above repeaters are not working. In a few months time all the repeaters will be operational . The First UHF repeater station in India is also located in Chennai.

VU2 MUG 434.100MHz / 435.800 MHZ

Each repeater station location and installation was a dream and it carries so much struggle/memories of different people who made it possible . The featured articles will follow with updates about the story of each repeater . In 2009 Chennai hams are trying to do more research and new ideas on the repeater maintenance , keep visiting this site for more updates.

Also this is an interesting link with info on the latest models of HAM Transreceivers from ICOM,Kenwood,Yaesu,Motorola etc . Pls check out

Feb 23, 2009

Becoming a HAM Radio Operator in India

Amateur radio, often called HAM Radio, is both a hobby and a service in which participants, called "hams," use various types of radio comunications equipment to communicate with other radio amateurs for public service , recreation and self-training. Amateur radio operators / HAMS enjoy personal (and often worldwide) wireless communications with each other and are able to support their communities with emergency and disaster communications if necessary, while increasing their personal knowledge of electronics and radio theory. An estimated six million people throughout the world are regularly involved with amateur radio and its a very addictive passion like photography, adventure sports etc.

Amateur radio or HAM Radio is practised by more than 16,000 licensed users in India. The first amateur radio operator was licensed in 1921, and by the mid-1930s, there were around 20 amateur radio operators in India. Amateur radio operators have played a vital role during disasters and national emergencies such as earthquakes, tsunamis, cyclones, floods, and bomb blasts, by providing voluntary emergency communications in the affected areas.

The first step is to get an amateur radio license in India from the ministry of communications/Wireless Planning Commission(WPC) . For the same, you have to write and pass an exam, and depending upon the category of license you are applying for, you may also need to learn the morse code. Don't worry that it would be too technical, its simple stuff which you need to learn and within reach of anybody, not essentially only engineers/tech folks.

This examination is held monthly in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai , every two months in Ahmedabad, Nagpur and Hyderabad, and every four months in some smaller cities, but it all depends on number of applicants . The examination consists of two 50-mark written sections: Radio theory and practice, Regulations; and a practical test consisting of a demonstration of Morse code proficiency in both sending and receiving for Grade I & II. After passing the examination, the candidate must then clear a police verification process . After clearance, the WPC grants the licence along with the user-chosen call sign. This procedure can take up to 12 months.
The catogories of licenses are;
i) Advanced Amateur Wireless telegraph Station Licence; You need to know a lot of advanced electronics theory, plus be able to send and receive morse at 15 words per minute.
(ii) Amateur Wireless Telegraph Station Licence, Grade - I; Advance electronics theory - and morse at the speed of 15 words per minute.
(ii) Amateur Wireless Telegraph Station Licence, Grade - II; A brief theory exam, plus morse at a speed of 5 words per minute.
(iii) Restited Grade Amateur Wireless Telegraph Station Licence Only the theory exam and no morse. This restricted licence allows you to use VHF/UHF equipment, that is limited in range to line of sight type of distances, similar to the ones used by police and other services.
(iv) Short Wave Listeners' Amateur Wireless Telegraph Station Licence No exams, no morse! You can only listen - you can't talk back, not very exciting really.

Who can apply?
Only individuals over the age of 18 may apply to become a ham. But even if you are not 18 yet, do not despair. If you are over 12 and can get your parents or guardians to write that you are interested in wireless telegraphy, you can still get a ham radio licence.

For all those interested, the book "ABC of Amateur Radio and Citizen Band: Authored by Rajesh Verma" is available in Bangalore at below address, alternatively you could send them a DD along with courier charges and they will courier it to you.

EFY Enterprises No:9 , 17th Main 1st Cross,
HAL 2nd Stage, Behind Bajaj Showroom , Indira Nagar , Bangalore - 8 , Tel : 25260394
Cost : Rs.75

Once you are prepared , for taking the exams we may need to apply to the nearest Wireless Planning commission's monitoring station which in Chennai is locate at Perungudi. If there are more than 25 people they would come to any place we decide, else we may need to go there.

Some senior HAMS in Chennai through this free webspace are trying to bring together few interested HAM enthusiasts/SWL as a study group and propose to guide new comers to take up the ASOC exams including conduct weekend classes . Pls spread this messaage among your friends also and all interested people in Chennai Region pls send a mail and register at
If you would like to watch live as to once you get your India HAM Radio License , how do you setup a basic Ham Radio station and what are the essentials/options for that , visit below link for some good videos , this info is courtesy VU3MES.

Mahabs Eyeball Meet - More Photo Profiles

These are the few photographs sent by VU2 LFW OM Narayana Rao from chennai , special thanks to him for contributing. Anybody wishing to share more photos pls send in. Full spectrum photos are available at