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