Jan 30, 2010
Jan 26, 2010
Due to the untiring efforts & committment of a team of Chennai Hams , the third and highest point repeater in Chennai range has been re-activated at Swamimalai/Yelagiri Hills . Yelagiri is a hill-station on midway betweenChennai and Bangalore located at an altitude of 1,050 metres (3,500 ft).Distance : 258+ km from Chennai, 150 km from Bangalore.
Yelagiri Repeater Frequency : 145.475(-600)
Approximate Geographic GPS Coordinates :
Latitude : 12.572827 / Longitude : 78.649235
This repeater has been non operational for a longtime now due to various technical reasons, last week a dedicated team of HAMS made the visit and the tedious climb up the top of the hill and carried out basic repairs. It was tested fromChennai with good signal report usng beam as well as Omni directional antennas .
VU2ABS(Aravind),Vu2DH (Das),Vu3VWR(Raghav) & Vu3MOA(Mohan) with repeater room and tower base in backdrop.
In further weeks it needs to be tested to see how much range this repeater could cover, but this repeater should pave way for reliable amateur VHF link betweenChennai & Bangalore as well as all other towns and cities in South India within 150-200-250 Kms of the Yelagiri repeater.
Approx Coverage range of repeater within a 200 Kms radius, subject to line of sight clearance, equipment, antenna type/height etc.
VU2DH(Das) climb up the hill through the bushes, fitting his reputation as an expert fox hunter.
Vu2ABS(Aravind) next to the repeater/duplexer cabinet.
With this Chennai has three VHF repeaters operational, the other two repeatersare 145.775(-600) & 145.675(-600). There is also a UHF repeater under test ,Tx-435.800/Rx-434.100.
All HAMS in South India are requested to try accessing this Yelagiri repeater and give you feedback.
Thanks and Regards
Jan 23, 2010
A state-of-the-art HAM Repair Shack, offcourse under Indian conditions this might be little too much for households.
Hand Tools: You can't have toooo many!
1. A good set of screw drivers. Look for a phillips head type and a flat blade type. There are many different sizes of screw drivers out there. Pick and assortment of the sizes you think you may need. Multi-use screw drivers are vary handy and they have usually 4 different blades that can be interchanged in the handle and one tool will do the job of 4 saving you space in your tool box.
2. Tool Box...as mentioned in #1 above. The size and type depends on the amount of tools you may want to add in the future.
3. Wire cutters. These vary in size according to the wire size that you will be cutting. As a general rule of thumb, many wire type antennas that you may build, require #12 or #14 gauge wire, so the wire cutters should be of appropriate size. Wire crimpers would be a good tool to have latter on. These aid in the connection of various connectors to wire ends and splices. Some even have small bolt cutters built in....very handy when you need them.
4. Wrenches and socket sets. Adjustable wrenchs are recommend as they are multipurpose and fit many different size nuts or you can get the open end types or closed end types to suit your taste. Many choices are yours in socket and wrench sets that come in handy carrying cases for good prices with a wide assortment of sizes to fit "all". Wrenches are usually needed when mounting many antennas on supports depending on their construction and the mfg's ecommendations and many other variables.
5. Pliers. These come in many different sizes and shapes according to their intended use. A couple of different sizes of "Channel Lock" types are very handy along with regular hand sizes. Some come with wire cutter ends. "Needle nose" types are very handy also and come in many sizes. "Ignition pliers" are very handy for small jobs and fit in your pocket. A pair of "Vice Grips" is a help.
6. Tape measure. 12 feet or longer depending on your needs. Great aid for antenna work!
7. Electrical Tape. Not really considered a hand tool, but you will certainly use it.
Again, don't buy the cheap stuff, especially if it will be used outdoors.
8. A good sharp pocket knife or utility knife. Used for trimming insulation from wire, coax, etc. Use as needed and be careful.
9. Soldering iron and/or gun. This will depend on your ability to solder. Many times in your ham radio lifetime, you will need to be able to solder, so if you don't know how....just get a ham friend who knows how to help you learn or search the internet. There are many good "How to Solder" web sites out there. When soldering, practice, practice and lots more practice for the inexperienced!
10. All of those tools I left off of this list that will come as time passes and you get more acquainted with exactly what you may need depending on how far you want to go with your station and your ability......don't forget a good ladder that will safely reach your job.
11. SAFETY FIRST! Hand tools, ladders, test equipment, other ham equipment, etc, can get you hurt, or worse. Metal ladders should NEVER be used when working with ANY electrical job. Get help if you don't know what you are doing or are not mechanically inclined...be safe, not sorry! Remember Antenna Safety and the lethal levels of electricity you may be working with in or around your ham station!
Suggested Test Equipment for the New Ham:
(Again, not presented in any particular order of importance)
1. SWR/POWER METER.
It refers to an external swr/power meter. Yes, you may have a built in unit in your radio, but how do you know it is accurate? An external meter is invaluable in trouble shooting station problems!
This will strictly be an individual choice. It must cover the frequency range and potential rf power level that your station will be operating on. Some are built into different radios, some are external. As a general rule, most external swr/power meters are more accurate than the little ones built into the face of many radios. The external types come in many sizes, frequency ranges and power levels. An swr/power meter that covers up to 30mhz...will usually not work on 6 meters and higher frequencies with any sort of accuracy. Assure yourself your meter is the right one for your station by reading the specifications of it. You need accuracy....not guess work!
2. A good multimeter.
Again, your choice. It can be either digital or analog. It needs to be able to measure at least continuity, voltage (AC and DC), current, (preferably AC and DC), and resistance (ohms), up to the expected levels you may need to measure with a safety margin to spare. It is also assumed you know how to use one....if you don't, read the instructions and then get a good ham friend who knows how to help you learn more about how to use it. DANGER.....you COULD BE ELECTROCUTED if you don't know what you are doing. You can also destroy your meter if it is not used properly. The voltage, current and resistance range must be higher than your "expected" working ranges!
3. Dummy load.
Used for a substitute "perfect" or near perfect antenna load.
Very helpful in determining if your transmitter has output without connecting the transmitter to the antenna and the resulting harmful interference this causes. When used in conjunction with a power (rf watt meter) it will tell you if your radio is up to specifications on it's output. It must also be designed for the frequency range you will be using it for. Many hams have one for the hf frequencies and then another for VHF/UHF use. Your choice depending on your station and your future plans for operating.
4. Optional. Antenna analyzer.
Very helpful and time saving when working with antennas and their design and tuning.
Jan 13, 2010
Base, Mobile, Mobile used as a base or an HT (Hand Held Transceiver) is the question lingering in a new HAM's mind???
HandHeld Transceiver/Walkie Talkie : It all depends on your lifestyle and budget. If you are on the go a lot and on a budget, an HT might be a good choice. A 2 meter or 2 meter/440 might be your best choice. If you want to use it in your vehicle, a 1/4 or 5/8ths wave magnetic mount antenna for the outside of the vehicle might be the best bet. You can also get a second antenna for home use. More on the antennas is there in the blog. The good thing about buying an HT is that is it portable. The drawbacks are that they have limited power output, and batteries must be recharged. Popular brands like Yaesu/ICOM/Alinco including accessories would cost approx Rs.14,000/-.
An all band HF/VHF/UHF base radio from Yaesu.
Mobile radio mounted inside a vehicle in vertical position.
Tip: New Hams with young children should be careful to not let kids play with the new "toy". Disconnecting the Microphone works well.
ANTENNAS: Choosing the right antenna is one of the most important parts of good Amateur Radio operation. As with the selection of a radio, it is suggested that a well respected brand of antenna be your choice to get you started. After you learn more about how they perform, under what conditions, and then using your antenna as a baseline, you can then experiment with other antennas. Many Hams say this is one of the most enjoyable parts of Ham Radio.Good, time proven antenna brands include: (Alphabetical Order) Comet, Cushcraft, Diamond, Hustler, Hygain, Larsen, Maxrad, MFJ, and Workman.
Suggested types of antennas for New Ham would include Verticals,Slim Jim, Yagi Beams, and J-poles.
Vertical Antennas: The typical antenna found on vehicles, in homes on a metal sheet or base verticals mounted outside. These types of antennas have omni-directional coverage, but usually have lesser range than a Yagi Beam.
A SlimJim Antenna
Yagi Beam: A long metal boom with perpendicular tines mounted in descending size along the boom length. This antenna is good for extended range, but has a narrowed area of coverage.
J-pole, and others: A J-pole is a simple antenna that is fun to construct. They can be purchased inexpensively, and be used inside or outside. They can be rigid, flexible or roll-up type. This antenna does not compete with most Vertical or Beam antennas, but cannot be matched for flexibility of use. Most experienced Hams have a J-pole antenna close by for emergency use.
One of the biggest challenges for New Hams is the selection of the proper antenna for the given location of use. Now that we have discussed the basic antennas available, let's list some possible use scenarios:
RURAL AREAS WITH MOST OTHER HAMS IN A LARGE CITY MILES AWAY: For the home, the best bet would be a Yagi Beam, mounted on a pole or tower. The antenna is pointed toward the city. Again, the Yagi has limited angle of coverage, but better coverage in one general direction.APARTMENT IN TOWN WITH ANTENNA RESTRICTIONS: Within the restrictions of your home, mount a vertical antenna as high up as you can. Not all of us are lucky enough to be on the top floor of a 40 story high rise, but good results can get you into the local repeaters and some simplex frequencies. A 5/8ths wave magnetic mount antenna on top of the metal refrigerator works well. If you can't do that, find a place where a mag. mount can sit on a large pizza pan, which acts as a ground plane. If that won't work, try using a J-pole hung up vertically at the top of a wall, hopefully away from metal. Move it around to find the best area for reception. Use caution with power output when close to people. Later on, if you get an outside antenna, you can use an antenna switch and still use the inside antenna during storms.
HOME WITH DEED RESTRICTIONS OR RESTRICTIVE COVENANTS: These are homes that have room, but erecting a pole or a tower outdoors is prohibited. In addition to the inside antenna listed above, think about being Patriotic and erecting a flag pole made of non-metallic PVC. A flag on top and a surprise inside!
HOME WITH NO RESTRICTIONS: Inside, as a backup and storm antenna with a switch, use an antenna listed above. Outside, the choices are open. You can erect a "Push-Up" pole or a tower, and put up a large Vertical, a Yagi Beam and even a rigid J-pole. Talk to an experienced Ham about grounding issues when constructing an outside antenna.
IN YOUR VEHICLE: Let's refine our earlier discussion. A "rubber duck" that comes on an HT does not usually transmit well inside a car. An outside permanent or magnetic mount antenna works well in 1/4th or 5/8th wave. The mobile unit should have the same type antenna also. If you mount a mobile or even use an HT with a small amplifier, it is a good idea to run the cable in an area that is out of the way. Many times, running the coax under edges of carpet or underneath seats is time well spent.
Magnetic base mobile antennas
EXTRA GOOD IDEAS FOR EQUIPMENT: An external speaker of excellent quality is a good investment. An extra power cord for your Mobile used as a Base hooked to a large Deep Cycle battery for backup is a good idea. An SWR/Power meter. An extra battery pack and an Alkaline battery pack for your HT is a needed item. For HTs, a small external plug-in hand microphone is a good buy
Jan 11, 2010
vu3har hari vu3ibz vu3jsk jayashree vu3jyg jayanthi vu3kbk k.balakrishnan
Jan 9, 2010
His main objectives in this project were to put together a portable HF station. The plan was to use this station for fun (contesting, field day, vacation use, etc.), as well as have it available to support emergency services should the need arise.
* It has to be "plug-and-play", meaning that basically the only things needed to get it operational would be to plug in an antenna and power source.
* It has to be functional on all HF bands and modes. VHF/UHF can be incorporated as necessary
* It has to have modern equipment including a sound card interface.
* The equipment has to be easily accessible rather than bolted directly to the box.
AMSAT India – Indian Amateur Radio Satellite Programme
AMSAT is a worldwide group of Amateur Radio Operators who share an active interest in building, launching and then communication with each other through non-commercial Amateur Radio satellites. By any measure, AMSAT's track record has been impressive. Since its initial founding over 25 years ago, AMSAT has predominantly volunteered labor and donated resources to design, construct and with the added assistance of government and commercial space agencies, successfully launched over two dozen Amateur Radio communications satellites into the orbit of Earth. Sharing the same vision and objectives, other like minded groups throughout the world have since been formed to pursue the Amateur Radio Satellite program.
One of the popular web based
Indian HAMSAT satellite live tracking software, it tracks your internet IP and gives your latitude/longitude also in comparison with satellite's current position as well future appearance time windows.
HAMSAT Downlink - VHF 145.900 MHZ can be listed when sattelite is in Indian range with simple VHF setup, but window would be 5 to 10 minutes max or lesser unless you can have a moving antenna.
HAMSAT Uplink - UHF 435.250 MHZ
The best equipment is a handheld dual band VHF/UHF transreceiver like the Wouxun KGUVD1 and a handheld external antenna.
An artists impressions of satelite in space.
Further information on VO-52 can be found at
Jan 4, 2010
Thanks to the efforts taken by OM Devdas VU2DH who apart from being a veteran HAM is an active Rotarian President also now , a wonderful platform was organised for rotarians in Chennai to be sensitised/gain knowledge about HAM Radio and its benefits to the world . A JOINT MEETING OF 5 CLUBS WAS CONDUCTED AT HOTEL BENZ PARK,CHENNAI ON 19.NOV 09 WHEREIN A DETAILED DEMO / PRESENTATION ABOUT HAM RADIO WAS GIVEN by veteran OM Thiagarajan (VU2PTR) to 50+ rotarians from various walks of life.
Rotary Clubs which participated are listed as below.
1. ANNANAGAR AADITHYA , PRESIDENT. K.M. DEVADAS
2. AARCH CITY-MADRAS, PRESIDENT. J. SHANKAR
3. MADRAS ASHOK NAGAR, PRESIDENT. K. MURALI
4. MADRAS NUNGAMBAKKAM , PRESIDENT. SUNDEEP BHATTAD
5. MADRAS WEST , PRESIDENT. G. NANDAGOPAL
After the official rotary style fellowship, the meeting was called to order at 1930 hrs with the above 5 presidents and the Chief guest/Speaker Mr. P. Thyagarajan(VU2PTR) – CEO , Accuspeed Engineering Design Services Ltd. President Nandagopal delivered his welcome speech followed by the club announcements by Pres. Sandeep and introduction of the chief guest by Pres. Devadas(VU2DH).
To the amazement of audience few HAMS including VU2DH, VU2PTR, VU3MOA etc setup a full fledged base radio station in 10 minutes (known as a shack in the HAM World) in front of the dais, for the audience it looked like a police control room with number of Radio tranceivers and handheld/walky talkies which were modulating on and off with their typical hiss.
VU2PTR Mr. Thyagarajan made a wonderful/informative/interactive presentation explaining details like the Origin of the word HAM (Hertz, Armstrong & Marconi) – Also known as AMATEUR RADIO, Origin of this hobby, which is in existence in over 320 countries , countrywise ham population, different HAM frequencies/bands, usefullness of HAM in calamities, its failsafe nature etc.
It was a explained in detail about HAM or Amateur Radio communication as a wonderful and unique hobby/media to make talk on social matters and make friendship all over the world. Mr. Thyagarajan explained about CW transmission and its abbreviated words, syllabus for examination, procedure for getting license, rules and regulations, licensing fees etc. During natural calamities like Cyclon, Earth quake, Tzunami, the first thing to be affected is entire telecommunication network including lanlines, cellular etc . It was re-iterated that at this stage HAMs are the only one who can emerge into situation without waiting for any permission from any authorities, voluntarily reaching the spot and erecting a fullfledged radio station within few minutes and can start transmitting all over the world.
To quote an example of operations , during the last Indian tsunami 8 such radio stations were set up along South Tamil nadu Coast which was badly affected , who receive all and any rescue msgs received from Government officials , police, Military and pass it on to District Collectors and other government agencies for providing necessary relief materials and measures instantly whereas without this radio communication it would have taken days to setup such a link . Apart from this, many HAMs (Amateur Radio Stations) were assisting from their respective homes in communications during relief operations. This was extended during the heavy cyclonic storm in 1996 also in Chennai, Earth quack in Lathore etc…
It was also explained that the hams also can track & trace unauthorized transmission used by any anti social elements etc , with the help of Radio Frequency Direction Finder (RFDF) which is practiced in a pet name of FOX HUNT. Rtn. K.M. Devadas(VU2DH) has a record of 4 times 1st place winner in different states like TN, KARNATAKA, KERALA for this game in tracing the FOX in record time, apart from many other positions in this game.
A book about ABC of Amateur Radio (HAM) was distributed by Rtn. K.M. Devadas(VU2DH) R/c Annanagar Aadithya to all the Rotarians who attended the meeting. We hope more such meeting about HAM Radio get organised across Chennai in various forums.