Ham radio operators in the region, who all set to celebrate the World HAM Radio Day on Saturday (April 18), have yet another reason to cheer up. A fully professional commercial HAM Radio repeater-cum-duplexer equipped with all other accessories is ready for installation atop the Gunadala Hill. An amateur radio repeater is an electronic device that receives a weak or low-level amateur radio signal and retransmits it at a higher level or higher power, so that the signal can cover longer distances without degradation.
“At present, it has been put on testing mode by installing the antenna at a height of 100-feet from the ground level and it is working well. Once it is elevated to the hilltop at a height of around 750 feet, it will cater to the HAMs in and around Vijayawada,” says A. Ramesh Babu, VU2RDM, coordinator, Ham Radio Training Centre.
Mr. Ramesh Babu says the repeater will remain connected round the clock to EchoLink, a computer-based Amateur Radio system, which is distributed free of charge, that allows radio amateurs to communicate with other amateur radio operators using Voice over IP (VoIP) technology on the Internet . “This will pave the way for global communication, making it possible for those having valid HAM Radio license to opt for interlinking of their smart phones. Besides Krishna and Guntur districts, the new facility will cover most parts of West Godavari and Khammam districts and some parts of Ongole and East Godavari district,” he says.
The long-cherished dream is being fulfilled, thanks to the initiative of Chandana Kedarish VU2JME. Vijayawada is a big railway junction and HAMs passing through the city can try to trigger the repeater, he says, adding small, low-powered VHF handy is enough to trigger it.
In a world where iPhones enable Internet searches from any location with a good cell signal, communicating with a radio may seem a bit old fashioned. But a new generation of HAM radio operators is keeping the tradition alive by combining decades-old radio techniques with modern technology.