Hyderabad

Old policies hindering growth of Ham Radio

Executive Vice-Chairman and Director of National Institute of Amateur Radio S. Ram Mohan who played an active role in the relief works of the recent Hudhud Cyclone which ravaged North Andhra including Vizag. Photo: Nagara Gopal   | Photo Credit: NAGARA GOPAL

In the US, an individual interested in obtaining license to operate amateur radio (Ham Radio) is granted one in three days. Several other countries grant it in a week to a maximum of four weeks. However, for one to realise the fascination of operating Ham Radio in India, it takes anywhere from six months to a year!

Archaic policies dating back to British rule and long drawn procedures are blamed for nipping in bud the enthusiasm for Ham Radio as a hobby. Hyderabad presently has around 2,000 licensed operators which most Hams, as amateur radio operators are referred to, says is not true reflection of the enthusiasm for the hobby in the city.

A license issued by the Union Ministry of Communication is mandatory before one sits down to crackle the wireless radio set. “Since it entails communication over wireless, license is required for Ham Radio operation. But the involved policies and long drawn procedures are obstacles in propagating the amateur radio here,” a senior Ham from the city said.

For obtaining a license, one has to appear for a written test conducted by the Union Ministry of Communication every alternate month in the city. The list of successful candidates is then sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs for antecedent check and gets forwarded to the local police station.

“For the local police it is not a priority item so the check is done at comfortable time and then the reports take time in travelling back to Delhi,” said another amateur radio operator. The whole process ends up as an agonising wait for an enthusiast in making his tryst with the radio set.

Hams in the city suggest the government dispense the present cumbersome practise and instead go in for online examination. “Online enrolments and online examination with results immediately mailed to police wing concerned for verification can indeed hasten up the license process,” agrees S. Ram Mohan, Executive Vice-Chairman and Director, the National Institute of Amateur Radio (NIAR), Hyderabad.

EXCHANGE OF VOICE, DATA, EMAILS

A two-way communication system, Ham Radio offers local, regional and global connectivity between members at no cost except initial ones. It enables voice and data exchange and even emails can be exchanged. “Images and XL files can also be exchanged, but the attachments have to be small in size,” said Mr. Ram Mohan.

For the licensed members, the NIAR (Ph. No. 65167388) provide usage of radio sets on its premises in Somajiguda for which a fee of Rs.200 per year is charged. “They can use the facilities here anytime and for as long as they wish,” he said.

COST

Those with soldering skills could set up their own Ham Radio sets at a cost of Rs.5,000 while the commercial sets in the market cost Rs.40,000 and above. The amateur radio sets made in China comes at a much lesser cost when compared with those from Japan and Germany, according to Hams.

TO USE A HAM RADIO

12 years and above age can apply for license

Clear a written test conducted by Ministry of Communication

License granted after antecedent check

A call sign is allotted to a license holder which is used as identification

Ham Radio can be used to contact members across the globe

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Printable version | Apr 14, 2021 4:36:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/old-policies-hindering-growth-of-ham-radio/article6567774.ece

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