BENGALURU: Around 100 Radio Amateurs or Hams based out of Bengaluru celebrated as the city’s oldest amateur radio club — the Bangalore Amateur Radio Club (BARC) turned 60 on Sunday.
Karnataka High Court judge Justice HB Prabhakara Sastry, a Ham, on the occasion felicitated two men who went to Cuddalore Collectorate to extend their services during the recent cyclone Gaja in neighbouring Tamil Nadu. Luckily, the cyclone took a different direction and primary communication did not fail completely in the district.
Sastry gave two antennas each to Ramesh V, treasurer, BARC and Arjun Joyce, a youngster from the city who drove to Cuddalore on a bike. Ramesh told The New Indian Express, “We took just one hour to set up a station at the Collectorate. There were four Hams from Bengaluru and five from Kerala. We went there as soon as we got a call from the Collector that they needed a secondary line of communication if the primary communication (cell towers) completely fails. There were power cuts in the area compounding the problem. But the cyclone did not make landfall there. It went to Nagapattinam.”
Girish Gopal and Dr Madhukar G, other Hams present at the gathering, said that even during the Kodagu floods Hams were available on standby. MR Sampath Kumaran, the founder member of BARC, is the oldest Ham in the city. “Cellphone mania has become a hindrance to Ham,” he said.
Justice Sastry went down memory lane recalling the time when he first made a transceiver from household junk, in a Ham’s parlance called ‘home-bred’ radio. “I remember the first time I contacted Sampath. We even made use of toothpaste caps to support the transceiver. We would piece together components like motherboard, a transistor etc. There would be such thrill in assembling it.”
Upagraha Club wants Ham radio training for Gaganyaan astronauts
Upagraha Amateur Radio Club has decided to write to ISRO Chief K Sivan to include Ham radio training or amateur radio training in the training module of the three astronauts who will board the Gaganyaan in December 2021. “While astronauts Rakesh Sharma and Ravish Malhotra did not have Ham training or call signs, Indian American astronauts like Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams had American call signs,” said BA Subramani, station director and secretary, Upagraha Amateur Radio Club, which was founded 38 years ago for ISRO employees.