While chatting on Internet or mobile phone costs money, there is a way to be connected in an exclusive social network totally free of cost. Amateur radio or Ham radio provides such an opportunity.
In the event of a natural calamity anywhere in the world, Hams (users of Ham radio) are always mentioned for their voluntary support in establishing communication links when all other channels of communications have broken down.
Unlike PCs which need electricity and Internet connection to be in touch with the world, or mobile phones which depend on signal towers for proper communication, Ham networks operate on radio waves and need very little power. Ham radio sets can be portable and the antennas needed for them can be set up quickly.
Apart from being involved in social service, which gives the satisfaction of being able to save lives and help people in distress, amateur radio provides an opportunity to scan the radio waves to communicate with fellow Hams across the world, even in the remotest areas and build the social network.
“It gives an opportunity to know the world and various cultures, exchange ideas and develop friendships beyond borders. It also helps improve one’s communication and knowledge,” says Jose Jacob, assistant director of National Institute of Amateur Radio (NIAR), here.
NIAR, an NGO which promotes radio communication for education, information and sports, was established 30 years ago by S Suri, with the aim of developing amateur radio emergency service and enable amateur radio enthusiasts get proper training and licensing.
To become a Ham and be able to surf the radio waves to communicate with other members requires license. The institute offers one month training .