HYDERABAD: The campus of Muffakham Jah College of Engineering was buzzing with excitement. Not with one of those campus-related student fests but with a congregation of Ham radio operators across the country, who gathered to celebrate the Ham-fest India-2014.
The two-day event will be focusing on various technologies in amateur radio with sessions slated on small personal satellites, software defined radios, wireless control of homes, community radio, emergencies works etc. Issues related to licensing and spectrum sharing with other services will be discussed at the fest. There will also be an exhibition and a flea market where the participants get to showcase their home brewed innovations.
Speaking to Express about Ham radio operators as a community, convener of Ham-fest India Asshar Farhan said, “There are people who question the very existence of a Ham radio and why we practise it”.
He said people with similar interests can interact on a wide variety of subjects anywhere in the world, adding, “there are actors, CEOs, celebrities from the film industry and well known personalities who operate Ham radios.” Farhan expressed his concern over the issue of licences. “In the US and Europe, licences are issued in a few hours. But here, we face a lot of problems on getting clearance from security agencies.” Farhan said. At times, it takes five to six years to receive them and there is an unacknowledged prohibition for issuing the licences in north east.
As many as 1,000 Ham radio enthusiasts from across the country and countries like Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh and Nepal are participating in the event. Satish, a participant from Nepal, explained why Ham radio is important.
“Except in the case of emergencies, Hams are considered a hobby. But for us, it is more than just a radio. It is our tool in our fight for democracy and also an effective medium for our freedom of expression,” he said.