Over 500 amateur radio operators from across the country take part in a two-day annual event

Hyderabad: At this gathering, people greet each other with their callsigns, not their names. They communicate effortlessly on their transceivers without having to worry about network problems. Some others show off their manufactured antennas for making contact with distant stations and tracking satellite signals. On the other hand, there are experts who share their experiences with amateurs about the operation of amateur radio equipment and new technologies in various workshops.

All of this is happening at the two-day Lamakaan Annual Radio Convention (LARC) that began here at Mufakkam Jah College of Engineering on Saturday. Over 500 amateur radio operators from all over the country take part in the conference. LARC, organized by the Lamakaan Amateur Radio Club, is an attempt to provide a platform for knowledge exchange between ham operators and to expand their network.

Amateur radio is a hobby practiced by people from all walks of life, including doctors, engineers, lawyers, farmers, and students. The aim of organizing the congress was to help ham operators showcase their equipment and experiment with new techniques. This will facilitate the dissemination of information and help operators keep up with the latest technology, said club treasurer Thomas George.

Lamakaan Amateur Radio Club Treasurer Thomas George at the Hyderabad Congress on Saturday.

Earlier, Ashhar Farhan, a well-known homebrewer and amateur radio operator, had told journalists that amateur radio activity was vital in times of disaster and disaster, as the amateur radio operator could establish a communication link when all so-called trustworthy types of communication, such as landline phones or cell phones, fail . He said while a huge infrastructure including the Internet, gateway and transatlantic submerged coaxial links with billions of dollars in the back end is required for communication apps like WhatsApp, amateur radios only require a battery and antenna to communicate with other connected amateur operators an antenna.

He said the amateur radio activity is researching the science in the salons as amateur radio operators conduct various experiments themselves to develop radio or antenna. “It’s just doing research at home without sophisticated equipment,” said Dr. Arif Sohail, head of the ECE branch, MJCET. Another ham operator, Amarendra Prasad, stated that ham activities are a socially responsible hobby. He stated that communications via wireless devices will be continuously monitored and only technical knowledge and problems about wireless devices will be discussed by the amateur radios. Only in emergencies do amateur radio operators transmit generic information that could be used by the authorities to initiate relief operations.

Students checking out various antennas at the Lamakaan Annual Radio Convention in Hyderabad on Saturday. Photo: Anand Dharmana

While senior operators share their knowledge, amateurs will discuss the challenges they face, he said. On the first day of the meeting, experts shared tips and knowledge on home brewing with measurements, home brewing basics for beginners, machine learning, DIY satellite pass trackers and notifiers. On Sunday there will be sessions on radio programmers with FTDI converters, antennas with limited space, touchscreen controllers for uBitx, supercapacitor-based SMPS for 110W radios, etc.

Hanumantha Rao, a ham operator from Guntur, said the sessions were very informative. More importantly, the uBitx RF radios come at a very low price. Developed by Hyderabad-based HF Signals, the uBitx is an inexpensive wireless transceiver that has become a popular radio device. A special workshop will be organized on uBitx in which all ham operators who use the device will be informed.

Companies dealing with transceivers and other related equipment dealers have set up their booths at the venue in addition to a flea market. This is a good initiative and it helps us buy all the equipment we need under one roof, said Kishore Kumar, a ham operator.

Why are amateur radios important?

Licensed ham operators have proven themselves by helping rescue and relief missions by setting up communications during disasters when communications systems collapsed. This was evident during the floods and cyclones in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, and Odisha.

The club makes it easy to conduct license reviews

Ham radio is perhaps the only hobby that requires a license to practice. This license is issued by the Government of India after showing up for the Amateur Station Operator’s Certificate or the ASOC exams. There are two types of licenses, including general and limited licenses. The club makes it easy to apply for licenses at the monitoring station in Cherlapally. If there are more than 30 applications, the club appeals to officials to conduct the exams in a location convenient for all applicants, said Thomas George.

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