A machine which is used to send radio signals is called a ‘transmitter’, while a device that is used to pick up the transmitted signals is called a ‘receiver’. Besides, a machine that does both these jobs is called a ‘transceiver’. When radio signals are sent out to many receivers at the same time, it is called broadcasting. To broadcast, one needs proper permission, i.e. a license from the Government. There are two types of broadcasting.
- Commercial Broadcasting (like FM radio stations)
- Amateur Broadcasting (like CB radio, Ham Radio)
Ham Radio or Amateur Radio is a non-commercial radio broadcasting mainly used for education or as a hobby purpose. Of Course, all Ham radio operators must have a proper license from the competent Authority.
In India, becoming a Ham Radio operator is not that difficult task. According to WPC (Wireless Planning and Coordination) Wing of the Government of India, any Indian national above 12 years of age can appear for the ASOC (Amateur Station Operator’s Certificate) exam conducted by them. Once you clear the exam, you have to apply for the license by paying the appropriate fees.
Not at all! As per the Government of India, no specific educational threshold is defined for anyone to appear for this examination. This, in itself, makes it clear that the exam is not that tough. However, you must have an elementary knowledge of subjects like Electronics, WPC’s rules and regulations. A written examination in the multiple-choice questions is held. Importantly, it has no ‘negative marks’. The exam has to be cleared with a minimum of 50% of the marks.
HAM_Instructions.pdf is a Government of India web link that has all the detailed information you need to know.
For more, you can visit – https://vigyanprasar.gov.in/science-communication-programs/ham-radio/how-to-go-for-ham-radio/detailed-procedures-related-to-application-for-a-ham-radio-licence/. Here you will find the details about the procedure to apply for this examination.
After passing the exam, you can buy the equipment and listen to various radio stations. However, without a proper license, you are not allowed to transmit. So, do not PTT (Press To Talk).
A rig is a device or equipment designed for a particular purpose. A Radio Rig is station equipment used for radio communication. In case of Amateur Radio Operator, it can be HF, VHF, or UHF. Generally, radio rig is a station or a base station equipment that can be professional or homebrewed.
The radio shack is a setup of Ham equipment at any Ham QTH. A room or a structure used for housing radio equipment is called Radio Shack. Generally, a shack consists of HF, VHF, UHF radios (all or whichever is available) arranged in ready-to-operate condition along with few handheld radios or walkie talkies and the other necessary equipment like power supply, batteries, tuners, SWR meters etc.
SWR meter or ‘Standing Wave Ratio’ meter is an instrument commonly used to check SWR an antenna. SWR meter is used to check the amount or degree of mismatch between a transmitting side (generally a base station and a cable) and an antenna. If SWR meter reading is 1:1, the attached antenna is said to be perfectly matched (Impedance matching). 1:1 reading indicates that there is no reflected power; hence antenna has a perfectly matched impedance. When reading increases somewhere close to 2:1 or 3:1, it will affect the transmission capacity. If the reading shows ∞:1, there must be some short circuit or an open circuit. Maybe our connectors got loose, or antenna is broken.
It is not necessary to buy an SWR meter for VHF or UHF users. Once we tune the antenna using an SWR meter, there is no need to check the SWR repeatedly unless there is some damage to the antenna. However, in the case of HF, the SWR meter is always handy as with an SWR meter attached to HF, we are always sure that every time we are throwing enough power.
All Ham Radio transceivers work on DC power. Hence, one should never plug a Ham Radio set directly to AC. Always use AC to DC converter power supply.
Check the connections twice. If you are powering the set from a battery, make sure that the positive terminus (generally in red) of a set goes to positive of the battery.
Secure these connections tightly. Make sure that wires are not open and open parts are not touching to each other.
All the transceivers have a power button. Firstly, switch on the AC supply to which you have attached your power supply. Then, switch on the power supply and finally turn on the set.
Before starting transmission (Tx) or pressing PTT (Press To Talk), always make sure that you are receiving the signals properly. Always first go for receiving (Rx) then Tx.
Many Hams rush to give CQ call. However, initially, listening is more important. Distress, Urgency, Safety, Test Signal – the various types of signals are given as per their priority. So, one must first listen to other signals.
Radio equipment for Amateur Radio operation works on DC power only. A 12 volt DC power is used. Thus, we can generate the needed power easily. In case of an emergency or a disaster, we can directly attach our set to the battery of a car or a bike (make sure to connect positive to positive). Besides, we can get DC voltage via solar panel, batteries or even using a hand crank.
DC batteries are the primary power source in case AC power is not available. At the same time, DC supply gives us the mobility that is required during emergencies or disasters.
A log is an official record of all the events that take place during a trip of a ship or an aircraft. This record book is called a Logbook. In the case of Ham, maintaining our call log is the most important practice for an experienced ‘O.M. Ham’. Maintain a logbook of all QSOs regularly has many advantages.
Firstly, with the help of the logbook, we can analyze our reach. We can see how our friend circle is growing. Day by day, we get all the more connected to the fellow Hams.
Secondly, the call log record is a sort of proof of the interaction we had during our on-air presence.
Maintaining the call log regularly also helps us to identify flaws in our equipment if any. As a result, during an emergency or a disaster, we could be at the best of our performance.