Life is busy for VT Sadasivan (78), a retired physics professor based in Madurai. He is teaching batches of students the nuances of amateur radio communications. After the teaching sessions, Prof Sadasivan tunes in to his Ham Radio transceiver communicating with friends across the globe. “I am on the vigil all the time. As a Ham Radio (amateur radio) operator I have a lot of responsibilities,” he said.

When earthquake devastated Gujarat on January 26, 2001 and tsunami waves struck Tamil Nadu coast in December 2004, Prof Sadasivan was the point of contact for thousands of people who wanted to know about their near and dear ones.

The 2004 tsunami attack was no different. “Telephone and mobile phone network in the coastal districts went off the air for almost 15 days. The Hams (amateur radio buffs) moved into the camp office of the district collector with their equipment. The entire communication responsibility was undertaken by the hams,” said Arulmozhi, another ham radio buff who is also a staff of the National Informatics Centre.

Telephone posts and mobile phone towers were uprooted when Cyclone Thane struck Tamil Nadu coast in December 2011. “District authorities in Cuddalore and Nagapattinam had to depend on hams for rescue and relief operations,” said Shankar Satyapa, director, Indian Institute of Ham Radio, Bangalore.

Hams across the globe observe April 18 as the World Amateur Radio Day to commemorate the formation of the International Amateur Radio Union on April 18, 1925. Out of two million Ham Radio operators in the world who work selflessly for One World; One Language, 20,000 are from India. “We have 5,000 active amateur radio operators in India,” said Satypal.

Every ham radio operator has something exciting to tell about his/her contacts and experiences. E S Aruswamy (83), the oldest Ham Radio operator in South India was in regular touch with King Hussein of Jordan. Aruswamy breathed his last early this year.

“King Hussein always asked me about my farming operations and Indian monsoon,” he had told this writer.

N Dorairaj, a former police inspector, reminiscences about his conversations with Kalpana Chawla, the Indian-born NASA astronaut who herself was an avid ham.


Source: - Kumar Chellappan

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