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Cellphone Has Not Pushed Ham Radio Out Of Range

The Hindu - Chennai,India

KOCHI: Cellphones are no threat to the usefulness and popularity of Ham radio, according to P. Surendran, secretary of Quilon Amateur Radio League.

"You can only communicate with one person on a cellphone, but on the Ham radio, you can talk to a large number of radio operators using the same frequency," Mr. Surendran told The Hindu .

Mr. Surenderan and members of the league, which acts as a State-level association of Ham operators in Kerala, were here to organize a `foxhunt' competition here on Sunday.

He pointed out that compared with the Ham radio, cellphone use was expensive. Cellphone was not accessible in all places, while Ham radio signals could be sent to any part of the world where another Ham, operating on the same frequency, was located.

Ham radio operation is a `technical hobby,' which is an alternative way to communicate with people, especially during emergencies and disasters. Mr. Surendran said the former Prime Minister the late Rajiv Gandhi was into this hobby; Congress president Sonia Gandhi and the actor Mammootty were also into it.

There were certain restrictions on the contents communication on the Ham. "No sex, no politics, no religion and no business," Nowsha Thattamala, a functionary of the league, said. It should not be used for private profit, he said.

This was the first time that the `foxhunt' was held in Kochi. It is a Ham operators' sport in which a `fox' goes into hiding with wireless equipment and an external antenna. The fox sends periodic beep signals. The participants in the foxhunt fan out and trace the fox. At today's foxhunt, Ibrahim and group from Pollachi, Tamil Nadu, won the first prize. The second prize went to Sageer and group from Aluva and the third to Sudheer and group, Kochi.