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Ham radio as a technical sports

Amateur radio is called the "king of hobbies". It is a hobby  which requires a government license because the ham radio operators have to work side by side with other professional, commercial and governmental wireless communication networks. This makes it necessary that a person going to be a ham knows something about the basics of electronics communication technology so that he does not cause interference to the other radio services, abide by the international radio rules, can communicate not only in voice but also using the Morse Code.There are many ham radio operators who also fight courageously with nature's wrath in seas, oceans and at mountain tops.While the adventurous people like the mountaineers enjoy climbing mountains, radio amateurs go their own way of expedition called the DXpedition. The amateur radio station activated during an expedition is considered as a special event station and sometimes in an amateur radio contest, additional score points are awarded to the ham who can contact such special station.

Radio hams, like adherents to most hobbies, like to have some way of measuring their achievements. Hence the interest in chasing awards. One of the most prestigious UK awards is he "Islands on the air" series of awards. International Amateur Radio contests are organized by different amateur radio organisations all over the world. In such a contest the ham radio operators are allowed to come on the air with certain power limits and specified mode of operation (either SSB, CW or RTTY) and the ham radio operators have to contact other stations within a specified period of time. There are different score points for making radio contacts with different countries of the world. In India,an Indian ham radio operator participating in the GARDEN CITY CONTEST (organized by Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum and Bangalore Amateur Radio Club) earns 1 point for each Asian ham radio station, 2 points for Europe, Africa and Australia and 3 points for contacting each station from North and South America. One additional score point is awarded for each contact using home-made equipment.The time allowed is 24 hours. In some of the radio contests, ham radio operators can join in groups; that means that while one operator makes a contact with another station on a particular frequency, his group operators search for other stations on other frequencies which can make the scoring process much faster.There are contests called "Fox-hunt" where one can prove his efficiency by  tracking down a particular ham radio operator's position in a big city through his direction finding equipment! These hobby operators also exchange an acknowledgment card known as the QSL card. Two ham radio stations reciprocate with a QSL card ,each station sending the card to the other as a proof that radio contact was established between them.

"Islands on the air"

"Farne Islands Foray"- by Don Field, G3XTT: 'Amateur Radio',February 1987
( published by Amateur Radio Magazine, Sovereign House,
Brentwood, Essex, CM14 4SE,
0277 219876)

Hunting Lions in the Air Contest