A news item published in The New Indian Express (Chennai Edition).

January 4, 1995

Ham Radio takes events to world outside

THANJAVUR - One would not have thought that the cutout-dominated World Tamil Conference now in session in this historic town would be able to make waves in other parts of the world, notably Mauritius, Malaysia, Singapore, Seycellys, Sourth Africa and Sri Lanka. Thanks to the Ham Radio Communication Service operated from the academic hub of the Tamil Conferencfe - the Tamil University - Tamil lovers in Australia are able to get the highlights of the conference every day. And so also the public in the other countries where Tamils have a dominant p lace.

Since the inaugural day (Jan 1), ten volunteers of the network with their walkie - takies have taken wanted position vantage positions in some of the important centres of the town - the railway station, bus stand, Government hospital and the Red Cross Office to communicate important messages about my incident or development.

"Yesterday, it so happend that an Australian came here to study the environment of the Tamil Conference. As we were monitoring the Ham radio frequency, we got to a fellow Austrialian in that country. I could convey to him what all was happening here, and he was so thrilled to hear about it", said Mr. V. Palanniappan, Honorary Secretary, Centre for Ecology & Research.

Besides providing on-the-spot information, the Ham radio also sends out the special broadcasts every day, which are picked up by the system in the South Asian countries and S. Africa.

Having successfully provided similar services during national and international events and also during calamities, the ham radio, which is run by a voluntary organisation and maned mostly by Government services and officers in provate organisations, had submitted a proposal to the TN Government as early as April 1994, seeking approval for operating the service during the World Tamil Conference.

Though the necessary clearance had been given only at the last minute, they were able to establish the network in record time. "We have Ham Radio operators who volunteer themselves with their own wireless sets and provide communication link with minimum loss of time and within the town or outside the country. Their service is free of charge. The operators carry with them portable/mobile wireless sets."

The great tragedy during last year's Mahama ham festival was communicated to the authorities and outside the world only through Ham Radio. We could rescue the standed people quickly, and this was duly appreciated by the police and other authorities", Mr. Satynarayanan, a senior operator, claimed. Similarly, during the 1993 cyclone in Nagapattinam, the Ham Radio did a good job in providing the essential communication link between the costal town and Ezhilagam in Madras, the headquarters of the State rehabilitation cell. "The Relief Commissioner, Mr. C.N. Ramdoss, had a word of appreciation for us", Mr. Palaniappan said: During the Velankanni festival, a message from the Pope was broadcast from the Vatican City.

The Tamil Conference highlights are transmitted by Ham Radio to Mr. Ganesan is Singapore, Dr. Selvam in Seychelles and Mr. Swaminathan in Mauritius, and they in turn send it through their network for the benefit of the Tamils living there. A Young Ham radio volunteer, Mr. S.Vijayakumar, remarked that the Ham Radio operators were all licensed to carry out their hobby, which was also of great benefit to the people.

Author - Mr.V.Subramanian

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