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More facts related to ham radio

The Homebrewing scenario in India

Till 1970, the total licensed hams in India stood below 1000. CW (Morse Code) and AM (Amplititude Modulation) were the modes used at that time. SSB(Single Side Band) started making an appearance in the mid-sixties. Equipment used was all valve type generally using an army surplus receiver and a homebrewed transmitter. In the early years mostly all transmitters were crystal controlled. Each one would transmit on his crystal frequency and listen into the others transmitting frequency! Then came the VFOs (Variable Frequency Oscillators) and the stations have to be literally tracked. A statement that-'You are entering CW band or the American Phone band was a routine tip to zero beat on to the frequency where QSO started. Stations being limited, it was not taken as a QRM but were also welcomed on the other frequencies. It used to be fun and taken in the true spirit. One common and important bond between the hams upto this period was that their equipment was self assembled with whatever components they could procure from the disposal markets and they were well conversant with home-brewing.
During the next decade till 1980 the all India figure was only about 1500. It was in this decade that SSB started replacing AM. BEL 9 MHz crystal filters were now available and conversion to SSB was a bit easier minus the hassles of home grinding the FT 243 crystals.
It was only in 1984 when Rajiv Gandhi, VU2RG (now this callsign has been assigned to club station of Rajiv Gandhi Foundation), who was a ham himself, became Prime Minister of India, import duty for wireless equipment was totally waived for amateur radio operators. This gave a fillip to amateur radio and with that the ham population started rising. Today it has crossed the 10,000 mark. Sophisticated imported commercial gear was available at affordable price thanks to low value of yen in the 80s. A large number of operators came up on the bands. This has created a special class of operators-ZERO BEAT on my frequency. You are off by 100 hertz! But by 1990 this golden period was over as the yen appreciated and import duty reimposed, making the price for commercial equipment just as prohibitive as ever. This bought us back to square one-making ones own equipment. The silver lining is that you do not have to scrooge through junk for components. Factory fresh components are now freely available indigenously and with a number of good and well tried out circuits one can easily assemble his own equipment for use in HF, VHF o UHF bands for a beginning.

"Brief History of Amateur Radio in Calcutta"-by Avinash Missra, VU2EM:Hamfest India '96 Souvenir