Amateur Radio, popularly known as HAM Radio, is a scientific hobby of wireless communication. It is a hobby of self training, intercommunication and investigation in worldwide radio communications by means of private two-way radio conducted by duly authorised person without any pecuniary interest. It simply means that amateur radio operator tinker around or play with radios and in the process develop skills and knowledge of electronics and telecommunications.
This hobby has been in existence right from the days when Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose (and later Marconi) demonstrated to the unbelieving world that it was possible to instantaneously send a message from one place to another without the use of wires and thus was born “wireless” communication that we take for granted today.
It is hard to explain the thrills of a wireless exchange with another amateur in an age when one can simply pick up a cellular phone and call anywhere in the world. Yet for those of us who are hooked on the hobby, we still marvel at the magic of radio waves travelling to another side of the world with no intermidiate organization or medium other than waves generated in a wire antenna and sent with just the power equivalent to turning on a 50-100 watt bulb.
Why Amateur Radio Operators are called HAMs and the hobby known as HAM Radio?
The word “HAM” as applied to in 1908 was the station CALL SIGN of the first Amateur Wireless Station operated by some amateurs of the Harward Radio Club. They were Albert S. Hyman, Bob Almy and Poogie Murray. In the begining, they called their station “Hyman-Almy-Murray”. Typing out such a long name in code soon became tiresome and called for a revision. They changed it to “Hy-Al-My”, using the first two letters of each of their names. Early in 1901 some confusion resulted between signals from amateur wireless stations “Hy-Al-Mu” and a Mexican Ship named “Hyalmo”. They then decided to use only the first letters of each name and the station Call Sign became “HAM”. In early pioneer days of unregulated amateur radio, operators picked up their own frequency and and Call Signs or Call Letters. Then as now, some amateurs had better signals than commercial stations. The resulting interference came to the attention of congressional committees in Washington and Congress gave much time to proposed legislation designed tocritically limit amateur radio activity. In 1911, Albert Hyman chose the controversial Wireless Regulation Bill as the topic for the Thesis at Harvard. His instructor insisted that a copy be sent to Senator David S. Walsh, a member of one of the comittees hearing the Bill. The Senetor was so impressed with the Thesis that he asked Hyman to appear before the committee. Albert Hyman took the stand and described how the little station was built and almost cried when he told the crowded committee room that if the Bill went through they would have to close down the station because they could not afford the license fee and all the other requirements, which the Bill imposed on amateur stations. Congerssional debate began on the Wireless Regulation Bill and the little station “HAM” became the symbol of all the little stations in the country crying to be saved from the menace and greed of the big commercial stations who didnt want them around. The Bill finally got to the floor of Congress and every speaker talked about the “…….poor little station HAM.’ Thats how it all started. You can find the whole story in the Congressional Record. Nation wide publicity was associated with the station “HAM” by amateur radio operators. From that day to this, and probably until the end of time in radio, an amateur is a “HAM”.
(…..Extract from Florida Skip Magazine, 1959.
The Bengal Amateur Radio Society was originally formed as the Calcutta VHF Amateur Radio Society in 1996. Later the name was changed to Bengal Amateur Radio Society to give it a broader perspective in 2006.
From very begining, CVHF later BARS always stressed on Home Brewing. We have had great home brewers like VU2EM, and VU2JK etc., who are acredited for introducing many home brewing projects like NR60 HF Rig and 1W VHF Rig.
Popular events and activities include Amateur Radio Direction Finding, DX-peditions, hamfests, JOTA, QRP operations, Contesting, DX communications, Light House operation, and Islands on Air. One of the most popular activitiy of BARS is Amateur Radio Direction Finding commonly known as a "foxhunt".
Hamfest India is an annual event that serves for social gathering and comparison and sales of radio equipment. Most hamfests feature a flea market, where the attendees buy and sell equipment, generally from and for their personal stations. The event also seeks to raise amateur radio awareness in the host city. In 1996 BARS hosted the annual hamfest in Kolkata and after 21 years it was again co-organised in2017 at Kolkata.
At present there are about 129 active members of BARS.
Registration No. S/83281 of 1996-97 under West Bengal ACT XXVI of 1961.
Corporation Bank Saving Bank Account No. 034900301060012
IFSC Code: CORP0000349
BARS was the Co-organizer of the 26th National Convention of Indian Amateur Radio Operators. The event took place in Science City Convention Center on 16-17 December 2017 and was attended by over 800 delegates. India Post released Special Cover & HFI2017 MyStamp at the event.
BARS organised the Echo Mike Fox Hunt and Annual Field Day 2018 at Baruipur area of Kolkata on 18 February 2018. The event was attened by about 45 persons, and 11 two member team participated in the FOXHUNT. The Prize winners were: 1st Place - VU2DLU & VU3DBA, 2nd Place - VU2SYD & VU2HRF and 3rd Place - VU2BPW & VU2SQB. It was a very difficult fox to find, played by VU3RXJ.
World Radio Day 2017 and Annual Field Day 2017 was organised by BARS at a Farm House in Madhyamgram area of Kolkata on 13 February 2017. The event was attended by about 45 people. The event included lectures by eminent senior HAMs, games and QSO with a lavish spread of delicacies. A novel by VU2KFR was released at the event.