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Ham Radio activity in and around Mumbai is becoming more visible since the past couple of months. While there is still a lack of "On Air" participation, everyone looks forward to an eyeball QSO to catch up with long lost friends and to know about the latest adventures and happenings in the world of Amateur Radio.
A small group of Hams from Thane decided to organize an eyeball QSO and get everyone together. VU2SGW Sailin took the lead along with VU2FXF Rahul and decided to conduct an eyeball meet at Govindmani Hall near Upvan Lake in Thane. They were ably assisted by a couple of other Hams like Gaurav VU3BTZ and Ashutosh VU2ATV. Incidentally, The Govindmani Hall is run by VU2FXF. The eyeball was confirmed for 14th September 2014 and preparations were made for the list of over 100 participants.
Hams from all over Maharashtra had signed up for this event, which was well received and saw a turnout of about 88 Hams who came from Mumbai, Thane, Nashik and Pune. You could call it a micro-mini Ham Fest 2014. It was a great mix of novice and experienced hobbyists who shared a lot of knowledge and advice on many aspects of the hobby. It was quite amusing to see that in many instances, the younger generation of Hams were also demonstrating their experience and tools to the old timers. This clearly shows that you are constantly educating yourself scientifically when you participate in such an event and always have something to take back home (besides the lunch in your tummy).
The hosts gave a very warm welcome to all the participants. The warm welcome was followed by hot tea and coffee with a variety of biscuits. Many people were delighted to see VU2WSM Satheesh offering chocolates to each participant. Everyone was then led into a cool hall which was buzzing with energy. It was great to meet so many new people and also relive memories with old friends.
The event started with the anchor VU2CDP Deepak welcoming everyone in his signature style with great enthusiasm. Everyone present stood up to maintain a minutes silence in memory of VU2UBP Ulhas who went silent key the previous week in a very unfortunate manner.
VU2CDP Deepak commenced the first half of the day with an amazing presentation on the VU7AG DXpedition which was held in 2013 in the Lakshwadeep Islands off the South Indian Coastline. The presentation truly showed how the DXpedition tests the operator's skills, intelligence, related knowledge, people management ability and past experiences to achieve the final outcome. Deepak's presentation was watched with rapt attention by the elmers and the new comers. He was constantly answering intriguing questions which had started tickling the technical brains of many. The presentation was followed by video clips of the operator's in action at VU7AG. It was great to see the video's on RTTY and CW and it was even more amazing to know that they made over 50k contacts during their expedition.
In the meantime, VU2AY Cyril, VU2UPX Charudutt and VU2IIA Mahesh were preparing to demonstrate their home-brew projects in the post-lunch session. The post-lunch session was more of an informal session, without a fixed agenda or time limit. VU2IIA Mahesh impressed many with his demonstration on the SDR and RTL Dongle. His tips and suggestions will go a long way in keeping people busy with the hobby. He was also bombarded with many questions and many bits of home-brewing advice which I am sure he will find useful. Thereafter, VU2DED Ajaya also gave some inputs and shared his experience on Frequency Modulation and Home-brewing. A couple of Hams from Pune also shared their knowledge and experiences in importing electronic kits and how the process could be simplified. Ashok Joshi VU2ASH from Pune also spoke at length about different aspects of home-brewing at the event.
VU2GT George raised some important points about the Matheran repeater and how each Ham in and around Mumbai can contribute for its upkeep and maintenance. As he rightly said, it is an invaluable asset for Hams, which is freely accessible and used by all without any fee or restrictions. We hope that this will set in motion a fruitful solution to getting regular assistance in maintaining the repeater and keeping it in mint condition.
The event was wound up with a vote of thanks by VU2WSM Satheesh on behalf of the entire organizing team. Most people hung around for a group photograph over some tea and coffee. Those who had to rush home or catch a train will be included in the next eyeball photo. By around 4 pm everyone packed their bags and started to head home with a feeling of happiness and fulfillment for having spent a bright Sunday in the midst of like-minded hobbyists. Thank you for your participation. We hope to see more events like this in the near future.
Courtesy : VU2KWI, Ruzbeh (for write-up)