Amateur Radio Operators to see each other in flesh and blood

HAMs To Meet At SEANET - 96

Chennai, 1996 Nov 16:

HAM radio operators worldwide, especially those in the Southeast Asian region will have an opportunity to see in flesh and blood fellow HAMs, whose voice alone they might have been hearing all along, when the 'SEANET' - 96' (South East Network - 96) convention opens up 22 November.

The annual convention, which is being held here for the first time, will be didcated to Rajiv Gandhi, who was an active HAM (his call sign was VU2 RG).

The three-day meet will be hosted by the Madras Amateur Radio Society (MARS) and held at Hotel Savera.

Chennai Mayor, M.K.Stalin, will inagurate the convention and noted film actor Kamal Hassan, whose call sign is VU2 HAS, will make the first call from the convention sit (VU96 SEA).

Ms Sonia Gandhi (call sign VU2 SON), widow of Rajiv Gandhi, will be the chief guest at the valedicatory function on 24th November, during which several technical papers will be presented, M.Saravanan, Chairman of MARS, told a press conference here yesterday.

Describing this event as an unique convention, R.Ravikrishnan, organising secretary of the SEANET '96 said that the event will provide opportunities for HAM friends, whom they might have come to know through the wireless communication channel.

Dr. Gajapathi Rao, one of the organising secretaries of the convention, said that the convention was aimed at getting public attention into the activities of HAM's around the world.

He also said that MARS had won the opportunity to host the convention after bidding and winning in votes.

S.C. Babu, Secretary, MARS said that eventhough India is highly populated, the number of HAMs in India stand at 10,000 while in Japan it is nearly 3 million and in the United States it is about 1.5 million .

Apart from HAM being a hobby, it helps in establishing communication during times of emergencies like floods, cyclone, accidents or earth quakes, he added.

The flesh-and-blood contact termed "Eyeball QSO" in HAM jargon, will be the highlight of the convention.

About 200 delegates are expected to participate from countries like Germany, Singapore, Japan, New Zealand, France, Malaysia and the middle east.

The SEANET work will be a daily radio network which would commence at 5.30 p.m. (1200 UTC) on 20 mts. band everyday. At this time, HAM's from around the world would tune in and exchange information.

Technical papers are to be submited on various aspects of HAM and communication propogation by the visiting delegates.

The Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi was earlier scheduled to inaugurate the convertion. Since he has to despose before the Jain Commission on that day Stalin would inaugurate it.

Courtesy - News Today (Regional Newspaper)


A Network, as we commonly know, is "any structure in the form of a net". Therefore the average layman may well wonder what a Sea Network or SEANET (for short) is. It has nothing to do with the Sea or anything with the remotest connection to it except that it stretches over the Oceans to form a regular communications network; on many an occasion, much more reliable than the usual official communications channels available to nations. The South East Asia Net (SEANET) is a group of painstaking and dedicated Amateur Radio Operators (Radio Hams) mostly in South and South East Asia and Oceania, that meets as a group every evening (1200 hours Zulu), via Radio. The Amateur Radio Service is one that has Consultative status with the United Nations. The Radio Ham is one whose purpose is self training and Eoucation in Radio. It is a great hobby to well over 500,000 Radio Hams in the world. Many a new development in design and technique have been conceived sprouting, from the fertile minds of Radio Hams pursuing their hobby. Short-wave broadcasting was triggered by Radio Hams. On any day one could tune in (10, 15, 20, 40, 80 metres) and hear the Radio Hams talking, discussing and arguing about many things—some ideas that will eventually blossom out to encompass the whole communications industry and possibly affect the lives and life styles of the many billions of other ordinary people, in many lands.

SEANET was born on November 29, 1963 when a small group of Radio Hams in South East Asia felt that they could get together on the Air, daily, to have a chat. From these small beginnings was born a group that was eventually to span the globe. They talked of the weather, technical problems, new ideas, about one another's families and themselves—their hopes and aspirations. The first group consisted of a handful of Hams representing Nepal, Laos, Philippines and Malaysia. Every day at the pre-agreed time their radios would be tuned to the same spot and they would chat amongst themselves. One by one, more Hams from South East Asia joined in on this daily schedule.

But a problem arose; that of the time difference. When it was found that Hams in Hong Kong and the Philippines felt it convenient to meet just after coming home from their offices in the evenings, it was discovered that those in the countries such as Nepal and Malaysia were still at work. The group made a number of adjustments and finally found that 1200 GMT was quite convenient for most (1200 GMT or Noon time GMT is 5.30 p.m. in India/Sri Lanka, 7.30 p.m. in Singapore/Malaysia, 8.00 p.m. in Hong Kong, 8.00 p.m. in the Philippines, etc.) The number of these Hams meeting daily, has grown from the modest half-dozen or so in 1963 to over 75 in 1975. On some occasions there have been as many as 120 stations in the Network.

Let us look at what happens on a typical evening on SEANET. At a few minutes before 1200 GMT, the Net Control Station (NCS) — Paddy Gunasekera 4S7PB from Sri Lanka has been the regular NCS for the past 7 years (from 1968 to 1974)—switches on his Radio equipment, and while allowing it to warm up, checks his clock with the Standard Time Broadcast heard in his country Having synchronised watches (so to say) he looks around the radio spectrum assigned to the Hams on 14 MHz (20 metres) to ascertain interference free channels that SEANET members could use if they want to chat with each other. At 1200 GMT, the NCS calls the Net to order, and after ascertaining whether there are any urgent matters to be dealt with, goes on to call in country by country, to report into the SEANET. One by one you could hear these countries of the Orient, in their unmistakable accents, reporting in to the NCS or Net ControlStation.

Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei, Sarawak, Hongkong, Macoa, Bhutan, Sikkem, Christmas Islands, Andaman Island, Maritius and Seychilles are some of those one could hear. When one station operator wishes to speak to a friend from another land, he informs the NCS and the NCS assigns them a spot or channel which is free from other interference and they then talk to each other and discuss their own matters of interest.

On a typical day now, one may count as many as 75 Stations on the Net representing around 25 countries in Asia, Africa, Oceania and the Middle East. Stations from afar such as England, Ivory Coast, Sweden, U.S.A., Central and South America, Caribbean, South Pole, etc. are also heard often.

Entirely apart from the hobby value—some wives feel that this hobby at least keeps the man at home rather than out—there is also the value of the SEANET as an Emergency communications network. There have been many a private Yacht in the Indian Ocean that had been helped via the SEANET and Amateur Radio. Once there was this small Tri-maran which had exhausted all its fuel, food and water and were drifting helpless. Radio Hams and SEANET alerted rescue services and succeeded in getting an Ocean liner to divert and drop off fuel, food and water. There have been other impressive achievements to the credit of SEANE1T. There was the case of a young mother in Sri Lanka whose baby of a few days had a serious condition which could only be treated by a special drug not available locally. SEANET members looked in the likely places in Australia and Singapore but failed. They then contacted their friends in the U.S.A. and succeeded in getting the drug flown out from California—the baby was saved. There was also the case of the frantic father who could not be near at hand when his wife was delivery their first baby in a Singapore hospital, over a thousand miles away from his jungle location. He kept in touch via Ham radio and SEANET. The wife, in hospital, had friends from SEANET visit every day. On another occasion, when disaster struck Darwin, Australia recently, wiping off all communications facilities, a member of the SEANET group living in Darwin set up his station and was one of the first to contact the National Authorities with news and requests. Another SEA-NET member in Sri Lanka was able to obtain details of the whereabouts and health etc. of his countrymen living in Darwin and so reassure their near and dear in Sri Lanka.

There was once also the team of Himalayan climbers who attacked Mt. Everest from a new direction and when success was first conveyed via Amateur Radio and SEANET.

The good Samaritan spirit of Amateur Radio, during national calamities, etc. is legion. The members of this wide ranging group of Radio Hams in South East Asia and the nearby countries have their share of Emergency service to be proud of. Realising that Amateur Radio usually means that one Ham comes to know another only by voice (Amateur Slow Scan TV is changing this too) the SEANET group decided a few years ago that they should meet once a while, face to face. SEANET Conventions is the result. There have been SEANET Conventions in Penang (Malaysia), Bangkok, Singapore and Manila. The next one is in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (7, 8 and 9 November, 1975). Many Radio Hams—not only from the SEANET area—but from all over the world gather there to meet other Hams and discuss matter of mutual interest. "International understanding and Friendship" may well be the motto of SEANET.


Composed by 9N1MM, YBACS & VK3BPA
(Sung to the tune of 'She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain')

Oh, it's twelve hundred zulu and its time,
Oh, it's twelve hundred zulu and it's time,
So, zero beat on three two,
Cause NCS will call CQ,
Oh, it's twelve hundred zulu and it's time.

The first call is Thailand you will find
Oh, the first call is Thailand you will find
He will call thru Malaysia
Then all of South East Asia
The first call is Thailand you will find.

Oh, tune up somewhere else if you don't mind
Oh, tune up somewhere else if you don't mind
It will help reduce the splatter
And a lot of noisy chatter
Tune up somewhere else if you don't mind.
We've a fine bunch of hams and they are kind
Oh, we've a fine bunch of hams and they are kind
They will help you with your rig
To improve your little sig
We've a fine bunch of hams and they are kind.

Our brotherhood will last thru wind and tide
Oh, our brotherhood will last thru wind and tide
Despite the woodpecker's jamming
We'll go on with happy hamming
Our brotherhood will last through wind and time.

So here's to the SEAnet, it's our pride
Oh, so here's to the SEAnet, it's our pride
Each year we get together
No matter what the weather
Here's to the SEAnet, it's our pride.

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