Amateur Radio & Antenna

Admin Off: New No.5 Old No.2A. Krishna Street, T Nagar ,Chennai - 600 017


Governing Body :

Thyagarajan - VU2PTR

Vice President
Christopher - VU3USI

Mohan - VU3MOA

Jt. Secretrary:
Krishna Kumar - VU2IKK

Balasubramanian - VU2DZD

Committee Members:
Devadas - VU2DH

Vijayarangan - VU2AIR

Shanmugam - VU2CSM

Harsha - VU2ISR

Ravindranath - VU2ETO

Rajesh - VU2OW

Amateur Radio was not very popular in India during 1950s. The handful of hams were scattered all over India with small concentrations in 2 or 3 cities. There were many whoaspired to be Radio Amateurs, but just did'nt know how to go about it - they could'nt find a ham to guide them in realizing their ambition. Madras was no exception.

In 1958, "The Hindu" published an article by Venkatesulu on Amateur Radio. OM. Venkatesulu VU2 GV was probably the 135th ham licence in India. On reading the article, Venkat (later to become VU2 SV) rushed to GV to seek his assistance in becoming a HAM. Venkat set out on the path to hamdom with very great enthusiasm. Noticing his extraordinary interest, VU2 GV suggested to Venkat, that he should meet the active HAMS in Madras, OM. Thomas, VU2 AL and OM.Norman Henry, VU2 RG, an Englishman (this call sign was later held by our dear, departed prime Minister, Shri Rajiv Gandhi). Sometime later, Balakrishnan (VU2 GB), Joseph Raj (SWL) and MRV of Railways met together and decided to organise a club. An informal first meeting of a group of HAMS and shortwave listeners was organised at the "Goods shed" of Madras Beach Railway Station. Various names were considered for the proposed association were considered, and Venkat (he did not have a call sign at that time) suggested the name of "MADRAS AMATEUR RADIO SOCIETY" and after some discussion it was agreed that this would be the name of the Club. It was thus that M.A.R.S. was born.

The first formal meeting of the Madras Amateur Radio Society was conducted on the Republic day in January 1961 at Roof Garden Hotel in Purasawakkam. OM Ramachandran, VU2 MN (licence no. 251) was then elected as the first Secretary of M.A.R.S.

Later on a group of HAMS, viz., Venkatesulu (VU2 GV), Kondal Rao (VU2 TO) Ranga (VU2 GW), Ramachandran (VU2 MN), Balakrishnan (VU2 GB) and a few others conducted regular monthly meetings in their respective houses in turns. Most of the meetings were regularly held at the residence of VU2 TO. It was then the Madras Amateur Radio Society received its callsign VU2 MU, the 302nd call sign in India. The members took turns officiating in various capacities.

A brief description of the manners in which the Amateur Stations Operators Certificate (License) examinations were conducted in those days should provide interesting reading. There was no Monitoring Station or Regional head Quarters in Madras during the 1960s. If a candidate wanted to appear for the examination, he had to write to the W.P.C. showing informing them that he was desirous of becoming a HAM. The WPC would respond by sending the application forms and question papers to the Madras Airport. The candidate would then appear for the examination which was conducted at the Airport; the Radio Operators (who were incharge of Airport and Aircraft communications) officiated as Examiners. Venkat recalls that the Morse was sent by RTTY. Tape was used for sending the Morse test passage and the speed was adjusted on the teletype. Venkat received his Grade II License (No. 327) with the callsign VU2 SV in 1961.

At that time, commercially manufactured radio transmitters were not available for the amateur, Home brewing was the only means by which a HAM could go on the air. Morse code and AM(Amplitude Modulation) were the only modes in use; SSB (Single Side Band) became popular much later. In 1962, during the Chinese war, all HAMS were asked to voluntarily go off the Air by the then AMATEUR RADIO SOCIETY OF INDIA which was the controlling body of all the Societies and Clubs of Amateurs of India.

Among the early members of MARS were OM.Ranga (VU2GW-326) and OM.Venkat (VU2SV - 327), later on OM.Mali (VU2DZ - 605), OM.Menon (VU2KZ - 622), OM.Chauhan (VU2MV - 744), OM.Muthukrishnan (VU2MO - 788) joined the growing band of Madras hams. (The particulars in brackets are callsigns and licence numbers).

The member strength during 1970-75 was around 30 to 35; this increased to 150 during 1975-80, when quite a number got interested in this hobby. In the subsequent years VU2 VR, VU2 SGR, VU2 SVR, VU2 EBR, VU2 DOP, VU2 DPN, VU2 RKR, VU2 AID, VU2 AB, VU2 CMR and many others (whose callsigns I cannot remember) carried on the good work of building up the society and improving the activities of the Club and the mebership touched 200 by about 1985. The years 1985 to 1990 witnessed a spurt of activity, with FIELD DAYS, HAMFESTS, FOX HUNTS and other interesting events being organised quite regularly. By this time. Amateur Radio had become very popular in the country and the mebership of MARS had touched the 300 mark.

In the 90s, MARS has seen was a phenomenal increase in activities, the progress being of a geometric rather than arithmetic nature. Madras Amateur Radio Society is today a Registered Society with about 400 members. Madras in now the ham capital of India (with over 800 callsigns) and with continuing support of its members, MARS is poised to step elegantly into the 21st century. 73s

By R.Ravikrishnan (VU2 RAI) then President MARS.


Mahabalipuram HAM Meet 2009

Mahabalipuram HAM Meet 2010

Mahabalipuram HAM Meet 2011

Mahabalipuram HAM Meet 2012

Courtesy - MARS Souvenir
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