Open-Source Classes for Amateur Radio (OSCAR India) organized an 18-hour radio event titled “Eighteen Hours of Radio Journey” to commemorate the 165th birth anniversary of Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose. The event featured various field day activities, with a focus on night-time operations. It commenced on November 25, 2023, at 3 PM and concluded on November 26, 2023, at 9 AM. The venue was located approximately 40 kilometers from Kolkata, in Hooghly, West Bengal, India. The Wireless Planning and Coordination Wing of the Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communication, Government of India, granted the event a special call sign, AT2O.
“Eighteen Hours of Radio Journey” was a unique event that brought together experienced amateur radio operators and newly licensed radio enthusiasts to explore night-band communication using HF SSB & Digital, night-time fox hunting using UHF, and QO100 setup.
The event marked the first time in India that such an initiative and activities were conducted with meticulous planning and execution. Exploring the 160-meter and 80-meter bands is not a common practice in India due to the large antenna requirements.
Approximately 25 young amateur radio enthusiasts and call sign holders participated in the program, including 8 YLs (Young Ladies). OSCAR’s encouragement of YL participation aims to break gender barriers and attract more women to the male-dominated amateur radio field.
Portable amateur radio setups were installed on-site, allowing new amateur radio license holders to gain hands-on experience with HF radio and QO-100.
VU3OAA, a new call sign holder and YL Arunisha, XYL of VU3IZV, shared their positive experiences at the event, highlighting the fun-filled atmosphere and the opportunity to learn new skills.
VU3OQR, another new call sign holder and YL Nishita, XYL of VU3YDA, described the event as a lifetime experience, emphasizing the impact of learning through fun and expressing her eagerness to participate in similar events in the future.
VU3YDA, popularly known as “Deep,” a seasoned amateur radio operator, played a key role in organizing and leading the program. He was ably supported by other experienced amateur radio operators, including VU3JXF Saurav Goswami, VU2OII Nilkantha Chatterjee, Team OSCAR, VU3IZV Pritam Sarkar, VU3IBL Amitava Gupta, and several young amateur radio operators.
During the 18 hours of radio operation, approximately 200+ QSOs (contacts) were made, with over 50 QSOs on SSB and 150+ QSOs on Digital & QO100.
Night-time fox hunting proved to be an exhilarating experience, providing participants with valuable lessons and hands-on training. The challenge of locating the “FOX” using UHF radio in the darkness added an element of excitement and adventure.
VU3JXF, a seasoned amateur radio operator also known as Japan X-Ray Florida, Saurav, emphasized the importance of such activities in building confidence among new amateur radio operators. He highlighted the benefits of these drills in preparing operators for real-world situations, testing their stress management abilities, fostering teamwork and coordination, and equipping them for disaster relief efforts.
‘OSCAR India is an open-source organization dedicated to training amateur radio enthusiasts and assisting them in passing the ASOC exam. To date, over 1,200 amateur radio operators have successfully passed the ASOC exam with the support of OSCAR India. OSCAR India has several exciting activities planned for the coming months. Stay tuned for more updates.’
By – AMITAVA GUPTA VU3IBL