Amateur radio: It can be more than just a hobby

WORLD Amateur Radio Day was celebrated on April 18. I would like to extend my greetings to fellow Malaysian amateur radio operators. Amateur radio, also known as ham radio, is a popular activity and service across the globe.

Some of my younger friends only vaguely know what I mean when I say I’m an amateur radio operator, while most are completely at a loss and tell me they have never heard of such a thing.

My interest began when, as a child sitting in a taxi, I observed how a taxi driver operated his two-way rig installed in his vehicle. I then took this fascination with ham radio a notch higher by sitting for the Radio Amateur Examination organised by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission, and eventually got my amateur radio operator licence bearing the call sign 9W2 KYU.

Now, amateur radio is not merely a hobby. It has aided greatly in the communications scene, especially during search and rescue operations. I know of some amateur radio enthusiast clubs, such as the Malaysian Amateur Radio Emergency service (MARES), which have aided in emergency radio communications during several major disasters in the country.

I urge the public to get involved in the world of amateur radio. Get in touch with clubs such as the Malaysian Amateur Radio Transmitter Society and MARES, and familiarise yourself with the different types of radio equipment.

You might just fall in love with ham radio the same way I did, and might also dig into the world of Morse code.

Amateur radio might be losing its appeal nowadays. However, I urge everyone not to let the “old faithful” fade into the sunset because ham radio really goes beyond being a hobby.

The tagline “Ham radio works when all else fails” will always ring true in times of need.

YEAP MING LIONG , Associate Captain Civil Defence Malaysian amateur radio call sign: 9W2 KYU

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