The static noise over the High Frequency radio set is broken with a string of words in a distinct Thai accent. Hotel-Sierra-Ten-Kilo-India-November-Golf-stroke-Mike-Mike.
For the uninitiated, it could be as unintelligible as listening to a Chinese or Russian radio station, but the Ham operators are now going ga ga even as they hear it. They repeat the special call sign followed by their call sign and there comes the reply. “QSL. You are 5 9”.
The confirmatory acknowledgement is enough for a Ham operator to do a short jig because HS10KING/MM is a special event station set up to mark the coronation of the new King of Thailand, Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun (King Rama X) on May 4. The Thailand royalty has been extremely supportive of Ham Radio activity and the late King Bhumibhol Adulyadej was a Ham operator with call sign HS1A.
The special event station was organised by the Radio Amateur Society of Thailand, Icom and the Royal Thai Navy from May 3 and the station will be active till May 6 on all HF bands and the satellites which include Es’hail 2/QO-100 Sat.
Those who manage to contact the special call sign will get a QSL card acknowledging that the contact has been made. A QSL card is a prized possession for any Ham operator. Several Ham operators from Hyderabad had a QSO (contact in Ham parlance) with the special station and got the confirmation over 20 meters band.
Many Ham operators who routinely scan the bands were puzzled when they could hear the call sign being broadcast. “I was a bit confused when I heard HS10KING/MM on 14.200 mhz. I was wondering who would have such a long call sign? But, then, it struck me. It must be the special station. I called them in with my call sign and they had immediately acknowledged,” a visibly excited J Ram Charan, (VU3JCR), a marketing executive and a Ham operator, recalls.
Another amateur radio operator from Hyderabad Sasi Bhusan (VU3ELR) too made a contact and got the acknowledgement from the special station being operated from one of the ships anchored off Thailand.
The National Institute of Amateur Radio (NIAR) executive vice-chairman and director S Ram Mohan (VU2MYH) was equally excited to make a contact with the special station. “We were scanning the band expecting to catch some communication from Bhubaneswar or Puri about Cyclone Fani, but we stumbled on this special event station,” recalls Ram Mohan.
Other Ham operators Sridhar Reddy (VU3PEN) and Jos (VU2JOS) too made contacts from Hyderabad. More Ham operators from Hyderabad are expected to make contact with the special event station as the call sign will be active till May 6.