Despite the advancement of technology, amateur radio lives on

by BERNAMA / pic credit: GOOGLE

MELAKA – Despite the rapid development of technology based on the use of radio frequencies, such as smartphones, broadband and others, amateur radio such as walkie-talkies still has a place among its fans.

In the past, this kind of hobby was often associated with men, but now more and more women are beginning to use amateur radio to fill their free time, to the extent of setting up clubs for users of amateur radio, which is considered as a saviour during emergencies.

Lecturer at the Institute of Teacher Education (IPG) Perempuan Melayu Melaka, Durian Daun, Dr Norsiah Bahari, 48, said that her interest in amateur radio began in 2010, when she was pursuing her doctorate degree with the need to conduct studies on flora and soil in the Endau-Rompin National Park in Pahang.

“I was made to understand that at that time there was no telephone line, especially around the study area in Gunung Guntung Keriung, and the only telecommunication medium available was amateur radio.

“Therefore, I started taking classes and learning the ins-and-outs of amateur radio, as well as sitting for the exam to get an amateur radio licence to facilitate communication when conducting studies in the area,” she said when contacted by Bernama here.

She said that the walkie-talkie became her only link with the outside world, while conducting studies twice a month over a two-year period in the area.

Although she had completed her research years ago, amateur radio has now become her hobby; in fact her interest is also supported by her husband, Zahari Ahmad, 48, a teacher at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Tinggi St David, Bukit Baru.

“Both my husband and I now possess a Class A Licence, where the licensee, among others, must be proficient in using Morse Code because it is the most important criterion if you want to take a licence for that class, compared with a Class B Licence, which only focuses on electronic, phonetic and other aspects.

“Because of the interest in amateur radio, my husband and I then set up amateur radio clubs at our respective education centres, as part of our efforts to share knowledge with students who are interested in this telecommunication medium,” she said.

Meanwhile, another hobbyist is Siti Nusilah Hasan, 45, from Taman Pandan Perdana, Pokok Mangga; her interest in amateur radio is not only to fill her free time, but also as a medium for her to learn various communication and technical disciplines, especially related to electronics.

“It all started when I joined a car club a few years ago where club members used a lot of walkie-talkies to communicate with each other, especially when embarking on a convoy or road trip.

“Fearing that the frequency used during the convoy would interfere with the frequency of other parties, I then took an amateur radio licence in 2017 to learn the technical aspects related to the use of the radio,” she said when contacted recently.

Siti Nusilah, a Class A Licence holder, also said that, among other reasons that piqued her interest in turning amateur radio into a hobby, was because it was one of the communication media that was often used during an emergency.

“It can be seen when Kelantan was hit by a major flood in 2014, which paralysed the telecommunications system, and amateur radio users became saviours, especially in helping non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to coordinate aid to flood victims in the state,” she said.