Monday, February 15, 2016

BECOMING A HAM

I ENTERED THE WORLD of amateur radio because it is a necessity. The transceiver radio, in its simplest form, is a vital piece of signal equipment that can improve communications of two individuals who are not visible to each other. That is the only purpose why I am into this. I am not the hobbyist type. I do not have the means to upgrade an equipment to seek that plateau of contentment and pleasure. I will only upgrade if it is really necessary.


I have always been interested in the use of radios. Owning one might be easy but you are subject to the laws of the land. In the Philippines, we have the outdated Republic Act 3846. The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) enforces this law and implements its rules and regulations in the use, trade, transit and licensing of all equipment which transmit radio waves and assigns frequencies for amateur, commercial and civic use.

To legalize your ownership and use of radios, you must have a license. For civic and commercial categories, you only have to attend a half-day seminar at any NTC regional offices, provided you are working in a company where it has an existing commercial radio station license and owning licensed radios where a Restricted Land Mobile Operator Permit (RLMOP) is issued to you. It will be valid in one to five years, depending, and can be renewed.

For amateurs, you would have to take an examination before you earn an Amateur Radio Station License (ARSL). Entry level would be the Class D License. After considerable experience and know-how, aspiring the Class A License would be the pinnacle of the ladder of advancement. If you pass the Class D License, the NTC will assign an official callsign for you which will be yours for life. When you have a Class A License later on, you will have many privileges, including the use of another callsign.

After passing the Class C examinations in September 2013, I was provided a callsign by the NTC - DW7EUV. The ARSL is good for one year and is renewable for as long as you are able to pay the fees. I am allowed to use high frequency (HF) and very high frequency (VHF) radios at 100 watts peak power. To use my license, I legally purchased a Cignus V85 Portable Radio, keen on joining an amateur radio club to practice my radio communication skills and, if possible, to volunteer time as an emergency communicator.

When a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Bohol a month after, all cellular signals went out but radio communications were active. When Typhoon Haiyan overwhelmed Eastern Visayas and parts of Northern Cebu in November, power and cellular signals went missing. I turn to my radio to reach and communicate with people. I carried my only radio during humanitarian aid missions in Bohol and in Guintarcan Island.

At the start of 2015, I finally joined HAM RADIO CEBU, INC. as a pioneer member. We had our initial meeting where a provisional set of officers where chosen, led by Jet Manuel (DU7MHZ) and Charlie Saceda (DW7FBI), to steer our organization to the next phase, which is to be accredited with the Philippine Amateur Radio Association (PARA) as a member club and then recognized by the NTC as a Club Station.

We have no problems to meet the number of licensed members set by PARA and by NTC as I have been encouraging my people at the Camp Red Bushcraft and Survival Guild to obtain license for Class C and Class D to populate Ham Radio Cebu. Radio communications is very important in my outdoor activities and we do not go out to the mountains without it. It is used in emergencies and for experimentation.

Experimentation cover many fields. I concentrate on the places where radio contact is believed to be difficult. Mountains and rugged terrain are places which all communicators considered as obstacles. Nobody do tests there. I am highly-mobile and can go to these places as exemplified by my current explorations and discovery of routes for the Cebu Highlands Trail Project. This exploration activity traverses the highlands of Cebu from southernmost tip to the northernmost tip.

In my sojourns, I found existing locations and coverage of radio repeaters very wanting. If ever there is one, radio courtesy and ethics would be working at its finest. To meet the demands of these very difficult places, I may have to upgrade my present equipment. Upgrading for a purpose not because I want people to know that I have branded radios. I know there are many cheap radios flooding the market but I prefer better than that. Made in China radios are not in my shopping list.

The amateur is a patriot” and I can never forget that during my orientation to amateur radio operations. Because I am a patriot, I will not buy Made in China radios anymore, nor do I endorse these. I will not condone either my fellow Hams selling these radios online or personally. By that declaration, I may offend fellow Hams but that is not my fault. I stand by my principles and by my choices as asked of each of us as a citizen of the Republic of the Philippines.

Yes, I do not want my money to be spent for the manufacture of weapons and ammunition that would be used someday against me and my countrymen nor do I want to part my money to be spent in the construction of artificial islands in territories claimed by our country. My money will not be wasted on sub-standard items that add more radio pollution. One more thing, many of these things transmit electronic signals that will be used by Chinese spy agencies. It is indeed shameful to sell these China-branded radios to Filipinos.

I would be very careful with that since price can be very tempting at times, especially when you are in the quest of your upgrade. Net calls conducted regularly by my radio club can be very challenging when working with an inferior equipment which I am presently using. A net call is a sort of attendance check through the airwaves. That means I must secure an external antenna and, if I have enough funds, acquire a good VHF base radio. The radio will come later. Antenna first because it is much cheaper.

It is just fortunate that Ham Radio Cebu hosted an antenna-making workshop last November 8, 2015. I took advantage of this by attending this activity so I could pursue my upgrade. I now have all the materials and the most important – knowledge - to make a 2-stack collinear antenna for amateur use. It is not that easy but it is a different thing when you will make your own antenna. I can feel the adrenaline rising as I looked forward to the day when I will commence on this project.

I am also in the planning stage to acquire an HF radio soon. HF radios are very expensive but I heard that pioneer Cebuano hobbyists have assembled theirs from scratch. It is legal and it can be licensed according to Engr. Jesus Laureano of NTC Region 7. I may have to go that route once I have a lot of time for myself. I will just have to search hard a circuit diagram for that. If ever I will reach this stage, I can then proudly call myself a Ham – a real amateur radio hobbyist.

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HAM RADIO CEBU Inc. is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission as a non-stock non-profit corporation in the Philippines in the field of amateur radio on February 14, 2015. It is affiliated with the PARA and is operating legally as a radio club and repeater station by the NTC. It has its official address at PECOJON, Escario Street, Capitol Site, Cebu City. Its club station callsign is DX7CBU operating at 144.960 Mhz (-600 Khz).


Despite being new, Ham Radio Cebu already has 48 licensed members and still counting. It is the envy of other radio clubs – civic and amateur. We encourage and support our members to acquire an amateur license or upgrade to the next level. We conduct orientations and pre-examination reviews to our members, applicants and those that request these, notably civic radio clubs, schools, the Boy Scout, the Girl Scout, ROTC units, the LDRRMOs and church organizations.

Our advocacy is to propagate the hobby of amateur radio through experimentation and long-range communication expeditions, assist in civic activities and rescue-humanitarian operations by providing communication support, educate the public about amateur radio through constant outreach educational activities, encourage the legal use of radios by helping owners acquire licenses, and be a partner of the government and the NTC through education and awareness.


The following are Ham Radio Cebu's modest achievements and activities in only its first year of existence:

  • Event Communications for the Order of Discalced Agustinians. Tabor Hills, Talamban, Cebu City. April 2-4, 2015.
  • 22nd International Grand Eyeball QSO and 83rd PARA Hamvention. Belmonte Farm, Naga City, Camarines Sur. April 10-11, 2015.
  • Orientation to Amateur Radio Operations and Element II Review for New Members and Applicants. Cebu Provincial Capitol, Cebu City. April 24, 2015.
  • New Class C Passers: Rommel Mesias (DW7EYH), Justin Abella (DW7EYX) and Justin Apurado (DW7EZL).
  • New Class D Passers: Faith Gomez (DY7EYY), Nami Fajardo (DY7EZF), Jonathan Apurado (DY7EZH), Kenny Ray Gacasan (DY7EYS) and Rin Estrada (DY7EYU).
  • Orientation to Amateur Radio Operations, Situation Report and Net Call for Barangay Workers and Island Stations. Guiuan, Samar. May 11-15, 2015.
  • Coastal Clean-Up Drive by Bureau of Jail Management and Penology. Medellin, Cebu. June 21, 2015.
  • Orientation to Amateur Radio Operations for Teachers and Students. Barrio Luz National High School, Cebu City. July 11, 2015.
  • Medical Dental Civic Action Program by 5th TAS Brigade and 1901st Infantry Brigade (Reserve). Compostela, Cebu. July 12, 2015.
  • Coastal Clean-Up Drive and HF/SSB/VHF Propagation by Municipality of Cordova. Hilutungan Island, Cordova, Cebu. July 18-19, 2015.
  • Orientation to Amateur Radio Operations for REACT Philippines and the AFP Community Relations Service. Camp Lapulapu, Cebu City. July 26, 2015.
  • Orientation to Amateur Radio Operations for Emergency Responders and VHF/UHF/HF Propagation for the Organizers of the 1st Cebu Provincial Search and Rescue Summit. BSP Camp, Cebu City. July 29-31, 2015.
  • Event Communications for Cobra Ironman 70.3. Lapulapu City-Cebu City-Talisay City. August 1-2, 2015.
  • Kahayag Forum by Brothers of Saint John. Sacred Heart Center, Cebu City. August 21, 2015.
  • Orientation to Amateur Radio Operations for Barangay Workers and Emergency Responders. Liloan, Cebu. August 27, 2015.
  • New Class C Passer: Jose Gochangco (DW7EZI).
  • Orientation to Amateur Radio Operations for ROTC Cadets. St. Alphonsus College, Lapulapu City. September 19, 2015.
  • Element II, III and IV Review for New Members and Applicants. Handuraw Events Cafe, Cebu City. September 21, 2015.
  • Element II, III and IV Review for DRRMO Members. Liloan, Cebu. October 2, 2015.
  • Antenna Making Workshop and SSB Propagation for Members. Talisay City, Cebu. November 8, 2015.
  • Orientation to Amateur Radio Operations for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. University of Cebu, Cebu City. November 14, 2015.
  • Element II, III and IV Review for Applicants. i1 Building, Cebu IT Park, Cebu City. November 14, 2015.
  • Practical VHF Radio Operations for Girl Scouts. University of Cebu, Cebu City. November 28, 2015.
  • New Class D Passers: Honey Alquizola, Malaya Bolito, Ham Bugtai, Mike Cabras, Nathan Chu, Joy Quito and Eli Bryn Tambiga.
  • New Class C Passers: Tristan Bonghanoy, Eric Guillermo, Nonoi Ibañez, Ariel Lim (DW7FAL), Locel Navarro, Jerome Tibon and Angel Villaganas.
  • New Class B Passers: Charlie Saceda (DV7FBI) and Arman Abaquita.





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1 comment:

Iron Guitara said...

Hi im John. i have read the article and it's igniting my interest to be part of such an adventurous journey of having to communicate with a lot of people using a radio. by the way, i own a pair of radio and we use it with my buddies on our random motorcycle road trips. But i came across a site that features important uses of radios(Ham) and i'd like to learn more about how to set it up and how to operate it and most importantly to be part of something bigger than me like giving my hands to those who need in times of accidents or disasters.