Marconi’s Faithful

June 20, 2012 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s amateur radio operators have renewed their call to be included in communication work during national disasters, after the defence authorities relaxed rules on clearing equipment. “When everything goes down, short wave remains alive,” an enthusiastic Goonetilleke said.

Their valuable role was acknowledged by the late Sir Arthur C Clarke, who put forward the idea of geo-stationary satellites for communication.

“We might never know how many lives they (radio ham’s) saved and how many minds they put at ease, but we owe a debt to Marconi’s faithful followers,” the long-time Sri Lanka resident, Clarke wrote in the Wired Magazine in February 2005.

But their public spiritedness hit a roadblock, thereafter, with the defence ministry blocking attempts to clear equipment or renew licenses during the height of the decades long ethnic conflict.

Three-years after the war ended in May 2009, defence ministry has rolled-back the red tape, offering hope for radio ham’s to renew their passion and volunteer their services for community work.

“From January we have little less red tape to get our equipment cleared, to make our members capable of meeting disasters,” a gr