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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

A Wonderful Ham Story You Can Add To!

from Cap'n Fatty Goodlander on March 19, 2003
View comments about this article!

Ahoy Friends and Family...

Just a quick note to ask if you know any amateur radio operators (known as 'hams') in your area?

If so, could you do me a small favor for a very good cause?

We've become very good friends with an Indian ham (VU2ITI) named T.K. Mani who lives in Cochin, India.

He helped us out tremendously by fixing our SSB radio aboard Wild Card----and refused all payment.

Once we started hanging out with him we discovered what a wonderful guy he truly is. (See the story, which follows).

In any event, he and his entire radio club is in need of any-and- all-types of amateur radio magazines... like CQ, QST, or 73.

Is there is any chance that you could collect some of these magazines... or contact some local amateur radio group to do so... and mail them to the address which follows?

I know it would take a little time and some money----but, believe me, it would be greatly appreciated by the amateurs of India.... and by me personally.

It doesn't matter how old or ripped up the mags are... they'll read whatever you send them to tatters!

Thanks so much.

Here's the address:

T.K. Mani
Department of Electronics
Cochin University of Science and Technology
THRIKKAKARA Kochi 682022
Kerala, India

Thanks again.

Cap'n Fatty Goodlander
Sailing Yacht WILD CARD
Cochin, India
Indian Ocean
Earth

On Radios, Indian Friends and Electronic Heros Copyright 2003 by Cap'n Fatty Goodlander

In the last few years, we've sailed to dozens of counties, many of which are reputed to be the friendliest in the world. Nowhere, however, have we made more wonderful friends quicker than in India.

Take electronic guru and university professor T. K. Mani as example: once he heard there was a visiting American yacht '...stranded without a radio,' he dropped everything and rushed down to the Cochin harbor to help.

My wife Carolyn and I happened to be away traveling inland at the time, so he kept returning day after day until he found us aboard----despite the hour-long, heavy-traffic commute.

I was, frankly, somewhat suspicious of him at first. Without even looking at the radio, he assured us he could fix it. His only question was, "Do you need it back tomorrow, or can I have a couple of days?"

To dampen his optimism, I warned him that the radio had not worked since we'd been hit by lightening and that I had no idea what was wrong with it, no schematic diagram, no parts list, etc.

He just shrugged.

I didn't know it at the time, but T.K. Mani had every right to be confident.

About thirty years ago, when he was a teenager, he saw a newspaper ad for a small radio receiver for 10 rupees, about twenty cents American. He wanted that radio so bad he could taste it, and began bugging his hardworking-but-nearly-penniless father day after day. His family was VERY poor and often hungry----and his father told him repeatedly that it was too expensive. But Mani wanted it, wanted it, wanted it... so badly that his father ultimately relented and gave Mani the 10 rupees.

Mani sent away for the radio, and waited. And waited. And is still waiting. "It was a rip off... a scam," he told me. "I never got the radio. I was furious. My father said, 'I told you so!'"

Mani could not believe it. His chance to own a radio and to hear beyond the front door of his tiny rural shack... was gone forever.

Or was it?

Mani decided to build his own radio. He collected old television sets and gutted them for parts. He went to the library and read dozens of books on amateur radio. He visited every radio repair shop within hiking distance of his house----and silently watched/questioned the technicians hour after hour after hour.

"One old radio guy lent me what we both thought were enough parts to build a radio -- but we were wrong. Dozens of times, I put it together... and nothing. It was discouraging. I spent all my spare time working on it, soldiering different parts together... testing my circuits. Then I got a new carton of used stuff... transformers and tubes and copper windings... and exactly two years after I started... I heard a faint signal through my headphones! I'd done it. I'd built a radio."

No one has ever built a radio in Mani's village before----or even heard of anyone doing so. Mani immediately became famous. He soon built a transmitter...

"It was supposed to be two watts," he said, "but it was actually a little less than one. But I had my amateur radio license (VU2ITI) by then, and I made a lot of contacts with that crude little x-mitter.."

Suddenly, Mani's world was huge. Every day he talked to sophisticated, educated people from around the world----and was taken seriously by them.

It dawned on him that electronics could be his ticket out of the grinding poverty of his youth.

Mani ceaselessly built radio after radio... all from scratch, with salvaged parts... and soon headed off to college to study electronic theory. Eventually he got his master's degree, a teaching job at the local university, and now, when I meet him, is only a few short months away from receiving his doctorate.

Along the way he invented the 'acoustical ocean rain gauge' which remotely monitors the amount and location of rainfall at sea-----a very important device in drought-stricken India.

Anyway, Mani knows his stuff -- and proved it by returning to Wild Card a couple of days later with the repaired radio... and installing it in such a manner that its output was radically higher than ever!

"How much do I owe you," I asked.

"How 'bout," he said with a sly smile, "the privilege of your company at my home for a traditional Kerala feast?"

How do you repay such a person... a total stranger in a completely foreign land... for such a kindness? For not only fixing something important for you, but also welcoming you into his heart, home and life?

It was a challenge. Since Mani refused all payment, we made a sizable donation to his amateur radio club -- for an upcoming hamfest.

After meeting his lovely wife Sheela and partaking of her wonderful food-----we returned the invitation and had them both aboard Wild Card for a 'typical American meal' of meat-and-mash- potatoes and, of course, hot apple pie.

Learning that Mani was involved with fund-raising for a school for children with 'special needs,' Carolyn and I decided to sponsor a deserving child by paying a year's tuition.

But most of all, we just enjoyed each other's company. Mani was very interested in our voyage, and Carolyn and I were very interested in his life. He stopped by Wild Card almost daily, and introduced us to his entire family, many friends----and even roped me into giving an hour long lecture on marine electronics to his eager students.

One of Mani's teaching assistants was getting engaged, and we had a seat of honor at the day-long party -- during which one hundred people taught us to eat with our hands... amid much laughter and love. (The marriage was an 'arranged' one: the groom's parents had found the bridge via a newspaper advertisement and this was only the third time she and the groom had ever met... always with both sets of parent's present, of course!)

Perhaps the nicest moment came when I held his lovely, laughing daughter Krishna (she's mentally challenged) in my arms and sang 'Sweet Adeline' and 'On Moonlight Bay' and 'Old Man River' to her.

In essence, we became fast friends. We relaxed and luxuriated within each other's presence. Mani showed us his world, we showed him ours. Sure, we mostly talked -- but after awhile the pauses were as comfortable as the conversation.

That's the very best part of sailing around the world... meeting wonderful people like T.K. Mani of Cochin, India.

=====
Cap'n Fatty and Carolyn Goodlander
S/V Wild Card, sponsored by NECOL
Technical Services, Island Marine
Outfitters, Independent Boat Yard,
Caribbean Inflatable Services, The
Caribbean Weather Center, and the people of St. John, VI!

PS
Fatty & Carolyn started from St. John, Virgin Islands circumnavigating the earth in their sail boat.

I hope you can post this wonderful story and turn it into a greater one by having hams participating in it.

Thanks & 73,
Tony Scimeca KP2Z

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
A Wonderful Ham Story You Can Add To!  
by K3ESE on March 19, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Well, I've been reading of Capt. Fatty's adventures for years in sailing rags, especially Latitude 38. This was a wonderful story! Comes at a good time, too, doesn't it?

Now I know what to do with the QSTs that are piling up! I'll be sending whatever radio literature I can find to India.

Thanks, Fatty!
 
A Wonderful Ham Story You Can Add To!  
by KC4NYK on March 26, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Did you know? That there are over 25,000 couples, documented, out there sailing full time as their life style? - KEWL!

Did you know? That sailors and Hams are the most intelligent and friendly groups of people from any cross section of humanity? Well, that's just my personal observation, hehe.

Anyway - I have friends that are purchasing retirement property in the country in beautiful Virginia, here, but I tell them "I'm gonna sail my real estate". How else could you accidentally run into someone like Mr. Mani?

And how else could you meet people as great as Capt'n Fatty and Significant Other, unless you sail, are a Ham or (in my case) an aspiring sailor (crewed for 5 years - Fishing Bay Yacht Club, Deltaville, VA) and trying to brush up on my CW (for QRP projects with my 16 year old )??

Well, I'm rambling here - but what the heck - as Larry Wall said "English is a messy language and that's why it works" so sailing and amateur radio seem to be a somewhat messy cohabitation - but hey!! What a lifestyle!!

Our "rudderless" youth need to be exposed to these lifestyles as appropriate alternative to the corporate "corpse" rather than, drugs, raves and other "reactive" behaviors. Ok - End of Rant Heheh!!

BTW - Prof. Mani - what would you do with 10 years of back issues to Fly Fisherman magazine?? Don't get me started!! :)
 
RE: A Wonderful Ham Story You Can Add To!  
by VU2ITI on May 16, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
Dear Rob Thomas,
I came to know about this article only recently- after one of my student emailed me this page. I am preparing a writup on this topic and will be posting it soon. I had requested Fatty, if he could arrange to send me some back issues of HAM radio magazines for our club. We are interested in ham radio related or other technical journals only.
Thanks for responding to captian Fatty's Request.
73
Mani (VU2ITI)
 
A Wonderful Ham Story You Can Add To!  
by VU2ITI on May 20, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I had posted an article related to this story at http://www.eham.net/articles/5539.
Mani (vu2iti)
 
A Wonderful Ham Story You Can Add To!  
by VU2MUE on May 30, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I have documented the entire episode of Captain Fatty Goodlander (Aka Gary Martin Goodlander) when he was at Cochin (Kochi), India and the story about how we became good friends. There are many beautiful pictures of Captain Fatty with Prof Mani, VU2ITI. My gratitude to Carolyn for sending those to me and updating me throughout. The story is at:
http://www.qsl.net/vu2msy/fatty_goodlander.htm
This is a story about how the ham radio operators in India helped Cap'n Fatty Goodlander after receiving his request to repair his marine rig.
I have been chasing Cap'n Fatty's voice on my radio day after day....This story is just an expression of my wonderment and realisation that the world in fact has turned in to 'One World' with brave people like Cap'n Fatty on it! Cap'n Fatty Goodlander is on a circumnavigation tour round the world onboard a small sailboat named 'Wild Card' (a 38 foot sloop) along with his YL Carolyn. It was just by incidence that a 'faulty marine rig' brought me in touch with the wonderful people like Cap'n Fatty & Prof. Mani (VU2ITI).I would appreciate your comments!
73 de Sandeep, VU2MUE
http://www.qsl.net/vu2msy
 
A Wonderful Ham Story You Can Add To!  
by VU2MUE on May 30, 2003 Mail this to a friend!
I have documented the entire episode of Captain Fatty Goodlander (Aka Gary Martin Goodlander) when he was at Cochin (Kochi), India and the story about how we became good friends. There are many beautiful pictures of Captain Fatty with Prof Mani, VU2ITI. My gratitude to Carolyn for sending those to me and updating me throughout. The story is at:
http://www.qsl.net/vu2msy/fatty_goodlander.htm
This is a story about how the ham radio operators in India helped Cap'n Fatty Goodlander after receiving his request to repair his marine rig.
I have been chasing Cap'n Fatty's voice on my radio day after day....This story is just an expression of my wonderment and realisation that the world in fact has turned in to 'One World' with brave people like Cap'n Fatty on it! Cap'n Fatty Goodlander is on a circumnavigation tour round the world onboard a small sailboat named 'Wild Card' (a 38 foot sloop) along with his YL Carolyn. It was just by incidence that a 'faulty marine rig' brought me in touch with the wonderful people like Cap'n Fatty & Prof. Mani (VU2ITI).I would appreciate your comments!
73 de Sandeep, VU2MUE
http://www.qsl.net/vu2msy
 
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