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Report from Thailand

Amateur Radio Examination in Thailand
A Short Trip to the Kingdom of Bhutan, A5A

Champ C. Muangamphun, E21EIC/A52IC

Amateur Radio Examination in Thailand

The world is now experiencing a continuous ham population decline. IARU Region 3 also notice that most amateur radio operators are elderly people. When you take a look at the contesters of the ALL ASIAN DX Contest, in both the CW and SSB modes, you will find that they are almost over 60 years old. For this reason, in the next 10–20 year, the situation will become even worse. It will severely affect the frequency allocation to amateur radio, and our frequency might be allocated to some other uses.

In South East Asia, however, especially in Indonesia and Thailand, teenagers and university school students are still interested in ham radio, and fortunately the number of hams is increasing. RAST and NBTC are always supporting those young potential hams, and providing many opportunities for them to take the Basic class (VHF) and Intermediate class (HF) license exams each year.

Intermediate class (HF) examiners and staff members

The latest Intermediate class (HF) license exam in Thailand was held on August 24th 2019, with a total of 92 candidates, and 44 of them passed the exam. In Thailand, the receiving speed of the CW test is 8 WPM (40 groups of characters and 12 groups of numbers). This time, 13 candidates including two young hams who are 11 years old E25AQB and 14 years old E24VRK scored 100% for the CW test.

E25AQB holding his HF license

This year we also setup a special case and it became the first case of Ham Radio Basic (VHF) License exam in Thailand for Educational Institution. It was held on September 6th 2019, with a total of 80 candidates. 58 of them passed the exam, including 41 high school students from Bangkok Christian College. They are now setting up the ham radio club station and making small satellites (Cube Sat) at school. The RAST team members are supporting them as consultants and advisers.

One scene of Basic class (VHF) examination

RAST and NBTC support the examinations of all three license classes—Basic class License (VHF), Intermediate class license (HF) and Advanced class license (HF). There is a total of 465,438 hams in Thailand, and the breakdown is 92,454 of Basic license (VHF), 649 of Intermediate class license (HF), and 363 Advanced class licenses (HF 1000W), as of August 2019.

RAST staff members helping the examination

Another choice for those who would like to upgrade their license from Basic to Intermediate is taking the US FCC amateur radio license examination, which is held by RAST and Thai VE Team. The FCC tests are scheduled 4 times per year. Anyone who has passed the FCC exam and held the FCC license can upgrade their Thai amateur radio license to a higher level, which is under the reciprocal operating agreement between Thailand and USA. Now we have a total of about 600 Thai hams who have FCC licenses.

E24XUR, 9 years old taking the FCC examination

RAST fully understands the importance of continuously encouraging Ham Radio to young people and supporting them in Thailand. In the year 2020, we are going to host YOTA Camp of IARU Region. It will be held in Pattaya, Chonburi from October 1st to 3rd, 2020.

A Short Trip to the Kingdom of Bhutan, A5A

For many years, the Foundation for Global Children (FGC) and SEISA have been supporting Bhutan educational activities, including sport activities and quality of life development for Bhutanese. Zorro Miyazawa, JH1AJT, is a chef director of FGC, and he is also a CEO of the SEISA group. The organization also supports Bhutan Olympic Committee (BOC) to send athletes who are going to participate in the competitions in TOKYO 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

JH1AJT Zorro (left) and E21EIC Champ (right) in A5A

Recently, we have set up an official club station for students at the Royal Thimphu College (RTC), with a special callsign A50RTC. I am one of the staff members of the team, and travel to Bhutan with Zorro, JH1AJT, for more than 10 times by now. We usually introduce ham radio to Bhutan students and hold some short workshops for the students. We also provide an opportunity for the RTC students and their educational staff members to take the FCC examination to get a ham license.

View of Mt. Everest

We used the IC-7300 to be on the air.

The purpose of my latest trip to Bhutan during 10th–12th September 2019 was to repair their antennas and built a new 50 MHz 8-ele Yagi, the CL6DXZ, manufactured by Creative Design. Also, I rearranged the station as we set up our own ham shack permanently at the Royal Thimphu College (RTC). Our next mission is to install a new permanent tower and one more set of antennas for the A50RTC station, including the low band antennas for the 3.5 MHz and 1.8 MHz bands. They should be effective for the “low band season,” this coming winter.

A5A antenna farm

Since our trip was only for 2 days, we operated only in the FT8 and FT4 modes. We just wanted checked the antenna system we built, but the result was great! We were able to make 2,850 QSOs in total. A5A QSL cards can be get via JH1AJT or LoTW is available.

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