Search Terms

Report from Thailand

December YOTA Month in Thailand

Champ C. Muangamphun, E21EIC

One of the most exciting events for youngsters interested in amateur radio is the Youngsters on the Air (YOTA) program that takes place every December under the name “December YOTA Month” or DYM. Many young hams all over the world huddle together in their respective club stations, usually hosted by the national amateur radio society, to get on the air under various callsigns with “YOTA” in the suffix e.g. II0YOTA, PA6YOTA, 8N2YOTA etc.

For Thailand, the Radio Amateur Society of Thailand under the patronage of His Majesty the King (RAST) was honored by IARU Region 3 to host the first YOTA Camp in the region in October 2023. Likewise, RAST used the callsign E2YOTA to promote the event as well as participate in the DYM activity with other YOTA stations.

Figure 1. E2YOTA activities at HS2UPR station (Top Lef, L-R) Nong Gor-Ya, Nong Rung, Nong Pun, Nong Ja E25OKO (Top Right, L-R) Nong Ja E25OKO, Nong Gor-Ya (Bottom Left) Nong Pun

For RAST, this was their second year joining the December YOTA Month and the activity was held nationwide at various local radio club stations and schools. Youngsters in the area were invited to take part with hands-on activities to spur the interests, for example E2YOTA @E29AHU via SO-50, @HS6MYW via IO-86, @E21AR 40m HF, @HS3OY 40m HF, @HS1BJP HF, and @E27AM 2m FM. One of the highlights was at HS2UPR station where Nong Gor-Ya and Nong Bai-Yor were encouraged to on the HF bands in SSB mode using E2YOTA under the guidance of another licensed young YL, Nong Ja E25OKO, who herself was part of two E20AX/p IOTA DXpeditions with E21EIC to Koh Chang in 2021 (AS-125) and Koh Samet in 2022 (AS-107), and also attended the 1st IARU R3 YOTA camp just 2 months beforehand. It is great to see youngsters getting involved in amateur radio, and even better when they took the initiatives to encourage their younger peers to join in.

Figure 2. (Left) HS2UPR introducing Thailand’s radio band plan to Nong Gor-Ya, Nong Bai-Yor and Nong Ja E25OKO (Bottom Right) Nong Gor-Ya takes her turn to get on the air on HF band.

SIAM DX Group Club Station E20AX/E2A was also honored to host a very special 11 years old YL from Hungary, Dori HA5YD, and her family for the YOTA Contest 3rd Session 2023 (1200-2359 UTC) here in Bangkok, Thailand. Her father Robi HA5NP reached out to E21EIC and RAST via email looking for a suitable contest location where his daughter could operate from. Dori HA5YD has a talent in ARDF and have participated in electronic workshops in YOTA Camp Region 1 in the past.

Figure 3. Robi HA5NP, Nora XYL, Dori HA5YD, and Robi junior visited Siam DX Group Club Station and Don Wai Floating Market

Dori’s family consisted of HA5NP Robi, Nora XYL, Dori HA5YD, and 6 years old Robi junior. The family arrived at E20AX Club Station in late morning and went on a half-day trip to Phutthamonthon state park and Don Wai Floating Market with E25KAE, E20/NKB, and E21EIC. The kids had a great time roaming around and trying all the different Thai cuisine and exotic fruits e.g. roseapple, pomelo, jackfruit, and banana (Robi junior loved this to no end).

Figure 4. Robi HA5NP, Nora XYL, Dori HA5YD, and Robi junior visited Phutthamonthon state park and Don Wai Floating Market

We also spent a bit of time making merit by releasing fish back to the nature. Buddhists believe that releasing different types of fish can bring about different meanings, for example:-
 - Eels with its long and slender body will help achieve a smooth work,
   life, and financial balance
 - Pangasius can help to improve business trades
 - Turtle with its longevity will help lead to good health and long life
 - Snakehead fish helps to bring in good fortune to one’s life

In the evening, everybody enjoyed some pizzas together before Dori HA5YD began her first part of a 6hr marathon in the YOTA Contest 3rd Session 2023 at 1200UTC using E2YOTA callsign.

Whilst the contest was going on, Bun E25KAE managed to catch up with Nora to ask about how her kids became involved in amateur radio. Nora explained that Robi’s job circles around testing and repairing radios under service, so radio transceivers are very much part of their lives. The kids grow up with the sound of radio in the background as their dad worked away in his room, and in the weekends, they would hear their dad competing in all the contests. When Dori went to visit her friend’s house for the first time, she was confused why they too did not have a radio like she did as she had automatically assumed that it was normal for every household to have one.

Figure 5. (Top Left, L-R) Robi HA5NP and Dori HA5YD at E20AX Club Station during the YOTA Contest 3rd Session 2023 (Top Right) Pizza time! Champ E21EIC, Dori HA5YD, Robi’s XYL, Robi junior, Robi HA5NP, JC E20NKB, and Bun E25KAE (Bottom Left) E25KAE, Robi junior, Robi HA5NP, and Dori HA5YD (Bottom Right) Dori HA5YD and Bun E25KAE

Dori became interested in amateur radio and got her first license in 2020 at only 8 years old and started to go on the air in the summer of 2020. At first, the family went to the local hamfest in Hungary to meet other hams and find ways to become more involved. It was there that they learnt of a “YOTA Camp” for kids who share similar interests.

With the support of Robi and Nora, Dori and Robi Jr attended the YOTA Camp organized by the Magyar Rádióamatőr Szövetség / Hungarian Radio Amateur Society (MRASZ) along with 15-20 other kids. The YOTA Camp provided basic electronics, CW alphabets, with small group activities to keep the children excited and engage. The children thoroughly enjoyed a 1-week long sleepover at the MRASZ quarter, having fun with their friends, and thus fueling their love in the hobby further.

Dori HA5YD also got the chance to join a fox-hunting competition in Budapest with other kids who share the same interests, had similar background, and all with very supportive parents. With a keen interest in sports and radio, Dori became very proficient in ARDF and joined in many more fox-hunting activities including the 5th IARU World Youth ARDF Championship in 2023. 2023 was a very busy year for Dori because in addition to coming over to Thailand and competing for the Hungarian national team, she participated in the IARU Region 1 YOTA Summer Camp in Győr, Hungary, as well as activated 4O/HG5KID during the IOTA Contest 2023 from Montenegro, Svet Nikola Island!

Figure 6. (L-R) Champ E21EIC, Bun E25KAE, Robi HA5NP, Dori HA5YD, and Robi’s XYL at Siam DX Club Station E20AX/E2A in downtown Bangkok

When questioned who Dori looked up to, Nora mentioned a young YL from Germany who was fluent in German, Italian, English, and French, excellent at handling pile-ups and greet people in different languages with ease. Dori looked up to her a lot and was always ecstatic when she made it through.

What kept Dori going in ham radio is because she loves to make new friends, enjoy operating the radio in a pile-up and during contests, and constantly motivated to being better, or to put it more exact, to become number 1.

Dori has competed in all YOTA contests so far, apart from one in the summer of 2023 where the contest coincided with her school trip to Austria so Dori’s little brother Robi junior took the seat instead and operated under HA2KID special contest callsign. He was only 5 years old! Isn’t that amazing?

Figure 7. Dori’s HA5YD coming in 13th in the Singler Operator All Bands (SOAB) YOTA 6 hours category in a worldwide ranking (not to mention that conditions in SE Asia and the amount of ham operators in the neighbouring countries are much less here compared to Europe.

Nora praised MRASZ for all the efforts they put in towards the YOTA Camp and various fox-hunting competitions to keep kids like Dori HA5YD and Robi Jr involved. It was a lot of effort by the organiser, but also by the parents and all the HAMs who volunteered to be there. Ultimately, what matters the most was, everybody took the task seriously. They all acknowledge that the hobby is slowly losing its population and it is up to each and every one of us to spur interests in the younger generation to keep our beloved hobby alive.

Report from Thailand backnumber

Page Top Home