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Report from Thailand

RAST Celebrated its 60th Anniversary and Held 2023 AGM in Saraburi Province

Champ C. Muangamphun, E21EIC

Welcome readers to April; the hottest month of the year in Thailand. The temperature this year has reached an astonishing level of 44 degrees Celsius. As per usual, the whole country celebrates the Thai New Year “Songkran” with music and water fights to help make the heat bearable.

Songkran Day lands on the 13th April of every year. The word “Songkran” originated from Sanskrit which means to shift or move, signifying the change of the Sun from one zodiac to the next. This ineffectively means that in Sanskrit, Songkran is happening every month. However, for Thai people, Songkran correlates to when the Sun moves from Pisces to Aries, calling it Maha Songkran or Great Songkran, to mark the new Solar calendar. Nowadays, the Songkran ceremony has evolved to become a 3-day national celebration whereby the 13th is called the Maha Songkran Day, 14th is Wan Nao Day, and 15th is Thaloengsok Day.

In the past, Songkran Day coincided with the end of the harvest season for farmers. People in ancient times thought of organising some activities as a way to relax after a long day of work, to provide opportunities for young people to meet and play with water in order to gain some relief from the heat. Many of the traditional values such as using water as the symbolic element to counteract the summer heat is still use, for example, water is gently poured on to buddha as this is believed to bring luck and good fortune to the start of the new year, it is also poured by the youngsters on to the hands of the elderly as an act of love and respect, and in return the elders provided them with blessings. As time progress, the Songkran festival provided opportunities for Thais to return to their home village for a big family reunification. Youngsters mostly enjoy taking part in water fights using garden hose, water bowls, and water guns whether its on the street, from the back of the motorcycle, tuk-tuk, or pick-up trucks. The beauty of the Songkran traditions draws much attraction from around the world, and the values of kindness, respect, and gratitude that Songkran represents should be safeguarded.

RAST 60th Anniversary Celebration and 2023 Annual General Meeting

The Radio Amateur Society of Thailand under the Royal Patronage of His Majesty the King (RAST) hosted a party to celebrate its 60th Anniversary on 1-3 March 2024 at Mafai Campground, in Kaeng Khoi District, Saraburi Province. RAST also conducted its 2023 Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 2nd March from noon onwards where a new RAST President and Committee were selected for the next two years.

Figure 1. Atmosphere from the RAST 2023 Annual General Meeting on 2nd March 2024 and the election for 2024-2026 committee

The schedule for Saturday 2nd March 2024 was as follow:

Figure 2. Dr Rangsan Tongta (HS4HF) gave a lecture about Smith Chart and Network Analyzer

During the AGM there was also the approval of the minutes from RAST 2022 AGM, a report on activities of the society during 2023, financial statements for 2023 and matters for consideration, along with the appointment of an annual auditor for the society.

Figure 3. HS2PBB and E2ØQVD from NBTC giving a talk about “The Consequences of not renewing an amateur radio licence that most people don't know about”, hosted by HS6MYW

The summary of RAST activities in 2023 were as follow:

Figure 4. Pictures from RAST 2023 AGM meeting
(Top Left) HS1JZT (Bottom Left, L-R) E21LLR, HS1FVL (Top Right, L-R) HSØKRM, E25KFR (Bottom Right) E25AFQ

Figure 5. A summary of RAST QSL Bureau Report from 2008 – 2023

Figure 6. Design of HS6ØRAST QSL Card

RAST activated HS6ØRAST special callsign to celebrate the 60th Anniversary between 10 February 2024 to 10 March 2024. Operators included E20AX (by E21EIC and JJ1DQR), E21AZ (by E25VMO), E27AM (by E25CRF), E28AC (by E20MDN), E28AM (by HS5NMF), E20EHQ, E20GMY, E22FEQ, E22FFJ, E22UYH, E23NEZ, E25ETT, E27CLF, E27EK, HS0EDP, HS1BJP, HS1OLQ, HS2KWO, HS3OY and HS6MYW QSL via HS6MYW and LoTW.

Figure 7. Dr Jakkree (Jack) Hantongkom, HS1FVL, won the election again as President for the term 2024-2026

Dr Jakkree (Jack) Hantongkom, HS1FVL, was once again re-elected as RAST President for the next 2 years. For 2024, he set out RAST objectives as follow:

  • • To organize RAST's 60th anniversary event and activate HS60RAST special callsign;
  • • To host the Annual General Meeting;
  • • To organize US FCC amateur radio examinations;
  • • To collaborate with educational institutions and organize Thai amateur radio examinations in all 3 license classes including Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced;
  • • Offer training for intermediate class amateur radio operators to learn the rules, regulations, etiquette and to practice transmitting skills under the project known as "HF101";
  • • To organize activities to honour His Majesty the King for the 6th cycle according to NBTC policy under the special callsign HS72KING;
  • • To spread knowledge about satellite communications to youths and educational institutions;
  • • To receive and send QSL Cards;
  • • To coordinate with various member countries in the IARU in all regions;
  • • To organize activities to support members who are participating in various contests;
  • • To draft the updated Thai amateur radio regulations and to provide them to the NBTC;
  • • To conduct RAST on the Beach (ROB) activities and transmitting activities from remote locations;
  • • To encourage and support any organizations, either public or private, to do exercises or training activities involving RF communications and amateur radio;
  • • To conduct certification inspections, set-ups, and to review amateur radio club stations;
  • • To host meetings and gatherings of RAST members.

Once again, many congratulations to Dr Jack HS1FVL who was re-elected as RAST President for 2024-2026.

Thank you for the wonderful pictures provided by E21SNN, HS4HF, and HS7QNC.

Figure 8. E24RBU receives the top lucky draw price the ICOM IC-9700 from Mr Noparnant Jira HSØJSB, director of G. Simon Radio Co., Ltd, the ICOM distributor in Thailand and SE Asia

Figure 9. Atmosphere from the RAST 60th Anniversary during 1-3 March 2024

Figure 10. Atmosphere from the RAST 60th Anniversary during 1-3 March 2024

Figure 11. Atmosphere from the RAST 60th Anniversary during 1-3 March 2024

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