Amateur radio has a long history in Thailand
The history of the Radio Amateur Society of Thailand under the Patronage of His Majesty the King (RAST) dates back more than 50 years and can be distilled into two distinct eras.
The first 23 years (1964 – 1987) were a struggle grounded in its members’ sincere belief in the merits of the hobby of amateur radio and in their determination to practice it as and when they could to demonstrate the benefits — and, of course, to enjoy the experimentation and the on-air operating aspects.
But in those days most of the efforts of RAST’s officers were conducted behind the scenes as they worked for the acceptance and the ultimate legalisation of the hobby.
This was achieved — with spectacular success — in late 1987 and the second phase began in January 1988 following the enactment of amateur radio regulations.
Suddenly, an activity that until then had arguably been pursued by only a privileged few — those who had been exposed to amateur radio abroad or those with high-level connections — became accessible to any Thai who was interested and who cared to study for and pass the technical exam.
Amateur radio activity then exploded in Thailand and so RAST went into “activity mode”.
But let’s look back further. International amateur radio activities in Thailand date back more than 85 years, as the 1927 International Radio Amateur Callbook illustrates by listing two amateur radio stations based in Thailand, when the country was called Siam.
These stations were HS1BK at the Royal Siamese Navy Experimental Station and HS1HH, assigned to the Radio Section of the Siamese Post Office and both had addresses in Bangkok.
Other records of amateur radio activity in HS going back over the years include old QSL cards which confirm QSOs of long ago and copies of correspondence between radio amateurs in Thailand and the authorities here.
Radio Amateur Society of Thailand records include a QSL card for a “nice QSO” some 80 years ago between Sangiem Powtongsook, operating HS1PJ, and Swiss station HB9AT which delivered a 589 signal to HS1PJ’s 11-valve ACR-175 superhet receiver in 1936.
Some 27 years after that contact, Sangiem was to become one of the co-founders of the Radio Amateur Society of Thailand (RAST), and be the society’s first president, according to a document in RAST’s hands entitled “Proceeding of the Society,” dated August 26, 1963.
This QSL card, which confirms a QSO on 14.2 MHz that took place at 17.10 GMT on September 5, 1936, is clear evidence of how Thai nationals were pioneering amateur radio communications here a long time before the establishment of any formal amateur radio society in the country or even before there were any regulations to allow for the activity…..READ MORE
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