AMATEUR RADIO LICENSING IN THAILAND
Updated July 22, 2008
The RAST office has been receiving a large number of detailed queries about reciprocal licensing. The staff in the RAST office are volunteers whose job is mainly secretarial so we ask that you read the requirements below closely before submitting your documents to the RAST office.
THE LICENSING AUTHORITY
The responsible body for supervising amateur radio licensing and operations in Thailand is the secretariat of the National Telecommunications Commission (formerly the Post and Telegraph Department), located at offices on Soi Sailom (Phaholyothin Soi 8). Thailand is a sovereign country in Asia and has a unique and detailed licensing system enshrined in the laws of the Royal Thai Government.
Thailand is a member of the International Telecommunications Union and seeks bilateral diplomatic agreements with individual countries that are prepared to make reciprocal arrangements for their citizens to operate amateur radio.
Thailand recently applied to join the CEPT licensing scheme, however details of its participation have yet to be finalised and the transition in the administration of telecommunications policies and administration from the Post and Telegraph to the National Telecommunications Commission have introduced delays.
As such, bilateral reciprocal agreements between half a dozen or so countries are the basis for nationals of these countries (see below) to obtain an amateur radio licence in Thailand.
RAST can provide information regarding the detailed nature of these reciprocal agreements and to facilitate contact with the authorities.
RADIO AMATEUR SOCIETY OF THAILAND
(Under the Royal Patronage of His Majesty the King)
RAST is the national amateur radio society of Thailand, and a member society of the International Amateur Radio Union Region 3. RAST is entrusted by the authorities to screen applicants and issue a letter of support for foreign licence applications and to formally register the application in accordance with government regulations.
Meetings are held on the first Sunday of every month from 11 a.m. onwards at the Sena Place, 17 Phaholyothin Soi 11, (Soi Senaruam), Bangkok, 10100, Telephone + 66 (0)2 271 4410 and 271 4424-8. (Please consult this web site for any changes to the date or location of our monthly meeting.)
Please note that RAST is an entirely voluntary organisation, with no paid staff. Therefore RAST cannot undertake to process individual licences or permits for members beyond giving advice and providing supporting documentation.
The RAST Club Station HS0AC
The RAST Club Station is HS0AC at the Asian Institute of Technology; about a 20-minutes drive north of Don Muang Airport in Bangkok. The HS0AC Station Manager is Finn Jensen, OZ1HET.
AMATEUR RADIO LICENSING
For foreigners, two forms of operating "modes" currently exist:
Reciprocal, with own licence and callsign, and with a RAST club station HS0AC guest permit.
These are described in detail below.
For those qualifying, an operator's licence may be issued as either:
Intermediate: (HF and VHF) HF bands (see bandplan for details), VHF is 2 metres only, and receive only on 430 MHz
Novice: (144-146 MHz) only
In addition to the operator's licence, you will need an equipment licence for each transceiver, and a station licence if you want to operate from home or your rented accommodation. These three licences are described in more detail below.
Thailand has concluded Reciprocal Agreements with the following countries:
Luxembourg (info for Thais to get a LX call)
If you are a citizen of one of these countries, and you are planning to live and/or work in Thailand, or if your business takes you there regularly, you can apply for a reciprocal operating licence. You must be licensed in your home country. You may be able to obtain a Thai licence and call sign providing equivalent privileges, depending on the particular agreement. A reciprocal licensee is normally issued with a call sign in the series HS0Zxx and the licence lasts for five years and is renewable.
Please Join RAST
For general information on the licensing process you can contact RAST (see below) who can give guidance and latest information. If you decide to apply for a licence it is strongly recommended that you become a member of RAST in which case more detailed information can be given to help you, including a supporting letter. (Please see information elsewhere on the web site on how to become a member).
The NTC does not deal with licence applications from overseas by post; personal visits have to be made to the their office in Bangkok. Application forms can be obtained from the NTC, or from the RAST Special Activities Manager. You will also need two passport-sized photographs, a copy of your home country amateur radio licence, and photocopies of your Thai visa and the personal information page of your passport.
It is important that your visa period allows for at least three weeks' processing time for the licence before your period of operation. If you are planning to import equipment and operate from your own location further permits are needed and it may take up to three months. It is recommended that you have at least a three-month visa in your passport. The operating licence fee is 200 baht (plus stamp duty) (approx 6 USD), with similar charges for renewals.
If you have a Thai friend or amateur who is willing to visit the PTD for you to process your licence and permits, you can obtain and complete a ``proxy form'' from the same office. If you decide to delegate your responsibility to another person in this way, RAST cannot accept any responsibility for the outcome, and will not investigate any problems that may arise.
RAST will check documents
If you decide to process the licence yourself and you are a RAST member we can check your documentation for you and give you advice and help but this will not normally extend to making visits to the PTD Office on your behalf. Normally, several visits to the PTD are necessary to secure your operating licence, and then your follow-on permits. For advice or help please contact the International Secretary directly and not the RAST office.
The following countries are believed to be either preparing or are in the process of submitting diplomatic requests for a reciprocal licence with Thailand.
RAST GUEST PERMIT
The Radio Amateur Society of Thailand (RAST) has been granted a concession to permit visiting licensed amateurs, as guests of RAST, to operate the RAST club station HS0AC for a limited period without the need to get advance permission from the PTD. You should contact Winit Kongprasert, HS0AC station manager by email at hs1ckc(AT)yahoo.com for further details about this.
BRINGING EQUIPMENT TO THAILAND
Important!! Do not bring your own equipment to Thailand without first obtaining an import permit. This applies to all transceivers, even handhelds. It is illegal to possess such equipment in Thailand without having proper documentation from Thai authorities. Even if you have a valid amateur radio operating licence in Thailand, you need an import permit for transceivers, NTC inspection, registration, and equipment licence before it can be used. It can only be used at a location that has a station licence.
THE OPERATING LICENCE
This is the licence to obtain if you qualify and the one that grants the call sign. Usually this is in the form HS0Zxx for a reciprocal licence. A few exceptional cases exist of the HS0/home call series, but are not now being issued. This licence has to be obtained before applying for an import permit, equipment licence, and station licence.
This operator licence can only be used at a location with a station licence, using transceivers with an equipment licence assigned to that station. However it therefore allows a visitor to operate from another licensed amateurs' station. The practice in Thailand is to use the operators' no matter which station he or she is operating from. An amateur with an operator licence can also operate from a licensed Club Station.
THE RECIPROCAL LICENCE
The five big steps:
Decide if you can do it!
Decide if you are eligible for a reciprocal licence by reading this document carefully. If you are unsure contact the RAST Special Activities manager (N9WMS(AT)hotmail.com), not the RAST Office.
Obtain application forms
Obtain the application forms in person from the Post Telegraph Department (PTD), Amateur Radio Licensing Department, or by Email, or Snail Mail from the RAST Special Activities manager (N9WMS(AT)hotmail.com).
Complete (fill in) the application forms
Normally the following forms are supplied by RAST as a set:
A list of documents required
An application form in English Language
An application form in Thai Language
A proxy form to appoint a Thai citizen to process the licence on your behalf.
Send your completed forms to the RAST Secretary or Special Activities Manager.
They will be checked and screened because you will need a supporting letter from RAST. If you are already a RAST member this speeds the process up since members will probably already know you. Otherwise there could be a short delay while you are ``screened''. This is nothing sinister, but we do have to verify your credentials and that you are a responsible person. It also helps if you can advise the RAST Secretary or Special Activities Manager of your intended date to submit documents and apply for a supporting letter, so that preparations can be made before your visit to the RAST office.
After checking and screening the documents will be returned to you.
Take your forms to the RAST Office and register your application
Take the forms to the RAST office and formally register your application. This is a Government requirement, and you will be given a copy of the registration form to submit with your application. This service is given free of charge by RAST. It is also possible to process an application registration at a table in the canteen at the NTC office, this service is also provided free of charge by the Volunteer Radio Association (VRA).
Obtain your Supporting Letter
You will need your supporting letter from RAST. Before visiting the RAST office you need to have your documents checked and screened.
Please Join RAST!
If you would like to join RAST and this is highly recommended so that you can keep abreast of licensing requirements etc. foreigners normally take out a life membership which is 2,100 baht (about USD$64 as of July 2008), or if it is a short-term visit the dues are 300 baht for annual membership. Please check elsewhere on the web site or with the International Secretary for details of how to join RAST.
Bring your prepared documents
The following documents are needed for your Reciprocal Operating Licence application:
Photocopy of your passport information page, also showing your visa and arrival date stamp.
Visa. (Important - You are applying for a five year licence therefore it is expected that you will be working, living, or regularly visiting Thailand over a reasonable period. For your initial visit on which you apply for a licence you should have at least a 90 day visa obtained in advance outside Thailand. A 30-day, visa on arrival is not regarded as acceptable as a basis for obtaining this licence).
Photocopy of your home operator licence.
Passport photos 1'' x 1'' not wearing dark glasses or a hat.
RAST membership number or bring application form completed
Letter of support from RAST (can be obtained on arrival, free of charge if you are a member of RAST).
A completed application registration form
Certificate of reason to be in Thailand
- If resident in Thailand on grounds of marriage, please bring a copy of your marriage registration certificate, and a copy of a name change certificate if this applies.
- If you are applying on grounds of working in Thailand you should provide a copy of your work permit and/or a letter from your office or company certifying that you are required to work in Thailand on a regular basis.
- If you are retiring or retired in Thailand you should be prepared to show immigration documents or other evidence of this.
- If you will be regularly visiting or staying in Thailand for any other reason, you will need to provide substantive evidence in the form of a letter of certification from a professional person or organisation
- RAST ADVICE: You should provide if possible a simple single document certifying your status in Thailand.
200 baht (plus stamp duty) for the licence.
Take your documents to the NTC secretariat (formerly the PTD)
Take all of your documents in person to the Amateur Radio Licensing Section of the Post Telegraph Department, and submit them. If your application is in order they will normally ask you to collect the licence from their office within a few days.
THE EQUIPMENT LICENCE
The next stage would be to request an equipment importation permit or to purchase a registered transceiver in Thailand from another amateur, or to purchase VHF equipment from a shop in Thailand
Then a licence to use the equipment is required. This requires submission of the transceiver for testing and inspection by the PTD staff, accompanied by customs clearance documentation, if it is imported.
It helps if you are importing a transceiver, which has already been approved by PTD, and RAST keeps an approved rig list on this web site. A wide range of VHF equipment is approved, a list would be too unwieldy to maintain. However bear in mind that the legal power output on 2 metres is 10 watts. The legal power output for HF is 200 watts. VHF equipment is widely stocked in Bangkok amateur radio shops and prices are reasonable. The shopkeeper will usually process the equipment licence for you as part of the purchase as long as you have your operator licence.
Even if the rig is on the approved list, it has to be submitted along with the manufacturer's specification, and appropriate customs processing documentation, and the importation documentation. The rig is then checked against the specification. If approved a registration label is affixed to the rig.
An import licence can be requested from the PTD, after your operating licence has been issued and when you have identified the transceiver, which you desire to import.
This requires an application form to be filled in, and submitted with details of the proposed transceiver, which is to be imported. I.e. Detailed specification in the English language, diagrams, operating and servicing handbook if possible. The rig can then be imported, and processed through the Customs Department then taken to PTD where it will be inspected and tested. A registration label will be stuck on the rig. A ``licence to use'' (equipment licence) will be issued, if it complies with the specification submitted earlier. Please note, that if it is proposed to import a transceiver it will facilitate the process if the frequency coverage complies with frequency bands allocated in Thailand. Please see the frequency band schedule shown on this web site.
Note: There is an involved procedure in getting any transceiver added to the approved list and a possible high "first listing" cost. It is impossible, today, to import a transceiver that operates on bands not approved by the NTC.
THE STATION LICENCE
The final steps if you want to operate from your home or temporary accommodations are:
Obtain an application form from PTD
Take a copy of your operator licence (card) + equipment licence to use the registered transceiver.
Obtain a written permission from the owner of the accommodation that amateur radio installation and operation including antennas is permitted on the premises by you. (If possible in Thai and English Language)
Copy of the identity card (ID) of the owner of the accommodation
Copy of the house registration certificate of the owner of the house
Address of home station
A detailed map showing the location of the house/apartment within the locality.
GUEST OPERATION OF HS0AC
The Radio Amateur Society of Thailand (RAST) holds a concession from the Post Telegraph Department to allow suitably qualified foreign guests to operate the HS0AC RAST Club Station. The guest does not need a Thai operator licence, nor an equipment or station licence.
The purpose of the concession to RAST is to provide an opportunity for short-term visitors (Guests of RAST or amateurs on Royal Thai Government business) to operate the club station on an occasional basis to share the experience of amateur radio operation from a DX location.
Foreign amateurs have donated most of the equipment at the station, since HF equipment is not readily available in Thailand. The price of equipment that is available is relatively high and beyond the financial reach of many Thai amateurs. The running and repair costs are a significant burden for RAST. Therefore you are asked to take good care of the equipment and furniture.
Guest operators must use the call sign HS0AC, but may mention ``operated by own call-sign'' or use ``HS0AC/own call-sign. Example - use HS0AC or HS0AC/G3NOM. QSLs for HS0AC can be received or sent via the Thailand QSL bureau or via the QSL Manager E21EIC (Champ). Please don't mention any other QSL arrangements or it may cause confusion. RAST will answer incoming QSL requirements for contacts made by guest operators.
A computer log is preferred. If a paper log is used, the guest operator must arrange to get this entered into a computer text file (ASCII) within a reasonable time. An appropriate contribution to QSL costs would be appreciated.
Guests are requested to communicate on the air mainly in English or Thai Language, particularly when giving call signs. If another language is used, please ensure that you begin and end each transmission with the HS0AC call sign in English Language. This is to facilitate Post Telegraph Department and RAST monitoring of operations.
The station is not normally open or staffed, for casual unannounced visits, arrangements for access have to be made through the station manager in advance. Access is subject to the availability of the Station Manager, and his assistants, who sometimes have other commitments, such as employment, family, and domestic affairs. Every attempt will be made to meet your convenience. There is a good hotel within easy walking distance of the HS0AC station, if needed, and there are a number of food concessions on the AIT campus.
Foreign Guest operators must not operate from HS0AC without a written permit from the Station Manager.
If you require further information or clarification please contact the station manager Finn Jensen (OZ1HET(AT)yahoo.com)or deputy station manager Winit Kongprasert (HS1CKC(AT)Yahoo.com)
ADDRESSES AND CONTACT INFORMATION
RAST PRESIDENT AND OFFICE
The President of RAST is Chaiyong Wongwuticomjon (HS1QVD)
Address for Correspondence
PO Box 2008
RAST HS0AC STATION MANAGER
(same postal address as above)
NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION SECRETARIAT
Amateur Radio Licensing Department
National Telecommunications Commission Secretariat
Telephone Number 02 278 0151 (General Inquiries)
The licensing Section is in the 2-storey building on the left just past the restaurant.