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A brief profile:
The Radio Amateur Society of Thailand under the patronage of His Majesty the King (RAST)
The Radio Amateur Society of Thailand under the Patronage of His Majesty the King was founded in 1964 by a group of pioneering Thai amateur radio operators with the support of expatriate amateur radio operators who were resident in the country then.
At the time of the society's founding, amateur radio was not an activity that had been authorised by the Thai government and for the first 23 years of the society its presidents, officers and members worked hard to win the acceptance and recognition of amateur radio by Thai government agencies responsible for communications and national security at the time.
This was achieved by operating on the HF bands from amateur radio club stations, contest stations and from special event demonstration stations, by lobbying and meeting with officials of government agencies including the National Security Council, the Ministry of Communications and the Post and Telegraph Department which was responsible for amateur radio at the time.
These efforts paid off and in late 1987 Thailand's amateur radio regulations were drafted and announced before being enacted in January 1988 after which amateur radio was open to everyone with an interest in the activity and today RAST has over 700 members, the majority of whom are life members.
RAST also sought and became a member of the International Amateur Radio Union Region 3 in 1969 and hosted the IARU Region 3 Conference in Bangkok in 1978. The society has also hosted other international amateur radio conventions such as the annual Southeast Asia Network (SEANET) Conventions that began in Penang in 1971 with the society being the host of nine of these events so far -- and RAST will become the host for the 10th time this coming November (2016) when the event will be staged in Pattaya, a resort on the Gulf of Thailand.
Shortly after amateur radio was legalised in August 1989 officers of RAST attended a ceremony at Chitrlada Palace when His Majesty King Bhumibhol Adulyadej was presented with an amateur radio licence bearing the callsign HS1A and, some five years later, the King bestowed a high honour on RAST by placing the society under his patronage in November 1994.
RAST is administered by a President, who is elected for a two-year term, and a team of committee members who are both elected and appointed and the society manages two websites, one in the English-language (http://www.qsl.net/rast/) and the other in the Thai-language (http://www.rast.or.th/). Extensive information about the society and of the history of amateur radio in Thailand can be found on both of these websites, along with the names of the society's President and its officers. Currently, presiding over the society for a second term is Jakkree (Jack) Hantongkom, HS1FVL.
The society is actively involved in many activities including ground-breaking work to launch a CubeSat for amateur radio communications by a team led by Tanan Rangseeprom, HS1JAN, along with ballooning activities that have helped to pioneer or test some of the technologies being used in the satellite which is now under construction. This project, known as JAISAT-1 (short for "the Joint Academy for Intelligent Satellites for Amateur Radio of Thailand") is being funded by the NBTC's Broadcasting and Telecommunications Research and Development Fund for the Public Interest (BTFP) to the tune of 9.3 million baht.
RAST also operates a club station using the callsign HS0AC at the Asian Institute of Technology to the north of Bangkok which is active in contests and other special on-air events while the society also participates in the triennial IARU Region 3 conventions and in the annual SEANET conventions which are held around the region. For the past few years RAST has also had booths at Europe's largest annual amateur radio convention in Friedrichshafen, Germany and at the Tokyo Ham Fair hosted by the Japan Amateur Radio League (JARL).
Closer to home, this year RAST helped Thailand's regulator, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), by conducting the country's first Advanced Class amateur radio examination in June, 2016 and the society also helped conduct intermediate class exams prior to that.
The society also conducts regular US FCC VEC (volunteer examiner) examinations in several locations around the country for both Thai and expatriate hams who are seeking a US licence and callsign, with this activity being led by RAST Secretary Chalermphol Muangamphan, E21EIC.
The society holds monthly meetings on the first Sunday of every month at Sena Place Hotel in the northern suburbs of Bangkok from 11 a.m. onwards and during which a buffet lunch is available.
After the lunch, the RAST President provides everyone present up-to-date regarding amateur radio activities in Thailand.
The society is a non-profit organisation and qualifies as a charitable entity pursuant to a Thai Ministry of Finance declaration.
For a history of amateur radio in Thailand and RAST's role, please click here
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