Info On Belize

Where is Belize?

Belize is located in the Northern Hemisphere, within Central America.  It is in CQ Zone 7.  It is approximately 1250 miles from my QTH here in North Texas.

Belize is bounded on the North by Mexico, South and West by Guatemala, and the beautiful Caribbean Sea washes its 174 mile coastline to the East.  It is just down the Yucatan coast from Cancun/Cozumel.

Geographically it's located between 15 52' 9" and 18 29' 55" North Latitude, and 87 28" and 89 13' 67" West Longitude with an area of 8,866 sq. miles including 266 sq. miles of islands.

I will be operating in Placencia, which is in the Stann Creek District in southern Belize and Grid Square EK-56


Why Belize?

Well, it has been 9 years since my last trip involving radio (Thailand in 1995) and almost 14 years since my last full DXpedition (ZF2TG in 1992).  Work, not being single anymore and other things have prevented me from taking any big trips for the last several years. Things have been very hectic lately and I need nothing more to lay on a beach, fish and just generally get some intense R&R.  I searched the web for places to go and thought about going to the Caymans or Florida.  I then happened upon Belize.  Beautiful beaches, great fishing, wildlife and Mayan historical ruins attracted me-plus I've never been there before.  I then found the website of V31MD and his Palmetto Place Guesthouse.   Bob has a guesthouse with a complete ham station right next to a beach resort in an area known to have great fishing and close to rainforests and Mayan ruins!!  I quickly booked the place and worked with the Public Utilities Commission in Belize City over the phone/fax and e-mail to fill out the proper licensing forms and was assigned the callsign V31RR. 

Here's a Great Description of Belize from it's embassy's website:

Physical Features:
Belize (formerly British Honduras until the name of the country was changed in 1973) lies on the eastern or Caribbean coast of Central America, bounded on the north and part of the west by Mexico, and on the south and the remainder of the west by Guatemala. The inner coastal waters are shallow and are sheltered by a line of coral reefs, dotted with islets called 'cayes', extending almost the entire length of the country.

There is a low coastal plain, much of it covered with mangrove swamp, but the land rises gradually towards the interior. The Maya Mountains and the Cockscomb Range form the backbone of the southern half of the country, the highest point being Doyle's Delight (1124 meters above sea level) in the Cockscomb Range. The Cayo District in the west includes the Mountain Pine Ridge, ranging from 305 to around 914 metres above sea level. The northern districts contain considerable areas of tableland. There are many rivers, some of them navigable for short distances by shallow-draught vessels. A large part of the mainland is forest.

Today Belize's population is estimated to be at approximately 273,700. The country is a melting pot of many races and over the years the muliti-racial make-up has risen through the influx of many people of Central America, Asia, Europe and the Caribbean. Males outnumber the female population only by 1%.

The population census shows that the main ethnic groups: Mestizo, Creole, Ketchi, Yucatec and Mopan Mayas, Garifuna and East Indian maintains a large percent of Belize's population. Other ethnic groups: German and Dutch Mennonites, Chinese, Arabs and Africans accounts for a small percentage of the population. The ethnic groups, however, are heavily intermixed.

English is the official language of Belize. However, English Creole is widely spoken and remains a distinctive part of everyday conversations for most Belizeans. Spanish is also common and is taught in primary and secondary schools in order to further develop bi-lingualism.

Spanish is spoken as a mother tongue by the majority of the people in the Orange Walk and Corozal Districts, north of Belize and the Cayo District in the west, In the southern Districts: Stann Creek and Toledo, there are people whose first language is Garifuna or Maya.

Belmopan is the capital of the country. Built in 1970, it is the seat of Government and has been classified as the Garden City of the country. It was created following extensive damage to the former capital Belize City, caused by Hurricane Hattie in 1961. Belmopan is geographically located at the centre of the country, some 80 kilometers to the south-west of Belize City on higher ground. It serves as a hurricane refuge for Belizeans and has the largest number of hurricane shelters in the country. Its population today is estimated at 11,100 and is increasing as more people relocate to the Capital. However, Belize City still remains the hub of commercial activity and one of the most urbanized centers of Belize with a population of 58,000 people.

For more information on Belize, check out these great links: