Amateur Radio Club Launched in Myanmar
April 18th is designated by the IARU (International Amateur Radio Union) as ‘World Amateur Radio Day’. On April 18th 2013, an auspicious and historic event in amateur radio history has taken place in the country of Myanmar – formerly known as Burma.
On this day, a national amateur radio club has been established, with membership open to both Myanmar citizens and foreigners who are living or working in the country.
The new group ‘Myanmar Amateur Radio Club’, aims to represent the interest of all who are interested in the re-introduction of amateur radio in Myanmar, and will encourage the Ministry of Communications & IT to issue amateur radio licences to qualified individuals, who will operate their equipment in strict accordance with the Laws of Myanmar, and following the guidelines and band plans, as issued by the IARU and the Region 3 (Asia) zone of the IARU.
The motto of the new club is ‘Friendship & Knowledge Through Amateur Radio’.
Amateur radio has a long history in this country, and many Myanmar citizens and foreigners operated their equipment and established radio contact with other ‘hams’ throughout the world. In past years, amateur radio was discouraged, and the country’s national radio organization, the Burma Amateur Radio Transmitting Society (BARTS) was disbanded.
Happily, recent events in this country have placed Myanmar on the world stage, as a sought-after destination for both tourists and companies keen to invest in the country. Myanmar has many problems to overcome, including that of poor education and lack of skilled citizens. Amateur radio can play an important role in the encouragement of young students to study technical and vocational courses in electronics, computing and telecommunications – and their improved skill levels will benefit the country in the coming years.
Myanmar has also suffered greatly due to natural disasters, such as Cyclone Nargis, which killed many thousands of people and destroyed homes and businesses. It is very fitting that the theme of World Amateur Radio Day for 2013 is 'Amateur Radio: Entering Its Second Century of Disaster Communications'. Amateur radio can provide radio communications services when normal lines of communication are rendered inoperable by the disaster.
The re-introduction of amateur radio into Myanmar is being spearheaded by Simon Luttrell, a British radio amateur who moved to live and work in Myanmar in early 2012 with the sole purpose of peacefully lobbying the Myanmar authorities to authorize the use of amateur radio equipment, for the benefit of the country and its citizens. He was issued the call-sign XZ1K in May 2012, but for use only in a southern state of the country.
The club’s web-site is at: http://www.myradioclub.org