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Report from Thailand

RAST & G. SIMON BALLOON FESTIVAL 2020 "E2ICOM"

Champ C Muangamphun, E21EIC


One of the exciting events to welcome the winter chills in the Northern part of Thailand, is a particular event specially organised by the Radio Amateur Society of Thailand (RAST) under the Royal Patronage of His Majesty the King, in partnership with G. Simon Radio Co., Ltd., to celebrate their 65 years of success as the official dealer of ICOM here in the Land of Smile.


(left) HS5NMF and E23NHL installing the antenna/ (right) Antennas setup

The Balloon Festival 2020 took place at San Sai District in Chiang Mai on 27th November 2020. Thailand's radio regulator, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), granted a special E2ICOM callsign for this event, and many VHF contacts were made from high up in the air. A group of HAM enthusiasts who travelled from all over the country took turns to board the balloon and operate the radio. It was truly a festive occasion.


(left) Jack, HS1FVL president of RAST with ICOM PR/ (right) The second balloon is getting ready

At this event, RAST also brought along an HF Portable Station developed by E23NEZ to demonstrate its potential to operate under emergency conditions. HAM members in the Northern provinces got to roll up their sleeves and had a go at operating the HF bands in both SSB and satellite modes to further their interests and understandings.


Noparnant Jira, HS0JSB, the Big Boss of G. Simon Radio Co., Ltd. together with ICOM PR boarding the balloon.

The festival attracted many HAMs especially from the northern provinces as well as several officials from the NBTC, and everybody got their chances to board the balloon and take in the beautiful skyline view of San Sai District in Chiang Mai.


E2ICOM balloon lifts off


Night time scene at the Balloon Festival 2020 in San Sai District, Chiang Mai, with VHF operation from the balloon.

In addition, RAST also took the opportunity to use E2ICOM special callsign in the CQWW DX Contest CW during 28 to 29 of November 2020, and made over 1,500 QSOs.


Jack, HS1FVL presents HF Radio to local hams


E2ICOM QSL Card

This Balloon Festival 2020, hosted by RAST in partnership with G. Simon Radio Co., Ltd., was the first of such events in Thailand where radio contacts were made from the balloon. It was a very memorable and an eye-catching event, definitely one to draw the crowds and bring more attention to amateur radio. It also helped to stimulate more activities in the VHF bands and provide the opportunity for HAMs to exchange QSL cards with the special callsign E2ICOM. We hope that there will be many more of such special events to come.

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