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Report from Thailand


Champ C. Muangamphun, E21EIC

Over the past 3 years, COVID-19 has caused the delay and cancellation of many HAM conventions to curb the spread of infection. As the severity of the disease seems to have subsided over time, together with an increase number of the people getting vaccinated, different countries have already begun to ease their restrictions. JARL had to cancel their Tokyo Ham Fair for 2 consecutive years in 2020 and 2021, but finally managed to get the all-clear to organise the largest Ham Fair in Asia once again in 2022 to the delight of everybody.

Following our travel to Friedrichshafen Ham Fair on 24th–26th June 2022 in Germany, our team consisting of Bun E25KAE, JC E2ØNKB, and Champ E21EIC planned to travel to Japan to attend the JARL Ham Fair 2022 between 17th and 26th August 2022. The Foundation for Global Children (FGC)/SEISA Group founded by Zorro Miyazawa, JH1AJT (SK) kindly extended their support by helping to organise business visas for us at a time when Japan’s border control remained very strict, and we would like to give special thanks to Yosuke Ishii and Hiroaki Ishida for their kind assistance.

Figure 1. Champ E21EIC, JC E2ØNKB, and Bun E25KAE arriving at Narita International Airport in Tokyo on 17th August 2022

We departed Bangkok on ANA flight NH-808 bound for Narita and had to submit a negative RT-PCR test before arrival via the Japanese government SOS app. The process of getting screened through COVID-19 procedures and making it pass the custom took approximately 2 hours.

Upon our arrival to Japan, we noticed straight away that COVID-19 still had some impact on the locals, notably the cancellation of many airport buses routes, the increase waiting time between difference buses and trains, and the closure of many shops at the airport which were all very understandable given that the country was pretty much closed to foreign visitors.

Figure 2. (L-R) The ribbon-cutting opening ceremony of JARL Ham Fair 2022 by Japan Amateur Radio Industries Association Chairman Kenichi Kojiyama JH3SED, Member of the House of Representatives Hirohiko Izumida 7K1KJK, JARL Chairman Yoshinori Takao JG1KTC, 18th IARU Region 3 Conference Chairman Bun Vichitcheep E25KAE, Japan Amateur Radio Development Association Chairman Tetsuya Miki JA1CIN.

In addition to reuniting with friends and being submerged in the wonderful world of Japanese arts and culture, one of our main objectives for this year’s visit was to set up a WRTC2022 booth together with other JA contesters including Jun JH4RHF, Saty JE1JKL(9M6NA), Don JH5GHM, Taro JA1BJI, and Yosuke JJ1DQR in order to raise monetary funds to support the World Radiosport Team Championship (WRTC) 2022 that is due to take place in Bologna, Italy, in July 2023. Two Thai HAMs who reside in Japan also helped us with the booth : Tong E22YHG and HS5JRH. We would like to thank JARL for generously providing us with the booth space, particularly Ken san JA1CJP. On this occasion, the organiser of the JARL Ham Fair 2022 also invited Ms Nattnee Bun Vichitcheep, E25KAE, who was the Chairman of the 18th IARU Region 3 Conference, to be the honorary guest and cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony.

Figure 3. (L-R) Volunteer Staff at WRTC2022 booth consisted of Champ E21EIC, Tong E22YHG, Yosuke JJ1DQR, JC E2ØNKB, Bun E25KAE, Saty JE1JKL(9M6NA), and Don JH5GHM

Figure 4. (L-R) Volunteer Staff at WRTC2022 booth consisted of Bun E25KAE, JC E2ØNKB, Champ E21EIC, Saty JE1JKL(9M6NA), Yosuke JJ1DQR, Tong E22YHG, Don JH5GHM, and Jun JH4RHF

Compounded by COVID-19 where the number of new cases in the country was surpassing 200k per day and the inability of foreign visitors to join the fair due to strict border measures, it was not surprising to see that this year’s fair was much smaller than the past. However, the warmth we received from meeting old friends again after 3 long years and only being able to contact each other via the radio was magical and more than made up for it.

Figure 5. Ken Yamamoto JA1CJP IARU Region 3 Chairman and Bun E25KAE at WRTC2022 booth

Figure 6. Exhibitor and visitor entrance tickets for JARL Ham Fair 2022 for WRTC2022 Volunteer Staff

There were many interesting booths at JARL Ham Fair but I would like to give special importance to FGC booth which held a memorial for Zorro Miyazawa, JH1AJT (SK), an incredibly inspiring individual who I had come to love and respect through our 10 years of working together. The passing of Zorro san also took with it what used to be the highlights of JARL Ham Fair, at least to me, which included the Japan International DX Meeting (JIDXM) and DX Forum, as well as the invitation that extend to many world-renowned DXers to join the Fair in Japan.

Figure 7 FGC/SEISA booth laid a tribute to Zorro Miyazawa, JH1AJT (SK) with books and photographs to show the legacy he left behind in the world of amateur radio world and beyond. (L-R) JC E2ØNKB, Champ E21EIC, Hiraaki Ishida, Bun E25KAE, and Yosuke Ishii.

The ICOM booth took the opportunity to introduce the new IC-905 (144MHz – 10GHz) transceiver and IC-PW2 to the world. Whilst our WRTC booth presented the history of WRTC to the passing crowds, gave everyone the opportunity to meet top JA contesters in the country, and raise some funds through donations and the selling of T-shirts, mugs, pins, bags and caps as souvenirs.

Figure 8. Champ with the new IC-905 at ICOM booth

Figure 9. (L-R) JC E2ØNKB, Champ E21EIC, Masaco JH1CBX, and Bun E25KAE at FB News booth

Figure 10. (L-R) Bun E25KAE, Kei JA1AKA, and JC E2ØNKB with QSL cards from Kei.

Figure 11. (L-R) Champ E21EIC, Miho JJ2VLY, JC E2ØNKB and Bun E25KAE

Figure 12. (L-R) JE1XTL with his son, and Bun E25KAE

Figure 13. (L-R) Champ E21EIC, Yoshi JK2VOC, and Masa JK1ANA

Figure 14. (L-R) Champ E21EIC and Koji JL3RDC

Figure 15. (L-R) Champ E21EIC and John WB6Z/JE1PTZ

Figure 16. (L-R) Yuki JH1NBN, Jun JH4RHF, Bun E25KAE, JC E2ØNKB, Harumi JR4OZR, Tong E22YHG, and Yosuke JJ1DQR

Figure 17. (L-R) Bun E25KAE, Naka JR6IKD, JC E2ØNKB, and Champ E21EIC

Figure 18. (L-R) Bun E25KAE, Nao JA1HGY, JC E2ØNKB, and Champ E21EIC

Figure 19. Champ E21EIC, Taro JA1BJI, and JC E2ØNKB

After the JARL Ham Fair, we spent 2 days in Tachikawa to activate our first ever Parks-on-the-Air (POTA) from Japan with Yosuke JJ1DQR and Hiro JS1WWR. We drove for 1h45mins from Tachikawa to Lake Okutama Hotori Park (JA-1828) which actually forms part of the Chichibu-Tama-Kai National Park (JA-0014). Hiro san JS1WWR has his POTA operation set up as a mobile station from his car, all equipped with IC-7300, laptop, headset, CW paddles, power generator, DC battery, numerous amounts of ferrites, and lots of homebrew antennas including multiple telescoping vertical ground planes for different bands and a 15m Delta loop. The set-up time was incredibly fast.

Figure 20. Activating POTA JA-1828 and JA-0014
on 40m band SSB by Bun JK1JVX from JS1WWR mobile station

Figure 21. Hiro JS1WWR getting the two telescoping rods ready for 15m Delta loop setup

Figure 22. Installing 15m Delta loop onto the car homebrew magnetic mount

Figure 23. Bun JK1JVX operating on 15m and 40m SSB and CW from Hiro JS1WWR mobile station

Figure 24. (L-R) Bun JK1JVX, Hiro JS1WWR, Yosuke JJ1DQR huddled together near the radio listening for callers

Figure 25. (L-R) Hiro JS1WWR, Yosuke JJ1DQR, JC JH1TEP, Bun JK1JVX, and Champ JH1TEQ with our JA callsigns printed on the back

Figure 26. (L-R) A group photo after the successful activation of JA-0014 and JA-1828 with Hiro JS1WWR, Yosuke JJ1DQR, JC JH1TEP, Bun JK1JVX, and Champ JH1TEQ

We were on air within 10mins after arrival. Champ E21EIC and Bun E25KAE took turns operating both CW and SSB. We were there for almost 2.5 hours between 0500 and 0730z, and made 66 QSOs in total – all with JA stations. All of us had a wonderful time travelling through the scenic route, and enjoyed ourselves being out in the open air with lush evergreen trees all around operating the HF radio with friends. Thank you Yosuke and Hiro san! We look forward to carrying on this POTA journey once we return to Thailand.

Figure 27. A visit to JQ1BVI contest station

On the second day, we were lucky enough to visit JQ1BVI contest station in Hachioji and were welcomed by Hiro JA1WSX and Gaku JQ1BVI. The four towers at 22mH stood looming above us as we entered the shack which can brave the hot and cold conditions of Japan. Along with all the stations set-up for multi-operators contests, the shack also has a small cosy sleeping corner for any contesters who needs a quick nap during the 48hr competition. Champ E21EIC operated on CW whilst Bun E25KAE worked on SSB. The two of us managed to make around 50 QSOs on 15m and 20m. We logged a few JA stations, and many HS hams from homeland. It was a great experience and a memorable end to our ham radio journey in Japan.

Figure 28. (L-R) Yosuke JJ1DQR, Bun E25KAE and Gaku JQ1BVI at JQ1BVI contest station

We spent the remaining two days doing some last-minute shopping in Akihabara for radio gears and Viva Home Toyosu for small tools for DIY projects before heading back to Bangkok on flight TG677. Japan will always have a place in hearts and we hope to be back there again for JARL Ham Fair 2023. Special thanks to Yosuke JJ1DQR for taking care of us.


Figure 29. (L-R) JC E2ØNKB, Bun E25KAE, and Champ E21EIC in Akihabara, Tokyo, outside Ham Radio shop

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