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Report from Thailand


Champ C. Muangamphun, E21EIC

JARL Ham Fair was held again for the second time in a row after the spread of COVID-19. This year the restriction measures were almost completely lifted and traveling to Japan has gotten much easier particularly for those coming from Thailand. Many more foreign visitors were able to make it to Tokyo compared to 2022. The slogan for this year was "Let's go for the new era of Amateur Radio!"

I originally did not planned to attend the Ham Fair this year due to other DX engagement, but because that trip was postponed by another 3 months in the last minute, I was able to make it to the JARL Ham Fair 2023.

Figure 1. (Lower left, L-R) Sam JE1XUZ, JC E20NKB, Champ E21EIC, Kuny 7L1FPU, Masa JH1DQA, Yuri JA1AQD, Moto JE1NDE, and Tomo JQ1OCR, (Lower right, L-R) Champ E21EIC, JC E20NKB, and Bun E25KAE.

My journey together with JC E20NKB started on Thursday 17th August 2023 via TG676, a direct flight from Bangkok to Narita International Airport, arriving in Tokyo at 15:30. Bun E25KAE took the overnight flight and joined us on Friday morning. On Friday afternoon the three of us ventured to Akihabara – a haven for HAM radio enthusiasts looking for gears and transceivers to upgrade their stations – where we amazingly bumped into Ray N9JA, Adrian KO8SCA and Andy 5Z4VJ! What a lovely surprise to see friends who all travelled from afar, all thinking the same thing, “We must hit the radio shops!”. Funnily enough, this all happened right in front of the big ICOM billboard so we could not resist taking a photo there of course.

Figure 2. Ham radio friends from DX-land gathered outside the radio shops in Akihabara. (Lower right, L-R) Champ E21EIC, Ray N9JA, JC E20NKB, Adrian KO8SCA, Andy 5Z4VJ, and Bun E25KAE.

Figure 3. (Top left, L-R) Adrian KO8SCA and Ray N9JA tried their hands at winning the bunny in the arcade shop.

The JARL Ham Fair 2023 was held on 19th-20th August 2023 at Tokyo Big Sight Exhibition in Hall 3 and Hall 4, in Ariake, Koto-ku. The weather was very hot – just like Bangkok! – as it was still summer time there. From JARL report, there were over 31,000 attendees on the first day, and 12,000 attendees on the second day, thus making a total combined number of 43,000 attendees. Many HAMs travelled from abroad including the US, Italy, India, Indonesia, Australia, Qatar, South Korea, Cambodia, Thai, New Zealand, Bangladesh, Philippines, Brazil, Poland, Malaysia, Netherlands and Kenya. Another special highlight this year was that the event was being livestreamed for the first time for those who were not able to be there through YouTube :

Figure 4. JARL Ham Fair 2023 at Tokyo Big Sight, (Lower right, L-R) E21EIC, E20NKB, JJ1DQR, and E25KAE.

The official Opening Ceremony on Saturday morning included the following honorary guests : President of Japan Amateur Radio Industries Association (JAIA) JH3SED Kenichi Kojiyama, President of International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) VE6SH Tim Ellam, President of JARL JA5SUD Koji Morita, President of Korean Amateur Radio League (KARL) HL4CFN Choi Hyeong Moon, and President of Japan Amateur Radio Development Association (JARD) JA1CIN Tetsuya Miki; and accompanied by JARL PR Ambassadors JH1CBX Masaco and JI1BTL Kaori Mita.

Figure 5. Opening Ceremony of the JARL Ham Fair 2023 in Tokyo (L-R), JARL PR Ambassadors JH1CBX Masaco, President of JAIA JH3SED Kenichi Kojiyama, President of IARU VE6SH Tim Ellam, President of JARL JA5SUD Koji Morita, President of KARL HL4CFN Choi Hyeong Moon, President of JARD JA1CIN Tetsuya Miki, and JARL PR Ambassadors JI1BTL Kaori Mita.

This year, we decided to help CWops booth at C-67. The booth was led by Ken JN1THL and other JA CWops members. The atmosphere in this year’s JARL Ham Fair 2023 was very upbeat and exciting. Even before entering the venue, there were huge queues even 2 hours after the Opening Ceremony with both JAs and foreign visitors alike, waiting in line to buy their entrance tickets into the fair. Lucky for the two YLs, JC E20NKB and Bun E25KAE, they were able to get in for free, as JARL aims to promote more interests in amateur radio amongst younger age groups and women.

Figure 6. (Top left) Tim VE6SH and Yosuke JJ1DQR, (Top right) Keith KG4DY, (Bottom left) Koji JL3RDC, Ken JN1THL, (Bottom right) Yoshi JK2VOC

Figure 7. (Top left) Mac JA3USA, Dr. Lee HL1IWD, (Top right) Li VR2IL, Logan VR2XRW, (Bottom left) Russel VK3EZ, E25VMO, (Bottom right) Andy 5Z4VJ

Figure 8. (Left and Top right) 2,466 QSL cards hand-carried from HS to Tokyo Ham Fair, (Bottom right) Ken JA1CJP

JARL had many activities going with the fair including DXCC card checking, QSL Bureau, DIY stations for children to build CW keyer and FM radio, scientific experimental stations for students, stamp hunting from various booths, membership renewal, and small presents for YLs and kids who attended the fair. In addition to JARL, two other national club stations also joined the Ham Fair with their own booths: KARL from South Korea, and MARTS from Malaysia. I also had the chance to drop-off 2466 QSL cards that were hand-carried from Bangkok at the fair.

Figure 9. (Top Left) Adrian KO8SCA, JH1NBN, JF2WXS, AJ3M (4U1WB), N9JA, (Top right) VK3GK, VK3TX, (Bottom left) JA1WPX, KO8SCA, K5GS, JA4DND, (Bottom right) E27TE, HS7QBL

Figure 10. (Top left) JJ1DQR, JR6IKD, (Top right) N2RJ, (Bottom left) VR2KF, (Bottom right) JS1WWR, E22YHG, JJ1DQR, JK1AKA, HS5JRH

From the commercial side, ICOM presented their latest line of transceivers with great excitement from the crowd. The highlights being the ICOM IC-905, ID-52 and IC-PW2. Other prominent models were on display including IC-705, IC-9700, and of course the all-time classic IC-7300. YAESU, Kenwood, and Alinco did not introduce any new models at this JARL Ham Fair.

Figure 11. Atmosphere at the ICOM booth at JARL Ham Fair 2023

Figure 12. Atmosphere at the JARL Ham Fair 2023

Many smaller clubs also set up their own booths thronged with visitors, and the flea market section of the halls were constantly buzzing with ham enthusiasts looking for a good deal.

We left the main Halls just after 4pm, after sneaking in some ice-lollies, to join the DX Seminar and Dinner at 16:30 – 20:30 organised by Far East DX-Ploiters (FEDXP). The event was led by Hiro JA4DND and Joe JJ3PRT. A total of 65 participants joined the DX Seminar which was held in the conference room on the 2nd floor of the Sotetsu Grand Fresa Tokyo-Bay with two esteemed speakers:-
•3Y0J Bouvet Island DXpedition 2023 by KO8SCA Adrian Ciuperca
•TX5S Clipperton Island DXpedition 2024 by K5GS Gene Spinelli

Figure 13. Adrian KO8SCA giving his seminar about 3Y0J DXpedition and 4U1UN UN Headquarter Station.

Figure 14. Gene K5GS giving his seminar about TX5S Clipperton Island DXpedition in 2024

The DX Dinner started at 18:30 at Suien Chinese restaurant on the 2nd floor East TFT Building and was held in a more informal manner, with lots of fun and laughter. 45 prominent DXers and DX-chasers attended the event. There were fun rounds of small introduction and speeches from the guests, and all the foreign visitors were parted with a small Japanese gift of cultural value. Thank you very much Joe san. Both Adrian KO8SCA and K5GS Gene were presented with an award from FEDXP for their significant contribution towards the world of DXpedition.

Figure 15. Atmosphere at the FEDXP DX Dinner, (Top left) Andy 5Z4VJ, Joe JJ3PRT, (Top right) Johannes 5T5PA (PA5X), Joe JJ3PRT, (Bottom left) Adrian KO8SCA, Joe JJ3PRT, and Hiro JA4DND, (Bottom right) E21EIC, E20NKB, KO8SCA and XYL, E25KAE, K6VHF, 5T5PA (PA5X)

The second day of the JARL Ham Fair 2023 was notably quieter than the first day, and some foreign visitors had to catch their flights out of Tokyo already on Sunday including Bun E25KAE. The fair continued until 16:00 before closing. In the evening, we were invited to dinner with JA friends which included friends from Hong Kong and South Korea. We had a great time.

Figure 16. A memorial place for Zorro JH1AJT (SK) at SEISA Head Office in Oiso, Kanagawa

Monday 21st August 2023 was a very important day for us as JC E20NKB, Adrian KO8SCA and his XYL, and myself travelled to Oiso, Kanagawa, in the early morning, to pay our respect to Zorro san JH1AJT (SK) at his memorial site. The journey took 1.5hrs in total. We arrived at SEISA Head Office in Oiso and were given a tour around the campus, and visited Yasuo (Zorro) Miyazawa JH1AJT (SK)’s office which was kept in the same state and serve as a memorial place of the great man. His office also has a little amateur radio corner together with some of his awards on display including the DXCC 10m (368 entities) and World Record. The radios that Zorro san used included ICOM IC-7851 and YAESU FT-101MP. We paid our respect to Zorro JH1AJT’s picture, and had the rare opportunity to meet Yuki san, Zorro san’s XYL, also. We spent 30mins talking to Yuki san before having to leave Oiso as we had another engagement in the evening.

Figure 17. Zorro san JH1AJT memorial place within his office, showcasing his awards and achievements, as well as some of his radio gears.

Figure 18. Adrian KO8SCA, his XYL, JC E20NKB and Champ E21EIC paid our respect to Zorro san, JH1AJT and met with Yuki san (Zorro san’s XYL)

Figure 19. (Bottom left and right) A handmade morse key from Monk Apollo SV2ASP/A (SK) given to Zorro san JH1AJT (SK) when Zorro san visited Mount Athos in 2014

Figure 20. Champ E21EIC/JH1TEQ visited Zorro’s san JH1AJT at his house in 2014

On Monday evening, we met up with Katsu JA1DXA and Isao JH1ROJ at a Japanese restaurant in Ginza area. We exchanged many stories about DXpeditions. Katzu JA1DXA is also the QSL Manager for 5W1SA and XU7AKU and he kindly gave many QSL cards for HS/E2 hams to me for the HS QSL Bureau. Thank you very much.

Figure 21. Evening spent with JH1ROJ, KO8SCA and his XYL, and JA1DXA; together with QSL cards for HS Bureau.

JARL Ham Fair 2023 was actually an unexpected and an unplanned trip for the three of us, Bun E25KAE, JC E20NKB and Champ E21EIC. We had spent nearly a month in Europe for Friedrichshafen in Germany, then WRTC2022(2023) in Italy, and had only been in Thailand for less than a month, but because many friends contacted us about the possibility of being there, plus my work arrangement got re-scheduled, so we were able to make some last-minute bookings and make it happened. But it did mean that our trip to Tokyo was extremely short compared to the previous years.

In any case, JARL Ham Fair is still the highlight of an amateur radio event for the whole of Asia. It is always so heartwarming to meet up with old friends again – and actually make an eyeball QSO rather just on the air – and of course to make new ones. We hope to be back in Tokyo again next year.

Arigato gozaimasu!

Report from Thailand backnumber

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