Bangladesh S21ZA 1992

It took almost three years to get Bangladesh off the ground in an amateur radio sense. It was not the sort of place where one could go, set up a station and start making QSOs. No legislation was in place to direct amateur radio operation, and such legislation did not feature on top of the new Bangladeshi Government's list of priorities.

Jim, VK9NS started dealing with the relevant Government departments in February 1990. In March 1991 he travelled to Dhaka in response to a 'Telex of Invitation' from the Ministry of Information, only to find that permission to operate amateur radio in Bangladesh could not be granted at that time. During his stay in Dhaka, Jim established contact with various departments and had many meetings with government officials. There was considerable suspicion about amateur radio with fears that it could jeopardize the country's security. Top officials were also generally too busy to pursue the matter further.

On 2nd. April Jim received a telephone call confirming that everything was finally approved for a demonstration of amateur radio. Operation would be restricted to using three frequencies for SSB, one each on 20, 15 and 10 M. and would be conducted in the office of the N.B.A. monitoring section. Jim thus made 730 QSOs as S21U under supervision.

The monitoring was a success, giving some locals also a chance to say hello to some amateur voice from Australia, Japan, Norfolk Island and so on. Officials of the new government were also impressed and happy to hear that Bangladesh was the centre of international attention. Jim succeeded in making them aware that amateur radio is a hobby, good fun and involves people from all walks of life.

The groundwork was done but it was to be another year before everything was in place for amatuer radio in Bangladesh to take its rightful place. Jim helped with the actual writing of the necessary legislation and in July 1992 he received a Telex from Teleboard - Dhaka informing him that the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh had approved Amateur Radio Service in Bangladesh, and invited him to make his application for a license. Jim duly made his application and had all paperwork in order by the end of the month. He travelled to Dhaka in early August and operated as S21ZA, this being the first license issued to a foreigner.

Many other foreign operators have followed and Bangladesh now sports its own Amateur Radio Society.