My recent posting on the lack of DXpeditions to Zone 26 generated a thread on eHam’s DX forum and some interesting email.
Some of those emails are from Simon HS0ZIB – G6JFY who is currently living in Burma and making gradual efforts that he hopes will amount to Burmese authorities seeing the value to its citizens of ham radio.
From Simon, with permission to post:
I’ve been living in Burma (Myanmar) for a year now, and using all my contacts and ingenuity to get an XZ licence. I cannot say that I am any closer to securing that licence yet, although one never knows.
For starters, I do not believe that the Myanmar government will allow a DXpedition to XZ by foreigners who do not reside in the country. Although this was allowed before in the 1990s/early 2000s, the feedback that I have obtained so far from my government contacts is that an XZ licence would only be issued to a foreigner if he/she:
- Lived and worked in Myanmar
- Had good local references
- Had contributed to the welfare of local citizens (work, not money!)
- Is integrated into the community (which means learning Burmese language)
The Ministry of Communications is very busy with their new telecoms law (which includes no provision for ham radio). They simply have no interest in ham radio right now. My main efforts are to convince them of the benefit of ham radio in the areas of disaster comms and encouraging young people to get an interest in technical subjects.
I’ve learnt also that no ‘junior’ person in the Ministry will sign off an XZ licence. The only person who will do this is the Minister himself, and if he sees no personal benefit, then he is unlikely to sign off. So my efforts are also to build up contacts with senior people in the Ministry with a view to building a relationship with the Minister himself. I already speak, read and write basic Burmese, and this knowledge has also helped me to make some good contacts.
I can only do this with the help of well-placed local citizens. The Minister will not be interested in any foreign intervention (IARU etc), unless it comes at Ambassador level – which is unlikely.
I have some meetings arranged in Naypyidaw in December. These will not secure me my XZ licence, but may move me a small step closer!
Thanks for this info, Simon. Recent developments in Myanmar clearly indicate a trend away from previous isolationism. Hopefully ham radio is in their future at some point.