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Ham Radio in China

posted Sep 4, 2010, 8:35 AM by Charles Boling   [ updated Sep 4, 2010, 9:22 AM ]
AD7UF recently returned from China, where he and KF7JZN spent 2.5 weeks while they adopted their 8th child.  This prompted a little research of amateur radio operations over there. 

According to someone (oops, forgot who) on the MNW net this morning, Amateur radio had been pretty dead over there from WWII until sometime during Nixon's presidency, when a delegation traveled over there and, with the Chinese government's cooperation, helped to reestablish the hobby and even set up a link between VHF repeaters belonging to the Boeing radio club and a club over there.   These days, there are roughly 70,000 licensed operators (not a very large percentage of the population, but a pretty big number compared to most countries). 

The rough equivalent to the ARRL over there is the China Radio Sports Association, founded in 1964.  (In Hong Kong, where they also spent a few days, it's the Hong Kong Amateur Radio Transmitting Society, established in the 1930s.)  Visiting hams may bring their own equipment into the country -- after paying the 30% duty fee, and after living there at least a year may apply for operating privileges -- on VHF and above.  So, there wasn't much chance of hosting a QSL party -- besides, how much are you going to talk on the radio with a 2 year-old running around? 

It's worth noting that although there was amateur radio activity prior to 1993, it wasn't until then that individuals were allowed to operate their own radio stations -- previously, they were only allowed to operate shared stations belonging to registered clubs.