Costa Rica Call Sign Prefixes and Foreign Operating Requirements

Costa Rica's Call Sign Prefixes

Every once in a while, a radio amateur contacts me about the rules for foreign operators, which leads to the question of which call sign prefix they should use for their final destination. I don't have them memorized, they are hard to find on the Internets and I can never find a file showing them on whatever computer I'm using. So long as I can remember that I put it here, I can access it quickly and send the link to others.

Costa Rican mainland amateur radio call sign prefixes
The seven Costa Rica mainland call sign prefixes. TI9 is Cocos Island. Prefixes may start also with TE.
The new SUTEL radio regulations that I wrote about previously are continuing to be fleshed out. They are silent about the use of TI0 or TI1, but I assume those are reserved for clubs or special events. The latest link to Costa Rica's Amateur and CB radio regulations is here.

As of late 2014, SUTEL now has a more organized web page for Costa Rica and foreign hams.

Cocos Island - Rare DX and Great Scuba Diving

TI9 is Cocos Island, which is uninhabited except for park rangers. By the way, why such a small country needs all these different prefixes is beyond me.

 It's a dream of mine to operate from Cocos Island someday. My pile-up skills may never be adequate for manning a station at that rare DX however. I can imagine the grumbling by DX spotters already, hihi.

Additionally, it's a logistical difficulty to operate from there because visitors are not allowed to stay overnight and it's a 340 mile boat trip from Costa Rica's Pacific shore. Perhaps one could operate from a boat anchored off the island. Even if I could not manage to operate from there, the diving is supposed to be superb. Cocos Island makes worldwide top ten lists regularly for the best scuba diving destinations.

Operating as a Foreigner Under the New Rules

If foreign amateurs wish to operate in Costa Rica as residents or via reciprocity, this link contains the forms to submit to MICIT, which is part of SUTEL. Here is the list of documents you need to supply:
  • Two passport size photos
  • A copy of your passport ID pages
  • A copy of your radio license
  • A detailed list of the radio equipment you will be using (additional forms are in the Appendix for this)
  • The title of the vehicle you will be using if you are operating mobile.
There's no mention of a fee ...

I have yet to submit the documents myself, so I don't know how long it takes to get a temporary permit in hand. Even though there is an e-mail address for updates to a previous application, the regs do not explicitly say you can submit the application online the first time. I think you have to show up in person at the MICIT office in San José near the Caribbean bus terminal near the intersection of Calle Central and Avenidas 11 and 13. I'll let you know how it goes when I do it myself.


  1. Links to the Radio manuals above don't work...

    1. I just updated the links and added a link to their main ham page, which they didn't have before.

  2. Thank you for telling me. They must've moved them and didn't leave a redirect page behind.


Thanks very much for your comment! 73, Casey