No Wonder Ham Radio in Costa Rica is a Deadster

As I think I mentioned here somewhere, I finally applied for reciprocity to the powers that be (there are actually two government agencies that must get involved) back in late Februrary. All done by email, so at least I didn't have to make an all-day trip to San José (yet).
ham radio frustration

There seemed to be much confusion on their end about how the whole process was going to work, even though I know for a fact that at least a couple of visiting hams were able to do this before and no rules have changed in the interim.

Finally, around the middle of March I was told that everything I'd submitted was OK and that the opaque-to-me process was rolling but that it would take five months to complete. I thought at the time "Blimey! Five months?" but being much more inured to Costa Rican bureaucracy than I was when I first came here that actually did not seem unreasonable.

Five months goes by without a peep from me, so I decide to ping the powers that be about the status of my application. "Radio silence" ensued. Not a single one of the half dozen message recipients replied. I tried again two weeks later, same result. Finally, I added a few more email addresses that I'd collected along the way and replies started happening again.

Of course my reciprocal permission had not been granted, not even close, and nothing like an apology was offered. One side was waiting for a document from the other side. That was sent within a few days (they were nice to cc me on everything, I'll say that). Then silence again.

So, I politely ask what is the prognosis now that all docs seemed to have been made ready. At this point, I've been waiting 7 months.

Here is the reply verbatim:

"Dear Mr. Casey We understand your concern. And we are making all our efforts to conclude this procedure as soon as we can. At first for a clarity, please let me explain the steps: 

1. Technical advise, It takes about two months. 

2. Legal advise, It takes about two weeks. 

3. Once the Viceministry of Telecommunications have a general overview about your request, We will send all the documents to Ministry of the Presidence to the final ok. It takes about two months. Please consider that our response can be negative or positive. 

4. In case of a positive opinion, the License will be granted. So, the process will take more less four months more from now. [my emphasis] Please consider that you´re asking for a license to use the radioelectric spectrum, and as a good of public domain, is what we need to do all those studies. 

King regards."

King regards, indeed! :)

Given that their last estimate was about 40% off, I expect this entire process to take a year at least. You'd think I was asking to install a 200 foot tower to run a megawatt broadcast station. Sigh ...

I'm flabbergasted at this point and don't know what to say.


  1. Hello Casey, it really is a pain to get that license there. But so far you can work with your own call I thought. Probabely if you find the right person it can speed up things. But most of the time you have to spend extra money on that ;-(. 73, Bas

    1. Hi Bas, No, they are really strict here, so can't operate in the interim. They are really winging it here and are treating a radio hobby as equivalent to a commercial operation unfortunately. You get this sense from the regs as they were pretty much a cut-n-paste of those in Panamá. There are so many people on the email list that I think using "la mordida (the bite)" will not work in this case. :D 73!

    2. sey... Now I k now what you have been (NOT) doing. So sad, When I moved to Costa Rica in March of 2016 I applied and had my TI-cket in 3 weeks along with my approval for the 125 foot tower... Can't understand why the difference in your case. Maybe it's because I was just dreaming (?). Hang in there Buddy, I'm headed for Thailand and most of SE Asia next week for +/- 90 days. I have the forms and basic consent to get the Philippine license from the PI Radio club, just have to make it formal by showing up and paying for the privilege of course. Not sure where I'll end up as an expat but this time it's serious. Rose doesn't want to travel, I do so you can figure out whats happening in my life ;0(.

      Tons of news you haven't been privy to. Lost an eye, all of my teeth, broken nose and cheek bones etc but the VA doctors have made me beautiful again and younger too (I wish). Have a new email, kb7hunter is good on Skype, Viber, LINE, facebook (inactive), and a few others I don't remember off the top. I'll keep a few of my travel photo's online somewhere but I'm too lazy to write a blog that no-one would read anyway. I'll be away from home 7 Nov to 9 Feb and will probably throw some paint at the house and sell it before leaving town for good but I hope to find a new retirement home and travelling companion that doesn't hold me back while I'm on this trip. Enough news for now, hang in there Casey, I'll be waiting to hear you on the air again soon. 73 my friend and my best to Tamara and Sean.

      Ken Hunter - KB7H

    3. Ken, I'll be in touch soon before you leave. Put Bulgaria on your list, we are considering it. Way cheaper than CR, lots of sun, CEPT rules so easy to operate and I think pretty easy to get your own LZ call. Ciao, 73.

  2. I wish you'll get your callsign soon, either by traditional way or via the right person hihi. I have never managed to get any paper qsl from Costa Rica (none of them replies) so when you get your permit please drop an e-mail.
    73 de SV1GRN

    1. Panagiotis, I'll probably forget when/if this situation finally resolves. But, you can be sure that I will give notice here on the blog as soon as I know something and will definitely card QSL. Usually, I ask for green stamps, but I'll make an exception in your case, hi hi. 73!

  3. Thank you very much I'll send you an e-mail about. 73 de SV1GRN


Thanks very much for your comment! 73, Casey