The Long-Awaited Reciprocal Permit Feels Like an Anticlimax

When we last left your hero (me!) in No Wonder Ham Radio in Costa Rica Is a Deadster, he (I) had been wading and waiting through a process for a reciprocal operating permit from the telecommunications powers-that-be for about seven months, which ended in them telling me there were in fact several other steps yet to be taken and I should expect another four months of waiting.

The waiting is the hardest part ...

Well, four months plus I waited and then decided to ping the people who I hoped were still involved to get a status update. A few days later after my request for status via email was made, I received a plain, non-congratulatory response (not mentioning a result in the message) with an eight-page PDF attachment. Quickly scanning that document, I saw that they spelled my name correctly and in accordance with a barrel-full of cited laws and regulations I had been granted reciprocal permission to operate on the HF bands and it was signed by the President of the Republic! By the way, I did not request specifically to operate on the HF bands, but that's what they gave me. Good thing I don't own an HT ...

So, I should be dancing a jig and popping champagne corks, right? However, there is just nothing like a drawn-out bureaucratic process to lighten your day even if the outcome is in your favor.

I did manage a weak high-five with my wife, but to tell the truth, the year-long wait for this moment and all the runarounds (it just happened that the permit was finished days after my ping?), etc. have left me feeling emotionally drained. Fortunately, I don't have to go through this again for five years if I'm still here!

Most likely I'll feel more lively tomorrow when I re-learn how to use at least one of my radios and get something going on the air even if it is just a WSPR setup. Well, actually the next step should be for me to renew my LOTW status I guess. There are bound to be some DX pile-ups in my near future after all.

That's a bureaucratic endeavor in itself, which will undoubtedly feel like eating a bowl of ice cream relative to the recip permit I was just granted. 73!


  1. Hah! Just try applying for a reciprocal license in Saudi Arabia. You must sit their ham exam (despite this being fundamentally against the notion of reciprocal licensing agreed by the Saudi regulators with ITU), present originals (no copies, authenticated or otherwise, are acceptable) of all license documents, plus type approval documents for each item of equipment you plan to use including a full description of all antennas (and dont even dream of using homebuilt gear, qrp or otherwise), and then wait for the formal site station inspection, all after you have paid the non refundable fees for all this. I tried all this for seven years before giving up. They also wanted all documents translated into Arabic, even though they read and spoke English fluently. Just didnt want to entertain reciprocal licensing...unless you could, ah, bring influence to bear.

    1. You must have a good reason to suffer through that and living in S.A. :)


Thanks very much for your comment! 73, Casey