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Update from Saudi Arabia Reciprocal Licencing OK. Famed Clubstation Permanent Closed By Dave Kaiser, AL7HG (CQ Juli 2009) We don’t hear too much too often about ham radio in Saudi Arabia (HZ) but some changes over the past years are remaking the face of our hobby there. The bad news is that many hams’ first Saudi contact over the years, the U.S. Military Training Mission club station HZ1AB, active in Dharan since 1947, had been disbanded and the callsign has been reassigned. The good news is that the Saudi government has authorized reciprocal licensing for foreign hams, making it more likely for hams around the world to have a chance to work the desert nation. In this article we’ll profile expatriate ham currently operating from Saudi Arabia and look at the history of club station HZ1AB, as well as my own experience there before the days of reciprocal licensing. HZ1GW on the air Kenneth G. Dyer, HZ1GW, an expatriate from Wales with the home callsign GW0RHC, is one of the first foreigners licensed under the reciprocal licensing rules. Dyer has been working in Saudi Arabia for more than a decade and at first was limited, like other foreign hams, to operate from the Dharan Amateur Radio Club, HZ1AB. Ken joined the club in 1993 and served as its last president, from 1999 until the station shut down permanently in 2004 Dyer obtained his Saudi reciprocal license from the Communications and Information Technology Commission in Riyadh in late 2004, soon after CITC issued Article 4 of its Spectrum Management General Services which says: 1. Those wishing to obtain a Radio amateur License should meet the following conditions: He shall be a Saudi National or in official residence in the kingdom; His age shall not be less than 18 years; Has good moral conduct, never being sentenced under codified Islamic law of committed a crime related to honesty and honor—unled proved otherwise and the defamation legally removed; and Has successfully passed the Radio Amateur Test. 2. Without prejudice to terms of paragraphs (1-A, 1-B, 1-C and 1-D of this article), the non-Saudi shall equally be allowed to operate a licensed Amateur Radio Station inside the kingdom or in territorial waters or its space in each of the following two cases; If he has a valid license from his country authorizing him to operate such a station; and If he optained a license for such station from CITC in accordance with this regulation. Ken first set up a home station about 150 miles southeast of Medina in 2006, using a 40-foot tower and a three-element SteppIR MonstIR antenna, operating at this location until November 2007 and racking up 213 countries with 173 confirmed. At the end of 2007, Ken moved back to Dharan, where his is currently (2009) operating. When Dyer returned to Wales on vacation at the end of 2005, he bought an ICOM IC-7000 with a Codan 9350 antenna for mobile operating. He installed the gear in his Ford Expedition and has spent the past year operating mobile, 40 meters through 10 meters, along Saudi Arabia’s east-west pipeline between Riyadh and Yanbu. He also soon expects to have a portable quad antenna that he will use on the job a Pump Station 7 on the Saudi Arabian Oil Company (Saudi Aramco) East-West Pipeline that pumps crude oil from the east to the west coast of Saudi Arabia. Changing Times A sign of the changing attitude toward foreign hams in Saudi Arabia played out at the airport when Ken returned with the equipment. Customs agents confiscated it, as has been their long-standing habit, but two weeks later Ken was able to go back to Customs and pick it up. This is quite different from the experiences I had over my nearly 25 years working in the kingdom. My wife Sabia, WB4RUN, and I lived in Saudi Arabia from 1980 to 2004. As part of my initial agreement to work in the country I worked for promised to obtain a license for my wife and me to operate there. When we flew into Jeddah, on the west coast, I hand carried a Kenwood 430, which was immediately confiscated by Customs. Even though my employer at the time, a daily newspaper named Arab News, made the effort to get me an amateur license, and have the tranceiver released, the only time I was allowed to take it with me was when I was leaving the country. That 430, and subsequently a 440, traveled around the world without ever getting on the air. Each year when I went back to the U.S. on vacation, Customs would release the radio and I would carry it back to the U.S. and every year the companies I worked for would promise I could get it back in. But like Charlie Brown trying to kick a football only to have Lucy pull the away time after time, I would bring back a rig each year, only to have it sit in Customs until my next trip home. It was only through the HZ1AB club station that I was able to operate at all. In 1989, when I began working for Saudi Aramco and move to Dharan, hundreds of miles northeast of Jeddah, I looked forward to joining HZ1AB. At that time, being a member of the club was the only way to legally get on the air from Saudi Arabia. In 1990, during the invasion of Kuwait and the Gulf War, the Dharan Amateur Radio Club (DARC) officially closed down. However, about a dozen radio operators, including me, spent many hours operating HZ1AB as a MARS station and passing traffic from Saudi Arabia back and forth between troop stationed there and their families in the U.S. Canada, and Britain. While the Gulf War was going on a MASH (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) unit resided on HZ1AB’s antenna farm and the Beverage was destroyed. It was subsequently rebuilt several years later. When I first joined the group, the station was located in a set of barracks on the military base. The location moved around a lot. At one time it was in a Quonset hut and later on, in the early 2000’s, it was moved into a trailer away from the barracks area. The security restrictions became harder to deal with, and the number of amateurs working and living in Saudi Arabia lessened as expatriates accepted jobs in safer parts of the world. During 2002 and 2003 the number of active hams operating the station dropped to a handful, and several conscientious members often drove hundreds of miles whenever they had time off during the weekend or vacation to keep the station active. By 2004, changing in Licensing rules made it impossible to keep the station operating. It was permanently dismantled and the license was given up. (see “HZ1AB’s History” for more). As noted above, the HZ1AB callsign has been reissued. The current holder is Bandar Salah Al-Harby of Al-Qasim. If you hear Bandar on the air, by all means try to work him. Just be aware that it’s not the HZ1AB you might have expected. Also, do listen to Ken and any fellow expatriate hams who take advantage of Saudi Arabia’s relaxed reciprocal licensing rules. Information on amateur licensing in Saudi Arabia is available online at http://www.citc.gov.sa. Click on English, then Spectrum Management and then Spectrum Management Services and Application Forms. Scroll down the page a bit and you will find several choices for information about amateur licenses. Information should also be available via the ARRL HZ1AB’s History For nearly half a century, HZ1AB was often the first worked and confirmed Saudi Arabian contact for DX enthusiasts around the world, including the first HZ satellite contacts for hundreds of OSCAR users. In contests HZ1AB provided competitors with HZ and Zone 21 on all bands and modes. The station went on the air in early 1947. From then until it shut down permanently in 2004, hundreds of thousands of contacts were logged by more than 160 operators. HZ1AB’s license was issued by royal decree from the king in 1946, with the license by the U.S. Military Training Mission. According to Bob Walsh, WA8MOA (was WA8OMA) the July 1949 issue of QST showed a photo of W8FZL (then W8UMQ), W7KUC, W0LDK and W0TN standing with an HZ1AB sign. The station back then was a Harvey Wells 160 to 10-meter transmitter and a Hallicrafters BC-610 and Hallicrafters SX- 28. Kenneth E, Riley, KE5TS, ex-W5FHM, who obtained his ham license in 1938, is believed to have been the first active HZ1AB operator. Riley worked for the Army Airways Communication Service and installed very high-powered radio transmitters in dozens of international locations. “As you can imagine, my very early days using HZ1AB, the summer of 1948 as I remember, were filled with daily excitement,” Riley said in an e-mail to the last club secretary, Thomas Carlsson, SM0CXU (HZ1EX) . “Many times, just firing up the station and saying ‘hello, HZ1AB, testing and listening’ was all it took to start a series of contacts all over the world, or at least that is the way it sounded, like the whole world was calling me”. Riley said 10-meter conditions and time dictated what he could hear. He usually fired up around 4 PM and found stations from Europe and the U.S. East Coast solid across the band for two to three hours of operation. “Keep in mind that in 1947-1948 we did not have SSB, (and) there was no receive and transmit on the same frequency,” Riley explained. “I would call on a crystal-controlled frequency on 10-meter phone (only) using a Hallicrafters BC-610 transmitter at about 400 to 500 watts and received on an AR-88 standard AM receiver.” After each CQ, Riley would advise stations to “start calling from the low end of the band and sign their calls very often while I listened and tuned up frequency for a very short time, writing down the station calling and at some point, break in with my transmission and read off about 10 or 15 stations I heard and then call off, in order, the station and briefly exchange reports and general QSO information.” Riley said it used to “flabbergast” him to have what he considered to be some of the rarest DX stations in the world ask for a QSL card from HZ1AB. He mentioned CR9AG in Macau; AR8AB in Lebanon; and AC4YN in Tibet. Between 1950 and 1952, the station was inactive. During the 1960s and 1970s, the club was called the Dharan Experimental Radio Association. The first meeting of the Dharan Amateur Radio Club was held June 9, 1980. In 1982, the club installed a 40- meter antenna and a KT-34XA, which was set up and used for CQWW on both SSB and CW. Bob Walsh operated the stations at night and operated on 160 meters, a first from HZ. In April 1983, the station equipment was upgraded to a Yaesu FT-902 DM and an RF 103 amplifier. At the same time the club decided it needed a QSL manager and Leo, K8PYD, was approached. In April 1984, the shack was secured at a new site. By that time, club operators had worked 305 DXCC countries, including the Laccadives, VU7. The club installed a log-periodic antenna in November 1987, and Terry Posey (K4RX) and Brion Gilbert put up phased-80-meter dipoles. During this period, a Kenwood TS-940S with a 500-Hz CW filter was added to the inventory. From 1992 to 1994, the DARC was very contest-active, working WPX, CQWW, and ARRL SSB and CW contests. The two last serving presidents of the club were Bill Rogers, WA5ZUQ (1998) and the subject of our main article, Ken Dyer, GW0RHC (1999-2004). HZ1AB was taken down on May 7, 2004, after 57 years of operation. Some former operators have put up a website dedicated to the station at www.qsl.net/hz1ab. They have also started a radio club back in the U.S. and have received the vanity call AB1HZ, the original call transported into a valid U.S. call. Dave Kaiser, AL7HG

HZ1AB is history

Hams - HZ1AB - History
The HZ1AB article in CQ July 2009 GW0RHC operating HZ1AB HZ1HZ, Ahmed Zaidan was helpfull to all HZ1AB  operators