6Y - Jamaica

 

Update:  From Bob, N9QGU:   May 1, 2005 there will be a $10 entrance tax when you visit Jamaica. I believe they are calling it a "Sunshine Tax".


Notice:  Bringing equipment into the country is increasingly difficult.  See comments near the end of this page.


Ham Friendly Villa: Casita Villa, the home of Team Vertical!

Unfortunately Team Vertical’s QTH is not being offered as a Rent-a-QTH, so you will need to bring everything with you.  But it is a proven QTH where we have set many world records.  Your hosts, Veronica and Danny are great people, and you will be totally pampered during your visit. 

There are 3 air-conditioned bedrooms, and 1-2 more bedrooms without air-conditioning (plans are to expand the rooms).  There are enough beds to handle a VERY large group.  A dozen people?  No problem, they will bring in beds if necessary. 

The house is extremely comfortable, with a nice living room, satellite TV, and a large game/play room with billiards, dart board, etc.  Actually, we set up the shack in the game room, as it’s a huge room.  There are a bunch of tables that can be used, and we’ve had no problems setting up 6 stations, each on it’s own table.  To date, we have not used amplifiers at this QTH.  But there should be enough electricity to do so.  Just talk to Danny about your electrical needs, as he did all the electrical work himself.  Nearby is a hardware store if you need to get basic items like poles, wire, rope, tape, etc

Meals at the villa are wonderful!  Fantastic local dishes are served (highly recommended), or they will cook what ever you wish.  When we first started going to Jamaica, we wanted to sample all the local restaurants.  Frankly, the food at the villa is much better, cheaper, and you don’t have to wait 1-2 hours for dinner (service is slow in most of the nearby restaurants).  These days, we eat all our meals at the villa.

The house is set back about 125-150’ from the water, and is on 2 acres.  To the east, there’s a few acres of open land where we’ve installed some antennas.  The neighbor to the west has allowed us to put verticals on their property at the edge of the water, but watch out for their dogs!  They are vicious dogs and you don’t want to be on their property if the dogs are loose - you’ve been warned.  For a small operation with 1 or 2 antennas, plan on 2 x 150’ for coax.  For multi ops, plan on a few runs of this length, but longer runs for the other antennas.  All in all, a multi-op with 1 antenna per band should assume 250’ per antenna to be safe if you want to separate the antennas (assuming all verticals by the water).  If you use some Yagis, they can be mounted close to the house with greatly reduced coax runs.  To put a vertical out at the end of one of small peninsulas (see below), you will need about 250-300’ of coax.

The property is on ironshore (pitted limestone/lava), and there is no direct (safe) access to the water from the house.  The ironshore is elevated about 14’ above the water, so don’t fall in.  A nice swimming beach is a short walk away, and there’s a nice pool at the house, so it’s easy to cool off.  We tend to cool off with rum punch at the pool.

There’s about a 180 degree shot over water, with the coast going roughly east to west.  It’s nothing but water to Europe, USA, Japan, and Africa and Oceania.  To the south, the hills are far enough away that you won’t have any problems working South America and other Caribbean Islands.  If you bring enough coax, there are some great points (small peninsulas) where you can place your vertical antennas.  You can get about 300 degrees of water in the near field in these locations.  The bands are VERY quiet at this location – no noise at all.

Verticals are you best antennas at this QTH – we have set all your world records using verticals from this and a nearby QTH.   The 14’ cliff height will actually give you some small gain 15, 20 & 40m (maybe 0.2-0.4 dB which occurs by compressing the vertical lobe of an elevated vertical).  The 14’ high cliff is too high for verticals on 10m (you will get a lobe split at about 20 degree take off, which is a useful angle.  If you have the option, I would bring both a vertical and a horizontal antenna for this band. 

The villa is located in Discovery Bay, about an hour east of Montego Bay.  This is a quiet area, and there’s not a whole lot of excitement nearby.  For any nightlife, you will need to go into Ocho Rios, about 45 minutes to the east.  If you are looking for a great place for radio and relaxing, this is it.  But it may be too remote if you are looking for shopping, tourists and nightlife.

Attesting to the quality of this experience, both the kitchen and swimming pool are inspected by the Jamaican government every year and are certified.  I think this is one of the few villas that goes to this length to make for a happy and fun trip.

Read about a recent 160m effort at:  http://k2kw.com/6y0aqrp/

Contact:  Veronica & Danny Foster.  Tell them Kenny sent you!   casita@cwjamaica.com  Phone: (876) 973-3131

Submitted by Kenny K2KW January 1, 2005


Rent-a-QTH

Josh, 6Y5WJ has a rental unit on the southern/middle part of the country.  For more information, visit www.infochan.com/~joshwa


Ham Friendly Villa: Carib Vista Villa in Montego Bay Hilltop location with a great shot to USA/JA and EU. No gear at QTH. KN5H and PA5ET had good luck from this location. 3 bedroom air conditioned, pool, maid and cook, reasonable prices, good XYL/kids location. Drawback- Need to hire taxi to get to store and beach. Updated by KN5H on August 23, 2000.

You can see pictures of the 6Y3A operation at: http://home.earthlink.net/~kn5h/6y3a.html (This is NOT the 6Y2A/6Y4A/6Y8A "Team Vertical" location).

The villa owner is Thomas Baker, and you can Email him at: thomas.w.baker@worldnet.att.net


Ham Friendly Location: Enchanted Gardens in Ocho Rios Visited by Curtis, W3HQ in August 2002


Jamaica License Information:

 

The Jamaican Amateur Radio Association (JARA) web site can be found at: http://binaryorigins.com/jara/.  Unfortunately the JARA license  information is out of date and incorrect regarding licensing procedures for visiting hams.

 

New Jamaican Amateur License Process & Fee:

Effective 2002 March 01 a processing fee of Ten United States Dollars (US$10) or its equivalent in Jamaican currency payable in advance will be charged per (license) application.

Sincerely
Spectrum Management Authority

Ernest Smith
Managing Director


The license fee of $10 can be made by a (guaranteed) bank check drawn from a United States (US) bank payable to "Spectrum Management Authority". (Do NOT make the check payable to anyone else, or it will not be processed! Not to or c/o Mr. Matheson, make it payable ONLY to Spectrum Management Authority (you have been warned - de K2KW)  Personal checks will not be accepted. Bank checks from other countries are not currently being accepted.

The license fee must be received before the license is sent to the applicant. Applications may be submitted via FAX, but payment, along with the original signed applications (including all required documentation) must be received before the license is sent to the applicant.

Licenses are issued for homecall/6Y5. Special 6Y callsigns are available for special events, such as a contest. These special callsigns are only for use during the special event, and not for general operating. Each special callsign application requires an additional $10 fee.

License applications and information on operating in Jamaica may be obtained from the above address, or may be found on the following web sites:

* Jamaica Amateur Radio Association http://www.binaryorigins.com/jara/

* American Radio Relay League (ARRL)   http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/regulations/io/#us

* DX Holiday "The Ultimate DXpedition Resource" www.dxholiday.com

* Worldwide Information on Licensing for Radio Amateurs by OH2MCN   http://www.qsl.net/oh2mcn/license.htm

 

Required Information With License Application:

-         USD $10 certified bank check payable only to: Spectrum Management Authority

-         Copy of your home license

-         Copy of your passport (just the photo page showing passport number etc.)

-         Form C (below)

-         Cover letter (see suggestions)

 

 

License application and fee should be sent to:

Spectrum Management Authority

Attn: Mr. Matheson
P.O. Box 9120
Kingston
Jamaica, W.I.

FAX: 876-960-8981
Email: lmatheson@sma.gov.jm

For more information, visit the SMA website at: www.sma.gov.jm   

Phone: 1-876-929-8550 and 929-8520

 

Typical processing time for license application:  3 months from the time you mail it.

 


Suggestions for Cover Letter (include the following information):

 

§         Reason for letter (application for amateur radio license)

§         Arrival dates

§         Location

§         Equipment (major items like transceiver or amplifier)

§         Ask for equipment to be listed on the license*

§         Thanks for assistance

 

*  Specifically ask to have your equipment listed on the license!  While customs is usually easy, if you do get stopped and your bags are inspected, having the equipment listed on your license will make things much easier.

 


NOTES TO AID COMPLETION OF FORM C

 

Block Capitals or Typewriter must be used to fill in the form.

 

1.              The name to be entered must be used to fill in the form.

Where no passport is available, proof of identity is required.

This is an essential requirement.

 

2.              If normally domiciled in a country other than that for which citizenship is claimed, a valid passport must me produced as proof of citizenship.

 

3.              If self-employed, state name of company under which trade or profession is carried on, if other than your own.

 

4.              A photocopy of the Amateur Radio Station License held must be forwarded with this application

 

5.              If your amateur station is to be operated at any place in Jamaica other than at the address given for period exceeding 48 hours, an itinerary showing projected places and dates must be given.

 

 


 

 

 

SECOND SCHEDULE

(Regulation 32)

Form C

 

THE RADIO AND TELEGRAPH CONTROL ACT, 1972

(Act 20 of 1972)

 

APPLICATION FOR ALIEN AMATEUR RADIO STATION PERMIT

 

 

1.  Name (1).............................................................

                 SURNAME                   GIVEN NAMES

2.  Nationality (2)......................................................

3.  Permanent Address in Home Country ...................................

.....................................................................

4.  Place of Birth ......................................................

    Date  of Birth ......................................................

5.  Present Occupation (3) ..............................................

Name of Employer ....................................................

Address of Employer .................................................

6.  Expected date of arrival in Jamaica .................................

Projected date of departure from Jamaica ............................

7.  Address while in Jamaica ............................................

.....................................................................

8.  Passport or Travel Document Number ..................................

Place where issued ..................................................

Date of issue .......................................................

Date of expiration ..................................................

9.  Amateur Radio Station License Number  (4) ...........................

Date of issue .......................................................

Date of expiration ..................................................

Call Sign ...........................................................

 

 

...............................

Signature of Applicant

 

 

Date ..........................................................

DAY          MONTH          YEAR


Equipment Issues:  Obtaining a license in Jamaica is easy (see below or OH2MCN’s website).   But bringing equipment into the country is increasingly difficult.  If you look like a tourist with a small suitcase and a tiny mobile rig stuffed inside, you probably won’t get stopped.  But if you have lots of luggage, especially Pelican cases or other “professional” looking cases for your equipment, you will likely be stopped and searched.  Then the fun begins.  A few years ago, having your equipment listed on the license was good enough to get your equipment into the country.  These days, having your equipment listed on the license is irrelevant to Customs (but should be done anyway).

If searched,  Customs will find your equipment, and you will likely be asked to post a large monetary “bond”.    I would suggest arguing (even if it takes hours, and it might), that you either don’t pay the money, or you try to minimize the payment.  It’s my opinion that if you give them money, you have a 50/50 chance of never seeing that money again.  I have heard of someone who refused to pay the money, but was able to negotiate bringing his equipment into Jamaica by surrendering his passport.  Neither option is satisfactory in my opinion.  Personally I’ve yet to pay a bond, as I’ve been able to talk my way out of it (but I’ve been there nearly a dozen times in the past few years and know a few people).  But I suspect my luck won’t hold out much longer.

Currently Jamaican Customs wants you to go to the RED Line “Items to Declare” and post a monetary bond, payable at the airport in cash.  Unfortunately, there is no strictly adhered to policy, so you cannot predict what to expect, nor how much money to bring.  The only thing you can predict is that it’s going to be a big hassle bringing your equipment into the country.  Personally I still go to the GREEN line, as I take my chances that I will get waived through without being searched.

Talking to or complaining to the Spectrum Management Authority (licensing agency) has not eased the Customs issue.  The SMA either has no influence with the Customs Agency, or chooses not to get involved. 

Unfortunately, you need to expect a problem bringing your equipment into Jamaica.

Kenny, K2KW  2004

 


IARU Membership Society from the ARRL website (Feb 2002):

Jamaica Amateur Radio Association [JARA]

Address: 76 Arnold Road, Kingston 5

Tel: +1 (876) 960-7246 <HQ>, +1 (876) 702-2927 <6Y5HB>

Fax: +1 (876) 702-2927 <6Y5HB>

Email: 6y5ag@cwjamaica.com <6Y5AG>, hrbrand@cwjamaica.com <6Y5HB>

Web: http://binaryorigins.com/jara/

President: Gerald Burton, 6Y5AG

Secretary: Thelma Findlay, 6Y5TG

IARU liaison: Hugh Brand, 6Y5HB


Do you have more information on places to operate in this country?

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