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Opening of the 26th SEANET Convention

Mr Leong Keng Thai, Director-General Telecommunication Authority of Singapore (TAS) Speech - Opening of the 26th SEANET Convention

Mr Leong Keng Thai, Director-General
Telecommunication Authority of Singapore (TAS)
Speech - Opening of the 26th SEANET Convention
Singapore, 13 November 1998

1. It is a great pleasure for me to be here this evening to join you at the 26th SEANET Convention. Let me warmly welcome all the overseas visitors at this Convention. I hope that you will have an enjoyable stay in Singapore.

2. This is the fifth SEANET Convention held in Singapore, the last one was held here in 1989. SEANET, or the Southeast Asia Network of Radio Amateurs, was formed some 34 years ago, by a group of amateur radio operators in South East Asia. It provides an opportunity for amateur radio operators to meet "on the air". I am pleased to note that more than 100 amateur radio operators from different parts of the world are attending this Convention. By bringing together ham operators, the Convention helps to promote friendship, establish greater rapport and strengthen the bonds amongst the amateur radio fraternity.

3. Amateur radio has contributed significantly to the advancement in the field of radio-communication. It has been recognised as a radio-communication service by the ITU since 1932 and is promoted for the purpose of self training, inter-communication and technical investigation. I am impressed by the spirit of innovation and passion displayed by radio amateurs. It is this passion that drives them to master the radio communication skills and to make major discoveries and inventions in wireless technologies.

4. With wireless mobile communications assuming increasing importance, TAS would like to encourage more Singaporeans to take up amateur radio as a hobby. I am happy to note that SARTS has a very active programme to promote amateur radio activities in Singapore. Tertiary institutions like Nanyang Technological University and Temasek Polytechnic have also been actively engaged in amateur satellite research projects. More lecturers and students from these institutions have taken up the worthwhile activity of experimenting with amateur radiocommunications.

5. TAS has allowed radio amateurs to operate digital mode packet radio on the VHF 2-metre band. With the opening of this class of emission and the amateur satellite ground station for sending and receiving messages worldwide through the VHF packet bulletin, radio amateurs in Singapore can capitalise on the satellite technology and have the flexibility to experiment with satellite radio. The use of packet radio transmission technique has brought into being an all-wireless Internet that crisscrosses the globe with a multitude of local and long distance radio links.

6. TAS has been working closely with SARTS to discuss various ways to facilitate radio amateur operations in Singapore. With the co-operation and understanding of SARTS, TAS has recently completed a review on type-approval procedure. The testing procedure for individual radio amateur equipment has been simplified and the approval fee has been reduced very significantly. I am also pleased to note that SARTS has been conducting the Morse Code examinations for radio Amateurs on behalf of TAS since January this year. This is a positive step towards expanding the role played by SARTS.

7. TAS has recently introduced personal computer-based Radio Amateur Theory Examination after developing the software programme in-house. With this arrangement, TAS can conduct the examination using a note-book personal computer as and when requested by the members of the public. Once the candidate has completed the examination, he will know the result immediately as the answers can be assessed automatically. This is an improvement over the previous bi-monthly paper-based examination.

8. With the increasing use of Internet as a medium to transact information and services, TAS has recently launched our new website to improve our level of service and communication with the public. The new services include the on-line application for radio amateur examinations and licence. The applicant can also download "The Radio Amateur Licensing Handbook" from the website. TAS has also provided a hyper-link to SARTS website to facilitate easy access to information on amateur activities in Singapore.

9. In our meeting with the President of SARTS and council members, SARTS has informed TAS that they intend to promote amateur radio to students in schools and junior colleges. This will help to build a pool of young persons with exposure and interest in radio-communication technology in Singapore. We welcome this initiative and support the organisation of enrichment camps for students.

10. Finally, let me again thank Mr Chee and members of SARTS for inviting me to officiate at the opening ceremony of the SEANET 98 Convention. I wish you a fruitful convention and every success in your endeavors.

11. It is now my pleasure to declare the 26th SEANET Convention open.