Operating from VP5
The Wireless Telegraphy (Amateur Radio Operator Licencing) Regulations 2004 designates the Turks and Caicos Amateur Radio Society, ("TACARS") as the certifying organization of qualified persons to operate amateur radio in the Turks & Caicos Islands. Qualified persons are those that hold a valid un-expired amateur licence from another country and have complied with the necessary application processes. Additionally, residents who have passed a properly administered test of TACARS and have complied with the necessary application processes may also be qualified to operate amateur radio in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Every licence issued is valid for the calendar year in which it is granted and expires on 31 December in that year (except Special Event Licences, see below).
NO RECIPROCAL LICENCING
The Wireless Telegraphy (Amateur Radio Operator Licencing) Regulations 2004 requires proper application and licencing per the regulations before operating in the Turks & Caicos Islands. No reciprocal agreements are honored and no operation is permitted without compliance.
Residents who have passed a properly administered test of TACARS and have complied with the necessary application processes may be qualified to operate amateur radio in the Turks and Caicos Islands. A Question Pool of the material for proper understanding of the rules, international regulations, station operation, licencing, practices, emergency communications, antennas, propagation, theory and safety has been created for study and administration of exams by TACARS. As an aid to new potential operators, information on the Question Pool and study material is available here.
VP5XX or VP5XXX call signs will only be granted to Belongers or holders of Permanent Resident Certificates.
VP5VXX calls will be issued to persons who hold Work Permits or Residence Permits. These licences are renewable annually by personal application to TACARS while the Work or Residence Permit is valid.
(Note: VP5XX/MM or VP5XXX/MM call signs are only valid when used Maritime Mobile if the vessel from which they are being used is registered in the Turks & Caicos Islands.)
If a Resident Licence has expired, the licencee must pay the annual fee for the expired periods and the current year to renew. The prior held call sign will only be available if it has not been reissued to another licencee.
All visitors to the Turks & Caicos Islands on production of a valid Amateur Radio Licence from their own country, with the necessary application form and fee, will receive a VP5/HomeCall Licence. Maritime Mobile visitors within 12 nautical miles of the Turks & Caicos Islands must apply for and have a Visitors Licence before operating.
SPECIAL EVENT LICENCES
Upon proper application and fee payment, a Resident Licence or Visitor Licence holder may request a VP5X or VQ5X series call sign for a single operating event. This special event call may only be used for the special event or as authorized. A specific call sign can be requested, however efforts are made to limit confusion of the various special operating events and the call signs that have been recently used. Accommodations for specific calls will be honored if possible.
THIRD PARTY TRAFFIC
No third party messages are permitted including those that are spoken, written, keystroked, keyed, photographed or otherwise originated by or for a third party (other than the licencee) and transmitted by amateur radio, live or delayed. A third party may also be a non-licenced person who is allowed by the licencee to participate in amateur radio communications. This is not permitted. No bypass communications by amateur radio are permitted.
Power levels for the operation of an amateur radio apparatus in the Turks & Caicos Islands shall not exceed the levels set by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) from time to time, but not to exceed 1.5 kW PEP. Transmitting stations shall radiate only as much power as is necessary to ensure a satisfactory service.
In times of emergencies, disaster relief operations, during a hurricane or the threat of a hurricane or other national or global emergencies, licenced amateur radio stations are authorized to send and receive messages as requested by the Red Cross Society or the local Police Force. During hurricanes, normally the Hurricane Watch Net at 14.325 Mhz becomes active with stations from the Turks & Caicos Islands participating.
ENTERING AND LEAVING THE COUNTRY WITH AMATEUR RADIO EQUIPMENT
When entering the country it is recommended to have two copies of a complete list of the equipment you are bringing with you indicating brand, model number and serial number (if any) for each item. This includes antennas and any other miscellaneous equipment. Customs officials may ask you for this list. It is important to communicate to an official, if asked, that the equipment will be returning with you when you leave and not staying in the country. It is possible that you may have to pay significant import duties to the customs officials for any items that may not leave the country on your departure. If you are bringing items that will stay in the country, you should be prepared to declare the value of the items (have invoice copies) and pay import duties. On departing the country you may be asked to produce the list of equipment evidencing that the items are returning.
Operation of Amateur Radio in the Turks & Caicos Islands must be in accordance with the current laws of the Turks and Caicos Islands Wireless Telegraphy (Amateur Radio Operator Licencing) Regulations and current international radio regulations (ITU).
OPERATING FREQUENCIES & MODES
Operation of a radio apparatus within the Turks & Caicos Islands must be at the frequencies and modes for amateur operators set by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) from time to time. An HF band plan approved by the IARU for Region 2 is available here.
QSL INFORMATION FOR VP5
Currently there is an Inbound QSL Bureau for VP5 Residence Licencees. Cards are sent to TACARS and distributed to the Resident Licence holder. It is unlikely that a QSL will be returned to you unless an off island QSL manager is handling the Resident Licencee. It is important to follow a Resident Licencee's on air or published QSL instructions. Please keep in mind that it will be unlikely you will receive a return card when using the Inbound QSL Bureau for VP5.
For Visitor Licence holders it is highly recommended that all QSL's be sent to the operator's home call or their designated QSL manager. QSL cards sent to the Inbound QSL Bureau for VP5 Visitor Licencees will most likely never reach the Licence holder. Please QSL directly to the home call of the Visitor Licence holder or follow his on air or published QSL instructions.
For Special Event Licence holders (Contest Calls) it is highly recommended that all QSL's be sent to the operator's home call or their designated QSL manager. QSL cards sent to the Inbound QSL Bureau for VP5 Special Event Licencees will most likely never reach the Licence holder. Please QSL directly to the home call of the Special Event Licence holder or follow his on air or published QSL instructions.