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Regulating Amateur Radio

The Governor in Cabinet has adopted regulations to govern amateur radio in the Cayman Islands.

These regulations were made in accordance with section 97 of the Information and Communications Technology Authority Law (2006) and came into effect following their publication in the Cayman Islands Gazette on 29 March 2010.

Amateur radio is both a hobby and a service and participants, often called "hams," communicate with fellow amateurs at home and abroad using a broad range of technologies.

World-wide, an estimated two million people are regularly involved with amateur radio, including some 25 ham operators residing in the Cayman Islands and some 75 visiting the islands annually. Radio amateurs have a long history of contributing to developments in radio communication. Despite the growth in mobile telecommunications over the last decade, it is radio amateurs who often provide the first links between stricken communities and the rest of the world, following natural or man-made disasters.

The effect of the new regulations will be to:

  • create a scheme for the issuance of amateur radio licences by the Information and Communications Technology Authority (ICTA) to persons who have satisfied the ICTA, by way of examination, of their knowledge and competence with respect to electricity and radio, including amateur radio apparatus;
  • allow for the recognition of licences issued by the United Kingdom and other countries which have agreed to grant, with respect to the Cayman Islands, reciprocal amateur radio operating privileges;
  • ensure compliance with international standards, including the requirement that amateur radios be operated without any financial interest;
  • minimise the likelihood of interference caused by, and suffered by, amateur radio operators.

These regulations were developed in collaboration with the Cayman Amateur Radio Society (CARS). As an ICTA agent, CARS will administer the examination for licence applicants. CARS President John Darby said, "We are delighted that the Governor in Cabinet is circulating these important regulations and look forward to working with the ICTA to licence amateur radio operators in the near future."

"Ham operators can play a pivotal role in emergency situations, just as they did during and after Hurricane Ivan when they provided an important communication link between Cayman and the National Hurricane Centre in Florida," added the Hon. Minister for District Administration, Works and Gender Affairs, Juliana O'Connor-Connolly. "These new regulations will ensure that they can continue to provide this important public service, in accordance with international standards."