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Amateur Licensing in Mexico On Hold?

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by K4KYV, Jan 22, 2017.

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  1. K0UO

    K0UO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    The ARRL and the FCC don't agree on the current reciprocal licensing with Mexico apparently, I'm going to go by what the FCC says since they're the regulatory agency!! The FCC says we still have reciprocal agreement the below information is from their website today.

    Reciprocal Operating Arrangements | Federal Communications Commission

    ARRL says this as of today
    Mexico (XE)

    There have been significant changes in Mexico’s telecommunications structure. CoFeTel has been replaced by a new telecommunications agency - IFT. At this time there are no procedures in place for US licensees (or those from other nations) to obtain a valid license in Mexico or to operate under a reciprocal agreement.
  2. KC5F

    KC5F Ham Member QRZ Page

    Steve - The link you provide for the FCC is for aliens (Mexicans, in the case of this thread) operating via reciprocal licensing while in the US. Also in the same link, it states, "The FCC does not have or provide information on the specific requirements for reciprocal operation in foreign countries. FCC-licensed amateur operators should make their arrangements with the appropriate governmental agency in the foreign country."

    I've searched through the Mexican government regulations (IFT) and can't find anything that supersedes what the ARRL states. I wish I could, as I'm going to be in the Mexico City area for a while next year and would like to operate without having to search out a ham and use his station and call.
    K0UO likes this.
  3. K0UO

    K0UO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Please, Keep us all posted on what you find. Buying one, may now be the only way$$$$$$$
  4. WD9EWK

    WD9EWK Ham Member QRZ Page

    Unfortunately, it looks like you'll have to do any operating from a Mexican ham's station, using his call.

    Until 2014, either the Communications and Transport Secretariat (SCT - a cabinet-level ministry) or the Federal Telecommunications Commission (CoFeTel - a branch of the SCT) handled amateur licensing in Mexico. The SCT and the FCC signed a reciprocal-operating agreement in Maryland in July 1991. I have a Spanish-language text of the agreement in a PDF file, but haven't been able to locate an English-language text from either the FCC or some other US government entity. CoFeTel was created in the 1990s for - among other purposes - licensing amateur stations.

    When I was traveling to Mexico between 2000 and 2010, I was able to file my paperwork for a permit through the SCT office in the Baja California state capital, Mexicali (across from Calexico and El Centro in California). SCT offices in the Mexican state capitals, along with Mexico City, could accept paperwork for amateur licensing matters on behalf of CoFeTel, which only had offices in Mexico City. I would file the paperwork, then go to a nearby Banamex bank to deposit the permit fee into an SCT bank account. Then it would take a few weeks for the actual permit to be issued in Mexico City, and sent back to the Mexicali SCT office where I could pick it up. CoFeTel honored the agreement signed by the SCT and FCC.

    Even when the FCC ended the requirement for foreign hams to apply for a permit to operate in the US in the late 1990s, Mexico never followed suit. The agreement between the FCC and SCT allowed me to apply for and receive permits on my own in Mexico, without needing a local ham to effectively assume legal responsibility for my operations while in the country. Mexican permits for foreign hams normally had "strings" attached to them - no operating in contests, no DXpeditions, and no island operating. These restrictions were included in the 1991 agreement between the SCT and FCC. These restrictions could be avoided, if foreign hams were listed on permits as operators for a special event with a temporary call sign - something I did in 2003 for a special-event station in Sonora. I still had to apply for a temporary permit to have XE2/WD9EWK as my personal "license", but I operated as part of the special call 4A2Q along with a bunch of hams in that part of northern Mexico.

    Around 2014, the Mexican government created the Federal Telecommunications Institute (IFT), which was not connected to the SCT. This agency is more like the FCC in the USA, independent of cabinet-level departments. Unfortunately, IFT claims it has no legal authority to issue permits to foreign hams, and doesn't recognize the agreements that SCT had signed in the past. The FCC still recognizes the 1991 agreement it signed with the SCT, for Mexican hams who want to operate in the USA.

    Some in Mexico have called upon the authorities to either resume issuing permits to foreign hams, enter into something like the IARP, or just recognize licenses from foreign countries without requring foreign hams to apply for permits. Bureaucracy is slow, and this is certainly the case in Mexico. Unfortunately, I'm not holding my breath on the situation changing. If I want to operate from Mexico, I'll get on the air from a friend's station.

    K0UO likes this.
  5. K0UO

    K0UO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Also if they give you a hassle about having ham equipment in Mexico you always want to tell them "it's Marine Mobile" equipment, I highly recommend you have a Marine license which you can easily obtain.
    Some of the of the Mexicans agent treat the possession of HF radio equipment almost like they do guns.
    It is a Sad State of Affairs that we can't even operate in an adjoining country legally without paying bribes to use somebody's license.
    There's a number of operators in Mexico right now that I hear on HF almost daily running what they call Border Blasters upwards to 10kw. Their licenses aren't listed anywhere I can find either but they're using Mexican calls.
    Many people operating from Mexico are using Marine mobile HF now and checking into some of the cruising Nets for the Caribbean and Pacific.
  6. KJ7OKW

    KJ7OKW XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    This just in...
    I just got back from a two week trip to Mexico. Found a local ham who is quite experienced and he told me (for what it's worth)
    The only way a US citizen can get a ham license with their own unique call sign is to become a citizen of Mexico. This involves moving there, getting permanent residence, living there for 5 years, then applying for citizenship. Then you can get a license. Until then you can use the prefix XE/KJ7OKW (in my case) but only on the 2m and 70cm bands.
    K0UO and N3RYB like this.

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