Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX), HS1A, died on October 13, after a long period of declining health. Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, while his physician father was at Harvard University, the king, whose name translated as “strength of the land, incomparable power,” was 88.
According to noted DXer Fred Laun, K3ZO/HS0ZAR, the king “was never very active on the air, and, to my knowledge, the only QSOs he ever made were from a handheld on 2 meter FM.” He said HS1A was often “pictured using a handheld.” He also was pictured with a camera, as photography was one of his passions, and he was a jazz enthusiast, who played the saxophone.
The Radio Amateur Society of Thailand (RAST), the country’s IARU member society, said on its website that the king was “presented the call sign HS1A by the Ministry of Communications at Chitrlada Palace” in 1989 in a ceremony witnessed by RAST officers. He was the ninth monarch of the Chakri Dynasty, having ascended to the throne in June of 1946, and was the world’s longest-reigning monarch. — Thanks to The Daily DX and other media outlets