Playas del Coco - Costa Rica

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Ham Vacation at TI7WGI (Gunter)

Important Guest License Information:
In order to apply for a guest license, please write (in Spanish) to:

Barrio Tournon, Diagonal al HSBC
Edificio Los Almendros
frente a la parada de los buses de Los Caribeños en San José
Phone: +506-2211-1200
Fax: +506-2211-1280

Web site


Antennas: 3-Element Beam and G5RV from 80-10m (1KW).




30 A Power Supply available on request.


Its so easy. Just bring your rig and you are on the air.



ARRL DXCC Desk Approves TI9KK Operation (May 21, 2008) -- ARRL DXCC Manager Bill Moore, NC1L,

  reports that the TI9KK 2008 DXpedition to Cocos Island has been approved for DXCC credit. 

  "If you had cards rejected for this operation, please send an e-mail to the ARRL DXCC Desk

   to have your DXCC record updated,"

1912 RTTY QSO  by DH8WR   total TI9KK  17000 QSO

TI7KK NA-191 IOTA DXpedition 2009

In Costa Rica you need a guest license. You can apply at Control Nacional de Radio (Ministerio de Gobernacion y Policia) in San Jose. After paying the license fee, you will receive your license the same day. The license fee (not even $1) must be paid at Banco Nacional de Costa Rica, near the office.

Travel Report by Markus

Welcome in Costa Rica!
Almost 5.000 QSO from Costa Rica and a lot of fun!

The purpose of the following report is to win readers to do a DX-pedition to Costa Rica. Also I like to inform about the nessesary budget.

Where would you like to go?

I just had 2 weeks from the end of February until mid March for my small DX-pedition. Since I also liked to get some sun, the location needed to be outside Europe. I started planning about 3 weeks before my departure. I had a look at by K2KW to look for a suitable location. I picked some locations and sent some emails to the operators. Within a few days, it was clear what was possible and what was not. The answers I got were very interesting. One has to invest up to US$ 2.500 / week for the top stations in the Carribbean. Another OM wanted me to donate a rig and his friend was even asking for US$ 10.000 / week! This was not for me and at the end, there was only one location left: Costa Rica (TI) at the station of Gunter TI7WGI.

Why Costa Rica?

Costa Rica was good for several reasons. First I had never visited South or Central America and second I also liked to do some sightseeing, not only be on the air. Costa Rica with its overwhelming flora and fauna offers it all. After deciding for TI I wrote to Gunter and told him I will come. He gave me some valuable information about the guest license and recomended a hotel near San José for the first night. Shortly after we had our first conversation on 15m, where we discussed a lot of details.

How do you get to Costa Rica?

There are plenty of flights to Costa Rica. From Europe, you fly via the USA. For me, Stuttgart – Paris – Caracas – San José was the best connection. If you book on time, you will get a ticket from € 700 and the flight takes about 15 hours including the stops.

Arrival in San José

After landing in San José, I took a taxi to Hotel „La Trinidad“ in Alajuela. It is a small place run by a German couple from Nürtingen who gave me a cosy feeling! I was staying there for several nights and did some trips to Nation Parks. It was interesting to hear that the TI9-Expedition, well organized by Henry - TI2HMG, was also staying in this hotel.

The Guest License

Costa Rica does not issue TI-calls to foreigners. So guests get their home call / TI8. You receive your guest license in San José. All you need is a copy of your passport and your Ham Radio License. After paying your license fee at the bank, you will receive your guest license. It is all done in 2 hours.

Arrival at Gunter (TI7WGI) in Playa del Coco

The bus takes about 5 hours from San José to Playa del Coco. Gunters QTH is located on the Pacific Coast in the north west of Costa Rica, about 150 miles from San José. He runs a small hotel called „Casa Talamanca“. The bus driver held directly in front of his hotel, where Gunter was waiting already. After seeing his station (FT-101, SB-200 and TH4 on a 60 feet tower) we went to have dinner at the beach. I brought my TS-850S and I could use Gunters computer to log my QSOs.

The Pile-Up

Even if the QTH is on the pacific coast far away from Europe and the US East Coast, I was surprized by the big signals. The entire country was in front of my main beam direction. I could work the USA and Europa almost the whole day. With 1450 QSO (CW / SSB) and 3350 QSO in ARRL-DX-Contest (SSB) I could reach rates up to 240 QSOs/hour. I was not using the amp during the contest and also other times, I almost never needed it. This shows you how good the location is. I could see life that a European Pile-Up is one of the biggest challanges. The disciplin of the Europeans, incl. the Germans, did not allow as many QSOs as to the USA or Japan.
It is really not as bad as one can read in DX-pedition reports! Of course I could have done more QSOs but the location is at the beach and a lot of day trips can be done from Gunters hotel. So my priority was not Ham Radio this time.


Life in Costa Rica is cheaper than in Germany. I paid about US$ 15/per night in a single room including breakfast. Taxis and busses are only a fraction of the price at home.
For more information, just have a look through these pages.

if you like to spend awesome Ham Radio Vacation, Costa Rica is made for you.

Have Fun!

         OM Gunter TI7WGI                                   QSL-Card of Gunter                           TI9KK License of Gunter

TI7 Guanacaste HAM Radio Group

Isla del Coco - DXpedition TI9KK 2008


Gunter the owner of the Bed & Breakfast CASA TALAMANCA lives since 1986 in Costa Rica, and loves his new home country. Günter knows a lot of secret trips and offers organised trips to waterfalls, national parks and volcanoes.