To be qualified as a Ham and in order that you can be authorized to use a wireless transceiver, you need to pass an examination conducted by a qualified Ham under the aegis of the BICMA (Bhutan InfoCom and Media Authority, Ministry of Communications, Royal Government of Bhutan). Although BICMA is the regulatory authority that will issue you the licence and the call sign, I am afraid that they do not have a trained Ham who is capable to impart training or conduct examinations.
You need to be knowledgeable in subjects such as ITU’s (International Telecommunications Union) and our own laws governing telecommunications, amateur radio etiquette and, at the least, 5 WPM (5 words per minute) Morse code capability. Although Morse code around the world is no longer a necessity, BICMA’s rules still require you to pass the test in Morse code.
So, if you are interested to go into Ham radio, you first need to learn all the above and then request the BICMA to conduct the exams for you. However, as I said, they don’t have that capability in-house … so they will have to call in someone from outside - closest being from India. They may be willing to do that for you - provided you pay the expenses for the examiner to come to Bhutan and conduct the exams.
If you are really serious and if you are willing to wait until July, 2013, there is someone (of the highest class) coming to Bhutan during that time and will be in Bhutan for over a month. Let me know. I will be happy to request the person to arrange a training for you as well as anyone else interested, so that you can study for the examination which he will conduct under the authority of the BICMA. If you pass, you will get your licnece. Without a licence, it is illegal to operate a wireless set.
Regarding the equipment … all that you need is a transceiver, mike, keyer and a simple antennae to start with. The cost really depends on the type of equipment you want. It can start anywhere from US$ 300.00 for the complete set to all the way to US$500,000.00 which would include Yagi beams and powerful Amps and top-of-the-range transceivers and a gamut of other paraphernalia. If you don’t have the money for the set, I can help by lending you mine - I have about 7 full sets. But without first making sure that you have a licence to operate the wirless sets, I will claw out your eyeballs - if you even so much as look at them :)- Wireless equipment in the hands of irresponsible people can be a very, very dangerous tool!
Once you are on the air, if you have the time, you can have a blast. You will make friends around the world - from Kings to astronauts to doctors to inventors to lawyers to pirates in the Caribbean. There is only one danger – your wife might throw you out into the street from time to time since wireless transmission causes serious disruption in the reception of TV signals :)