A short history of the SIAM Photon Source in Thailand is described. The facility is based on the 1 GeV storage ring obtained from the SORTEC consortium in Japan. After a redesign to include insertion straight sections it produced the first light in December 2001 and the first beam line became operational in early 2002. Special difficulties appear when a synchrotron light facility is obtained by donation, which have mostly to do with the absence of human resource development that elsewhere is commonly accomplished during design and construction. Additional problems arise by the distance of a developing country like Thailand from the origin of technical parts of the donation. A donation does not provide time to generate local capabilities or include in the technical design locally obtainable parts. This makes future developments, repairs and maintenance more time consuming, difficult and expensive than it should be. In other cases, parts of components are proprietary or obsolete or both which requires redesign and engineering at a time when the replacement part should be available to prevent stoppage of operation.
The build‐up of a user community is very difficult, especially when the radiation spectrum is confined to the VUV regime. Most of scientific interest these days is focused on the x‐ray regime. Due to its low beam energy, the SIAM storage ring did not produce useful x‐ray intensities and we are therefore in the midst of an upgrade to produce harder radiation. The first step has been achieved with a 20% increase of energy to 1.2 GeV. This step shifts the critical photon energy of bending magnet radiation from 800 eV to 1.4 keV providing useful radiation up to 7 keV. A XAS‐beam line has been completed in 2005 and experimentation is very active by now. The next step is to install a 6.4 T wavelength shifter by the end of 2006 resulting in a critical photon energy of 6.15 keV. Further upgrades are planed for the comming years.