Wireless Institute of Australia

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Who are radio amateurs?
They are at first sight, just ordinary citizens, including some of your neighbours or work colleagues, and people in more than 100 countries. They are radio amateurs – also known as ham operators, or amateur radio operators. They are people who are interested in communicating and interested in experimenting and learning about modern technologies involved in the burgeoning fields of information and communications they are ordinary people with more than ordinary interests. They are people who see themselves as part of an international community of more than 3 million amateurs around the world, and part of the Australian national community of some 20 000 licenced amateur operators. They are people who are willing to devote their hearts and minds to community service when the need for communications can best be met by the amateur radio service. They are people who lend their knowledge to the training and education of others…they are indeed ordinary Australians with more than ordinary interests and more than ordinary skills developed through amateur radio.
Wireless Institute of Australia

Albury Wodonga Amateur Radio Club


About Australian Amateur Licensing


The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is Australia’s regulator for broadcasting, the internet, radiocommunications and telecommunications. The ACMA administers spectrum use through the provisions of the Radiocommunications Act 1992 (the Act).

ACMA allocates access to the radiofrequency spectrum through one of three licence types: Spectrum, Apparatus or Class licences. The Amateur Service falls within the Apparatus licence category.

The amateur service is designed primarily to facilitate hobby radiocommunications and for technical experimentation and operates on specified frequency bands. Amateur radio operators communicate using transmission modes including, but not limited to, Morse code, telephony and data.

Anyone can listen to the amateur bands using a receiver, but to transmit, operator qualifications, issued by the WIA (see below), and a licence issued by ACMA is required.

An amateur apparatus licence is issued to authorise a station that:

  •  is operated for the purposes of self-training in radiocommunications; intercommunication using radiocommunications; and
  • technical investigation into radiocommunications by persons who do so solely with a personal aim; and
  • who have no pecuniary interest in the outcome of the operations of the station;
  • is operated on amateur frequencies or amateur frequency bands; and may participate in the amateur-satellite service.

In Australia there are five amateur station licence types that are issued to qualified persons, these are:

  • Amateur Foundation Station (base level entry);
  • Amateur Standard Station;
  • Amateur Advanced Station;
  • Amateur Repeater Station; and
  • Amateur Beacon Station

The licence will only be issued to a suitably qualified person and subject to the conditions contained in the Licence Conditions (Amateur Station) Determination (LCD).

One of the conditions of a licence is the issuing of an Amateur Station call sign for on air identification purposes. Callsigns are not an “entity” in their own right, and only exist with valid station licence. For further information on callsigns see below. Information on callsign structure and special callsigns see tabs to the right hand side.

Amateur station licences can be taken out for periods from generally one year up to five years. The current ACMA amateur station licence fee for a one year licence is $74, or $49 for a licence variation fee if transitioning from an existing licence. Details of fees for multi year amateur station licences can been found in Table 7.2 of the ACMA “Apparatus Licence Fee Schedule”. Link
Certificates Of Proficiency

Since 2 February 2009, the WIA has issued amateur certificates of proficiency, in addition to conducting amateur examinations (including special examinations).

Since 2 March 2009, the WIA has been responsible for the management of all levels of amateur callsigns, including special event, repeater and beacon callsigns. Under the new arrangements, all amateurs wishing to be issued a callsign must apply to the WIA for a callsign recommendation. Upon application, the WIA will provide a recommendation for an appropriate callsign. This recommendation will be a necessary part of ACMA’s amateur transmitter licence application and variation process.

This recommendation will be relied on by ACMA when issuing a licence or varying a licence. A callsign is a condition of a licence, and ACMA remains the licensing authority, issuing or varying amateur licences in accordance with the Radiocommunications Act 1992.

This part provides a Guide to Callsigns, the Public List of Available Callsigns and a Guide to Certificates of Proficiency.
Wireless Institute of Australia