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 and a licence issued by the ACMA are 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.
Changes to the VK9 licensing arrangements
From 1 November 2009 the licensing arrangements for the VK9 call area became the same as for the other Australian call areas.
Licences issued to Amateurs, other than visiting overseas amateurs, to authorise operation in the External Territories (VK9) are issued for the period requested by the applicant (up to five years). Unless a short term licence (less than one year) is specifically requested, the licence is not subject to a renewal bar. This provision applies regardless of whether the applicant is a visitor or permanent resident or does not provide a 'station address'.
Apparatus licences issued to visiting overseas amateurs are issued for a period of one year unless a short term licence is specifically requested. Licences issued to visiting overseas amateurs are not automatically renewed.
Where a station address cannot be provided, for example on an uninhabited island, the station location is the name of the island.
All VK9 licensees, including overseas visitors, are able to operate under the portable provisions of the Radiocommunications Licence Conditions (Amateur Licence) Determination No.1 of 1997, in any External Territory or mainland state or territory.
Although the structure of callsigns allocated to amateur licences authorising operation in the External Territories (VK9) reflects the three licence categories (Advanced, Standard or Foundation), they do not include a letter to denote a specific operating location.
Certificate of proficiency and callsign arrangements
On 28 January 2009, the ACMA contracted the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) to issue amateur certificates of proficiency and manage amateur callsigns, in addition to the provision of amateur examinations. The WIA provides these services to the amateur community as the ACMA’s authorised delegate.
The WIA also issues callsign recommendations to amateurs wishing to be issued an amateur licence. This includes amateurs who wish to vary their licences (where there is a change in callsign).
Details of the administrative arrangements for examinations and issuing Certificates of Proficiency are set out in the WIA Business Rules for the management of Amateur Examinations, Certificates of Proficiency and Associated Administrative Service - Word (325 kb) or PDF (669 kb).
Further information may be obtained from the WIA via their website www.wia.org.au
The key documents pertaining to amateur licensing are:
- Amateur licence information paper - Provides a summary of most matters pertaining to amateur licensing in Australia.
- Amateur examinations and certification - Provides a summary of how to become a qualified operator for the purposes of being issued an amateur transmitter licence. Examination and certification services are provided by the WIA, a delegate of the ACMA. Links to the relevant syllabi may also be found on this page.
- Amateur callsigns - Provides a summary of callsign structure. Callsign management services are provided by the WIA, a delegate of the ACMA.
- Operating procedures - Provides a summary of amateur operating practices, including some conditions relevant to the operation of amateur stations in Australia. Links to the legislation governing the operation of amateur stations in Australia may be found on this page.
- Overseas amateurs visiting Australia - Provides a summary of the licensing arrangements pertaining to overseas visitors, including a class licence that authorises operation for up to three months, subject to the conditions of the licence.