Amateur apparatus licences | ACMA

Amateur apparatus licences

This page provides information about the licensing arrangements applicable to the amateur apparatus licence type.

The amateur service is intended for hobby radiocommunications and technical experimentation, and operates on specified frequency bands. Amateur radio operators can communicate using many transmission modes including Morse code, telephony and data.

Anyone can listen to the amateur bands using a receiver. To transmit, you need to have the appropriate operator qualifications and an apparatus licence from the ACMA for your transmitter. Use the links below to find the information you need.

  1. Amateur licence options

  2. Qualifications

  3. Operator examinations

  4. Minimum age

  5. Licence conditions

  6. Callsigns

  7. Duration

  8. Other issues

  9. Applying for an apparatus licence

  10. Fees

  11. Transfer of apparatus licences

  12. ITU references

  13. Further information

Amateur licence options

There are five options for the amateur apparatus licence:


The advanced licensing option allows operation on all bands allocated to amateurs in Australia.


The standard licensing option allows restricted operation on the 3.5, 7, 14, 21, 28, 52, 144, 430, 1240, 2400 and 5650 MHz amateur bands.


The foundation licensing option allows restricted operation on the 3.5, 7, 21, 28, 144 and 430 MHz amateur bands.


The amateur repeater licensing option authorises the operation of stations that automatically re-transmit transmissions from other amateur stations. Amateur repeaters are used to improve the communications coverage of the amateur service. They are usually sited to take advantage of terrain characteristics that enhance coverage.

They may employ either two-frequency (receive information transmitted from amateur stations on one frequency and re-transmit it on another) or single-frequency (receive and transmit on the same frequency using information storage and delayed transmission techniques) operating modes.

A decision to refuse to issue an apparatus licence or to impose conditions upon the apparatus licence is a reviewable decision. Read more about the ACMA's principles for decision making.

Amateurs may only gain access to repeaters that have input and output frequencies within bands authorised under the amateur's own licence.


Amateur beacons are used by other amateur stations, principally for the purpose of identifying propagation conditions—that is, the effect the earth's atmospheric layers and space have on radiofrequency emissions.

For more detailed technical information about these licence options, refer to the Radiocommunications Licence Conditions (Amateur Licence) Determination 2015 (the Amateur LCD).


Article 25 of the Radio Regulations of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) requires administrations such as the ACMA to verify the operational and technical qualifications of anyone wishing to operate an amateur station.

Under the Radiocommunications Act 1992, you must be qualified to operate transmitters under an amateur licence. This table lists the various Australian amateur qualifications required for each licensing option.

Proficiency requirements for amateur licensing options

Licensing option

Minimum qualifications required


  1. Amateur Operator's Certificate of Proficiency (Advanced) (AOCP(A))

  2. Amateur Operator's Certificate of Proficiency (AOCP)

  3. Amateur Operator's Limited Certificate of Proficiency (AOLCP).


  1. Amateur Operator's Certificate of Proficiency (Standard) (AOCP(S))

  2. Novice Amateur Operator's Certificate of Proficiency (NAOCP)

  3. Novice Limited Amateur Operator's Certificate of Proficiency (NLAOCP).


  1. Amateur Operator's Certificate of Proficiency (Foundation) (AOCP(F)).

Repeater and beacon

  1. Amateur Operator's Certificate of Proficiency (Advanced) (AOCP(A))

  2. Amateur Operator's Certificate of Proficiency (AOCP)

  3. Amateur Operator's Limited Certificate of Proficiency (AOLCP)

  4. Amateur Operator's Certificate of Proficiency (Standard) (AOCP(S))

  5. Novice Amateur Operator's Certificate of Proficiency (NAOCP)

  6. Novice Limited Amateur Operator's Certificate of Proficiency (NLAOCP).

An advanced, standard or foundation licence can also be issued to anyone holding a:

  1. Radiocommunications General Certificate of Proficiency (any country)

  2. First or Second Class Commercial Operator's Certificate of Proficiency (any country)

  3. Senior Coast or Coast Station Operator's Certificate of Proficiency.

International amateur qualifications or licences are accepted for issuing licences in accordance with reciprocal licensing arrangements.

Operator examinations

To become a qualified operator, you will need to study and pass an exam. Information about examinations, exam exemptions and syllabi is in the amateur examinations and certification. Should you wish to be come a qualified operator, please contact the Australian Maritime College.

Minimum age

There is no minimum age requirement to operate an amateur station. Amateur apparatus licences will be issued to you if you have passed the relevant examinations and can demonstrate the necessary knowledge and skills.

Licence conditions

Conditions are applied to individual apparatus licences to enable users to communicate effectively with a minimum of interference. Users should ensure compliance with all conditions relating to their individual apparatus licence and any common licence conditions which apply from any relevant licence condition determinations (LCD) made by the ACMA.

Licence condition determinations

The Radiocommunications Licence Condition (Apparatus Licence) Determination 2015 contains licence conditions that are common to all amateur apparatus licences.

These conditions include the type of permitted communications, who the operator is permitted to communicate with, callsign usage and relevant equipment specifications.

An advisory note is automatically attached to licences where an LCD is in force. The advisory note references the applicable LCD.

The licence conditions imposed through the relevant LCD may change from time-to-time, so make sure you're aware of the current conditions imposed by the ACMA.

Amateur stations cannot generally be authorised to operate outside of the provisions of an LCD. However, upon approval of an application by a licensee, special conditions may be added by the ACMA to an amateur licence authorising the use of higher powers for Earth-Moon-Earth communications other than that contained in the LCD .

Operation other than under licence conditions determinations

Other than those circumstances mentioned under licence conditions determinations, if you want to operate in a way other than that provided for in the amateur LCD, you will need to apply for a Scientific apparatus licence.

Special conditions

Any conditions which apply to an individual licence but are not included in the LCD, will be printed on the licence under the heading 'Special Conditions'.

In relation to amateur repeater and beacon licences, an accredited person may ask the ACMA to impose one or more special conditions on your licence, depending on the circumstances of the frequency assignments of your licence.

Radiocommunications equipment

Radiocommunications equipment authorised by an amateur licence is subject to:

  1. conditions specified in the Radiocommunications Act 1992, including an obligation to comply with the Act

  2. a condition that any radiocommunication device operated under the licence must comply with all standards that apply to it

  3. conditions specified in any determinations made by the ACMA under paragraph 107(1)(f) of the Act

  4. any other conditions specified in the licence

  5. any further conditions imposed by the ACMA under section 111 of the Act.

Location of amateur stations

A special condition is attached to all amateur apparatus licences indicating the location of the station. For example,

'This licence authorises the operation of an amateur station at (address of station).'

Club stations

Two special conditions are attached to club stations:

'This Amateur station is a club station and must be operated in accordance with the Radiocommunications Licence Conditions (Amateur Licence) Determination 2015 that equates to the qualifications held by the operator of the station.'

'The licensee of a club station shall keep a log book in which must be entered:

  1. chronological record of all transmissions;

  2. the frequency and type of emission used;

  3. the station(s) communicated with; and

  4. the name and callsign of the qualified person operating the station.'

Advisory notes

Advisory notes, providing additional operational information, are printed on your licence under the heading 'Advisory Notes'.

In relation to amateur repeater and beacon licences, an accredited person may ask the ACMA to impose one or more advisory notes on the licences according to the circumstances in which the frequency assignments for the licence are made.


Call signs are a unique series of letters and/or numbers allocated to a radiocommunications user for identification purposes. Call signs are assigned by the ACMA on issue of a licence.  


Apparatus licences are issued for periods varying from one day to up to five years. However, the most common period is one year.

Other issues

Operating restrictions in 420–430 MHz frequency band in certain locations

The amateur LCD prohibits the operation of amateur stations in the frequency band 420–430 MHz in certain locations to minimise the risk of interference to government emergency networks that operate in this frequency band.

Restrictions on operating amateur stations in 50–52 MHz frequency band

The Amateur LCD restricts the operation of amateur advanced, beacon and repeater stations within the frequency band 50 MHz to 52 MHz to ensure interference is not caused to the reception of television channel 0 VHF transmissions.

News and information transmissions

The amateur LCD authorises the transmission of news and information related to the operation of amateur stations. Such transmissions must be used as a means of facilitating intercommunication. They must not be, or include, an advertisement, and must not include any form of entertainment.

Amateur repeaters

All amateur repeaters operated by one licensee at a site may be authorised under a single amateur licence authorising an amateur repeater station. Under such an arrangement, it is necessary for all amateur repeaters to operate under the same callsign. Where different callsigns are required, every repeater will have to be licensed separately.

Repeater cross-linking

Amateur groups may be granted approval to permanently cross-link repeater stations subject to the following requirements:

  1. linking must not be carried out in the same amateur band or in bands below 50 MHz

  2. links should only be activated when a signal is received at a 'linked repeater'.

All links associated with the amateur repeaters may also (providing they operate within amateur spectrum) be authorised under the associated amateur repeater licence.

Amateur beacons

All amateur beacon stations operated by one licensee at a site may be authorised under a single amateur beacon station licence, but they must operate under the same callsign. Where different callsigns are required, every beacon will have to be licensed separately.

Club stations

Clubs, schools, colleges, institutes, and similar organisations may apply for a licence to establish an amateur station. The organisation must nominate a qualified person who will be responsible for the supervision, operation and control of the station.

Because it allows flexibility of operation, a club station is issued an advanced amateur licence. However, the club station must operate at the level of the qualified operator the station. If you are qualified at a level less than an advanced amateur, your club station must only be operated at your level. For example, you are qualified as a standard amateur, your club station must be operated as a standard amateur station.

Special conditions are attached to licences that authorise the operation of a club station in the amateur bands.

Amateur internet linking systems

An Amateur Internet Linking System (AILS) is a system that uses the internet to connect amateur operators in Australia with other amateur operators in Australia and overseas. AILS operations, like all amateur activities, must be in accordance with the regulatory arrangements established by the ACMA for amateur licence conditions.

It should be noted that an AILS must not be used to extend, in Australia or overseas, the access privileges of any amateur.

Further information about AILS can be obtained from the AILS fact sheet.

Third-party traffic

'Third-party traffic' is a message passed from one amateur to another on behalf of another person who is not a licensed amateur.

While third-party traffic is not restricted in Australia, you should respect any restrictions that apply to amateur stations in foreign countries (see Section 5, including the Note, of the Amateur LCD).

You should also be aware that, while Australia does not consider messages passed between two amateurs on behalf of a third amateur to be third-party traffic, other countries may.

Licensing of amateurs associated with Jamborees on the Air

Jamborees on the Air (JOTA), are annual activities where amateur operators assist Guides Australia and Scout Associations to use amateur radiocommunications devices to make contact with similar organisations throughout the world.

In keeping with normal licensing arrangements, all stations must be appropriately licensed, and appropriately qualified amateurs must be in control of the stations. If you wish to change your callsign for JOTA, you should apply for a short term licence with a callsign from the block reserved for Guides Australia (VK$GGA-GGZ) or Scout Associations (VK$SAA-SDZ). The ACMA charges a fee for short-term licences.

High power transmissions

To enable experimentation involving Earth-moon-Earth communications, advanced amateur licence holders can apply to the ACMA to use a transmitter power higher than that permitted under the amateur LCD. 


You should be aware of the following requirements:

  1. The applicant must be the holder of an advanced amateur licence.

  2. Use the ACMA's form R077 (Additional Station Information) to provide supplementary information.

  3. High power operation will only be approved for experimentation involving the reflection of signals from a celestial body.

  4. Operation must be in amateur bands above 50 MHz.

  5. You must satisfy the ACMA that your proposed signal levels from the station comply with the radiofrequency emission limits stipulated in the ARPANSA standard (see footnote).

  6. The ACMA may inspect your station at any reasonable time.

  7. The maximum period of approval will be 12 months or the duration of the current amateur licence, whichever is less.

  8. Extensions of the approval for up to 12 months may be granted if you certify that the station has not changed in any way since you were granted approval for high power operation.

  9. If you are approved, special conditions will be added to your licence.

  10. You are responsible for all costs including licence variation fees and station inspection fees.

  11. You must notify the ACMA of any station changes which may affect conformity with the ARPANSA standard.

  12. Applicants should be aware of the provisions of the Radiocommunications Licence Conditions (Apparatus Licence) Determination 2015.

Footnote: ARPANSA standard means the Radiation Protection Standard for Maximum Exposure Levels to Radiofrequency Fields - 3 kHz to 300 GHz 2002 published by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency.

The ARPANSA standard may be obtained from the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency website

Applying for an apparatus licence

You can apply for an apparatus licence with the Licence Issue and Allocation Section, ACMA, Canberra. To apply, you must complete the appropriate ACMA spectrum form.

If frequency assignments are required for your licence, the frequency coordination work may be performed either by the ACMA or an accredited person. If the work is to be done by the ACMA, you should also submit the Application for Additional Station Information (R077) form with your licence application.

If you wish to use the services of an accredited person, refer to the list of accredited persons for contact details. An accredited person will issue you with a frequency assignment certificate, which should be submitted with the licence application to the ACMA. Accredited persons are not employed by the ACMA, and the ACMA is not responsible for the work of accredited persons.

Read more about about accreditation.

Third-party authorisations

While you may authorise a third party to operate your station, there are limitations on:

  1. who can be given third-party authorisation

  2. how a station may operate under a third-party authorisation.

You may only third-party authorise someone who has the same or higher qualification as yours, or an overseas equivalent. For example, if you are a licensed advanced amateur operator, you may only issue a third-party authorisation to another amateur operator to operate the station if the other amateur is qualified to operate an advanced amateur station. This means that the third party must have an Australian qualification to that level, or hold an overseas qualification that is considered to be equivalent to that level.

Amateur station operators must only operate the station under circumstances that apply to that station. For example, while a licensed standard amateur may issue a third-party authorisation to someone who is qualified as an advanced amateur, that third party may only operate the station to standard amateur conditions.

As long as a qualified operator is actually operating (adjusting the controls, etc.) an amateur station, other persons, whether qualified or not, are permitted to communicate through the amateur equipment. Third-party authorisations are not required for this purpose.


Spectrum is a valuable resource. Fees are intended to ensure a fair return to the Commonwealth for the private use of this valuable public resource. Licence fees are set having regard to spectrum location, geographical location, amount of spectrum occupied and coverage area authorised by the licence.

Detailed information about fees is provided in the Apparatus Licence Fee Schedule.

Licence fee exemptions

If your amateur station is used to assist an exempt body, your licence may be exempt from the payment of licence fees. The following special condition is attached to any licence granted an exemption on the basis of assisting an exempt body:

'A transmitter may only be operated under this licence for the sole or principal purpose of assisting a body to which subregulations 5(7) or 5(8) of the Radiocommunications Taxes Collection Regulations apply.'

If you believe that your station may qualify for an exemption, contact your nearest ACMA office. You will need to complete an Application for Licence Fee Exemption or Concession (.docx, R038) form and the exempt body will need to verify that you are operating your station solely or principally to assist it.

For further information, see Licence Fee Exemptions and Concessions.

Transfers of apparatus licence

Apparatus licences may be transferred. If you wish to transfer an apparatus licence, you should complete the form Application for Transfer of Apparatus Licence(s) (R060). Both the licensee and the transferee must sign the transfer form. You are required to pay a transfer charge to cover the ACMA's administrative expenses. Please note that amateur licences can only be transferred to persons having the appropriate qualifications.

There are a number of limitations on the transfer of apparatus licences, specified in the Radiocommunications (Limitation of Authorisation of Third Party Users and Transfer of Apparatus Licences) Determination 2015.  A device authorised by a transferred licence is still required to operate under the same technical conditions (including transmission site) specified on that licence.

When a licence is transferred, the callsign assigned to the licence is also transferred.

ITU references

The various ITU references pertaining to amateur licensing may be found in International Telecommunication Union (ITU) references.

Further information

If you have any further questions about licensing, please contact the ACMA's Customer Service Centre on 1300 850 115 or

Last updated: 21 May 2019