Digital modes for foundation licensees and call sign policy
In September 2019, the ACMA made changes to the Radiocommunications Licence Conditions (Amateur Licence) Determination 2015 (the LCD).
One of those changes allowed foundation licensees to use digital modes; however, the foundation call sign structure is not compatible with all digital modes.
Because the call sign structure is not a concern of the ACMA’s regulatory functions, we believe that this administrative policy should be guided by the consensus view within the amateur radio community.
To implement the changes to the LCD, the ACMA and the AMC considered submissions on call sign policy from both the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) and the Radio Amateur Society of Australia (RASA).
Changes to call signs
We are making changes that will facilitate access to a wider range of digital modes for foundation licensees, and provide a ‘call sign for life’ for all licensees by:
- allowing all amateurs to obtain a 3 letter call sign
- removing the association between call sign suffixes and qualifications.
If you have a foundation, standard or advanced licence, you can apply to the AMC for any available 3 letter call sign.
If you have already upgraded your 4 letter Foundation callsign to a 3 letter callsign, you can keep it if you are upgrading your qualification to Standard or Advanced. However, if you have a Foundation 4 letter call sign (Fxxx) you will be required to change your call sign if you upgrade to Standard or Advanced.
Two-letter call signs remain available to advanced licensees only.
Call signs and state/territory identifiers
Call signs traditionally indicated the state or territory where an amateur resides—for example, VK3 indicates that the licensee resides in Victoria.
Applying for new call signs
If you’re applying for a new call sign, you’ll continue to be issued with a call sign that indicates your state or territory of residence.
Moving interstate or changing location
It has been long-standing operational policy that amateurs moving interstate must get a new call sign. However, it is no longer a requirement to get a new call sign when you move interstate, although you can get one if you wish.
Under the LCD, if you’re going to operate an amateur station at a different location for a continuous period longer than 4 months (or 7 days for a repeater or beacon), you should ask the ACMA to consider varying the licence to change the location.