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Foundation Licence

The Foundation Licence

Your Entry Into Amateur Radio

The hobby of Amateur Radio has a long and proud tradition. The very first radio amateurs were true pioneers of radio technology. Amateurs 'invented' and refined much of the early radio technology and were the first to transmit music, radio plays, and information to the handful of people who had the new fangled radio receivers.

After World War II the hobby of amateur radio flourished. Radio clubs sprang up in schools all over the world and kids went home each night to build some new contraption, or have a chat with someone over the wireless. These young people became the mainstay of the technical professions and developed much of the modern technology we use today.

Sir Henry Jackson - Radio Pioneer

Things You Will Need To Know

The emphasis is on candidates having the knowledge of skills to demonstrate a practical ability to put together an amateur radio station from commercial equipment and operate it without causing interference to other users and have the knowledge to be a competent radio operator.

You will also need to be aware of how amateur radio relates to other users of the radio spectrum, your licence conditions, technical basics of electricity and electronics, transmitters, receivers, feedlines and antennas, propagation, electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), and electromagnetic radiation (EMR).


Radio Bands You Can Use

The foundation licence operator can operate in the bands listed below using the modes listed in the right hand column. The foundation licence operator can only use commercially manufactured equipment.

Radio band


Permitted Emission Modes
80 Metres 3.500 MHz - 3.700 MHz

Amplitude Modulation (AM) voice
Single Side Band (SSB) voice
Hand Keyed Morse Code

40 Metres 7.0 00 MHz - 7.300 MHz
15 Metres 21.000 MHz - 21.450 MHz
10 Metres 28.000 MHz - 29.700 MHz Amplitude Modulation (AM) voice
Single Side Band (SSB) voice
Hand Keyed Morse Code
Frequency Modulation (FM) voice
2 Metres 144 MHz - 148 MHz
70 Centimetres 430 MHz - 450 MHz


Distances You Can Work

Radio band

Distance & Coverage

3.5MHz (80 metres) Typically up to 150KM during the day and up to 3000KM at night.
7MHz (40 metres) Typically up to 1000KM during the day and during good conditions world wide at night.
21 MHz (15 metres) World wide mostly during the day.
28 MHz (10 metres) World wide during periods of high sunspot activity and up to 3000km in summer.
144MHz (2 metres) Local coverage and world wide via "IRLP" and EchoLink.
432MHz (70cm)  Local coverage, over 2000 km using something known as tropospheric ducting and world wide via "IRLP" and EchoLink.  


The Foundation Manual

The WIA has produced a book called the Foundation Licence Manual. It is a full color manual consisting of 108 pages of relevant information for those studying, or those who would just like a reference book for Foundation Licence Operators.

The manual contains all the relevant information you will need to know to successfully complete a training course to obtain a foundation licence. It also contains a wealth of information a Foundation Licence operator will need. Items like Band Plans, Electrical Safety information, operating procedures such as the Q code, how to contact you local radio club, the WIA and much more.

Budding candidates can obtain the Foundation Licence Handbook from several sources. It can be purchased by clicking Foundation Manaul on the left hand menu bar of this webpage, from the WIA office in Melbourne, via many radio clubs throughout Australia, from most amateur radio equipment suppliers. The price for the Foundation Manual is $24.50 plus postage, WIA members can purchase the Foundation Manual at the special members price of $19.50 plus postage,

Radio Clubs And Training Courses

Radio clubs are the ideal place to learn all about the hobby of amateur radio, you get to meet other amateurs, attend interesting lectures, and find out lots of information, you will quickly learn of the hundreds of different facets to the hobby. There are over 70 radio clubs right around Australia running training courses to help people to get their foundation licence and to get into the hobby of amateur radio. The time taken for a training course is typically around 12 hours however this will vary from club to club, some offer training courses over several week nights and some over a weekend. Contact details for radio clubs offering training and assesments details can be found Here on the WIA website.


To obtain your amateur radio licence you will need to have successfully completed the required assessments. Once you feel you are ready, having completed your training either through a radio club course or through self study, you will need to book yourself in to be assessed. Radio clubs typically run assessments as part of their training courses, however you may also choose to contact a club or assessor and arrange for an assessment at a time that is mutually convneient between yourself and the assessor. The following Link will put you in touch with clubs and assessors . The foundation licence assessment has two components taking around an hour or so to complete. The first being a 25 question multiple choice assessment paper, the second being a hands on practical assessment. Once you have sucessfully completed both you will be able to choose an available callsign and apply for your amateur licence.

The practical assessment is required not only for foundation but also for standard and advanced licence grades. However a practical assessment only needs to be completed once, so by successfully completing a practical assessment as part of your foundation licence you will not be required to repeat it should you decide to upgrade to the standard or advanced licence grades. Even if you are an existing licenced amateur who received your licence before the requirement for a practical assessment was introduced and you wish to upgrade your licence, then you too will need to complete a practical assessment if you have not already done so.

Fees And Charges

Any fees or charges associated with foundation licence training are up to the radio clubs conducting the training. You will need to check with your local club to find out what their fees are.

The WIA charge for a foundation licence assessment is $70.00 or $35.00 if you are under the age of 18
The foundation licence is issued by ACMA and the licence fee for ain initial licence is currently $75 with a $51 annual licence renewal fee after the first year.

Remote Assessments

The WIA has made provision to conduct remote assessments for those people who live a long distance from a radio club or an assessor. A specially trained assessor will be able to conduct the assessment (via the phone) the candidate will need to be in the presence of a person, such as a local policeman or school headmaster. If you are one of these people and you would like more information you should contact the WIA

Services The WIA Provides

The WIA is the peak body representing amateur radio to ACMA, the government instrumentality who administers the radio spectrum, it also represents Australian amateurs internationally.; The WIA also produces a monthly magazine set to members, weekly broadcasts, provides a bookshop with a discount for members, works closely with the 100 affiliated radio clubs, provides the amateur examination service and helps members with the many questions and information they need to make the hobby more enjoyable.

Further Information

The Internet is a great source of information on amateur radio, the WIA website has a lot of information including links to club websites and a link to the WIA broadcast pages. You can down load last weeks or up to two year of broadcast and listen to the on MP3 files. The WIA website is  Other sites are the American Radio Relay League at the Radio Society of Great Britain at Radio Amateurs of Canada at If you search the web you will find thousands of site world wide that have been set up by radio clubs and individual amateurs, after all there are around three million of us.

Who To Contact

The WIA does not have the resources to answer a large number of telephone enquiries All questions should be directed to you nearest club as listed in the club section of the WIA website or e-mail us with your question at