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2020 News Releases




Future of Amateur Radio Poll #1

Date : 03 / 02 / 2020
Author : WIA Board

Call to Action:

When the foundation license was made available in the mid 2000’s a decision was taken at the time to create a “4 letter” callsign that would distinctly identify foundation users.

This callsign - colloquially known as a “F” call has remained in existence from this time.

Recent changes to the License Conditions Determination (LCD) have permitted operators with foundation licenses to operate digital modes.

One of the challenges that has been created is that a number of the digital modes require, by design, a callsign that does not exceed 6 characters. The current “F” call has 7.

This has resulted in a situation whereby foundation licensees are unable to fully leverage the new license conditions in the manner that was intended by the updates to the LCD.

The WIA predicted this challenge in our joint response to the ACMA LCD consultation process in August 2019.

During the process of developing the joint submission to the ACMA a number of key issues were considered prior to making the recommendations that were made in this submission.

* The purpose of callsigns

* The demonstrated negative social impact associated with the existing F call arrangement e.g. Callsign discrimination

* Changes in technology over the past 15 years

* The social benefit of various options presented

Selection Criteria:

It is the view of the Wireless Institute of Australia that any callsign changes should:

* Permit the use of all digital modes by foundation users

* Conform to the international Amateur Radio Service 6-character callsign format

* Encourage inclusive behaviour within Amateur Radio.

* Be aligned with the WIA’s “call sign for life” vision

* Permit simple implementation without significant cost or new administrative processes

* Present no material impact to other operators’ quiet enjoyment of the amateur service.

* Scale to support amateurs into the future

This document describes the options that have been presented for resolving this matter and the issues associated with each option contemplated in these terms.

WIA Recommendation:

Having reviewed the available options, there is only one proposed option that achieves a positive outcome across all the above selection criteria. This is Option 1, as described in detail below.

Why: The WIA is of the view that the best balance of objectives is achieved through the removal of all “class” based callsign allocations (prefixes) for both foundation and other callsigns.

Note 1: The historical reasons for the use of prefixes (Z, Y, F etc.) no longer exist. The information that is embedded in the callsign in terms of license class is readily available through public databases.

Note 2: Option 1 does not imply that a current foundation license holder needs to change their current callsign - it is entirely at the discretion of the individual to retain their existing 7-character F call or not.

Please take a moment to read through the attached PDF information pack which relates to the Foundation Licence Callsign Structure.

All WIA members will be invited to participate in the Poll. Non-WIA members may register to participate in the poll by registering at the following address

The poll will be emailed to WIA members and program participants on the 10th of February 2020 and will run for 2 weeks.

There is no change proposed to the current two letter suffix allocation rules.

Related Files

WIA Informaton Paper
WIA Information Paper - Foundation Call Signs.pdf

Page Last Updated: Monday 3 February 2020 at 9:22 hours by Peter Clee


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