ACMA makes changes to callsign policy
Changes to amateur radio call sign policy
Peter Clee - VK8ZZ
The WIA has previously held a national poll and made subsequent submissions to the ACMA in relation to callsign allocation.
The ACMA has today announced that they have made some significant administrative changes to give amateurs more options and flexibility, and a more active role in self-managing call signs.
They are also clarifying call sign arrangements for amateurs who change where they live.
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.
Changes to call signs
The ACMA have advised that they 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 three-letter call sign; and
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 three-letter call sign.
You can also keep your current call sign if you wish, including if you get a new qualification (for example, going from foundation to standard, or standard to 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 four months (or seven days for a repeater or beacon), you should ask the ACMA to consider varying the licence to change the location.
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