Who administers amateur radio in Australia?
In Australia, amateur radio is administered by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
Exams and the issue of callsigns are managed by the Australian Maritime College under contract from ACMA. Links:
What can I use my amateur radio station for?
You can use your station for:
- self-training or technical experimentation in radiocommunications; or
- general communications with other amateurs.
Stations are also used for transmitting news and information services related to amateur radio.
You must not use your station for financial gain, and you can not transmit advertising or any form of entertainment. You are also restricted from using offensive/aggressive language or language that constitutes harassment.
You should avoid controversial topics including;
- business (you can talk about your profession/trade, but you cannot advertise your services or those of anyone else);
- derogatory remarks/observations/jokes directed at any group (gender, ethnic, religious, political, sexual orientation, etc.); and
- off-colour humour.
Above all, apply common sense and good taste.
There is no minimum age for an amateur licence in Australia.
Can I pass messages on behalf of a non-amateur (third party traffic)?
You must not seek to transmit a message on behalf of a non-amateur (third party traffic) unless the message relates to a disaster.
For example, you can pass a message on behalf of a member of the public if there is a bushfire, a flood, a cyclone or similar disaster. In this case, messages from survivors to their friends/relatives can be sent via another amateur station. These messages must not be charged for – they must be free.
These messages can be from overseas amateur stations. Australia has third party agreements with most other countries.
As an amateur radio operator, you are not normally allowed to transmit on non-amateur frequencies (fire, police, marine, etc.), even in a disaster.
How long can I operate at a location other than my station address?
You can operate portable for 4 months. After that time, you need to notify ACMA of your new address.
When and how do I identify my station?
You transmit the call sign of any station being called, or communicated with, followed by your call sign:
- at the beginning and end of a transmission or series of transmissions; or
- if the transmission or series of transmissions lasts more than 10 minutes – once every 10 minutes.
You identify by voice (using the English language), by visual image or by an internationally recognised code (for example, Morse).
If you are participating in an emergency services exercise (WICEN, etc), these operations often use operational callsigns, like mobile 1, base 2, etc. In this case, the amateur callsigns of the stations in the exercise must be transmitted once every 30 minutes.
Transmissions from an amateur station must not be encrypted or scrambled, except for signals used to control a satellite, signals used to control a remote amateur station or by stations participating in emergency services operations or exercises.
You also must not use a secret code when communicating on amateur radio.
If you re-transmit another station’s transmission, you must have the other station’s permission and you must indicate that it is a retransmission.
Who can use my station?
Amateur stations must be operated by a qualified operator (that is, a person who holds an amateur radio licence).
Unqualified persons may use an amateur station under the direct supervision of a qualified operator.
If a station is operated unattended (computer-controlled modes, etc.), it must be:
- fitted with a system to shut down the transmitter if a malfunction causes an unintended transmission of longer than 10 minutes; and
- be capable of being shut down remotely if the station causes interference to another service.
An amateur station must not be able to be used by an unauthorised person. It could be kept in a locked room or electronically or physically disabled to prevent unauthorised use.
Club stations are established by an amateur radio club or group. They are normally licenced as an Advanced Class station. A club station may be operated unsupervised by a Standard or Foundation class amateur, provided they operate in accordance with their respective licence conditions – i.e. frequency and power.
Club stations must keep a logbook.
Amateurs who are licenced in another country may be granted authorisation to operate in Australia, provided their licence is recognised by ACMA as equivalent to an Australian licence.
More information may be found on the ACMA website at
Or, if the link has changed, search on “overseas amateurs”