Wireless Institute of Australia
Western Australian Division
Our Members are Important People, without you, Our Organisation has No Purpose
Western AustraliaWhat is Amateur Radio ?

Amateur radio is also called by another name, Ham Radio.

At the beginning of the 20th century most people
involved in radio experimentation could be classed as "amateurs".
These were people who had an interest in the exploration of radio.
Much had to be learnt and many experimented with the new technology.

Commercial and government interest in radio
began to become part of the world of radio investigation,

and a more defined separation between the amateur experimenter
and the commercial and government involvement began.

From those early days of experimentation,
amateur interest in radio became a licensed hobby,

requiring the passing of an examination to allow
transmission onto the radio frequency spectrum.

International agreements had to be set up between countries
to allow amateur radio to function,
as radio waves
cross borders and continents.

Today Amateur radio is a hobby that is enjoyed
by over a million people throughout the world.

It is an interest in radio communications at a hobby level
that involves setting up a radio station

to communicate with other Radio Amateurs near and far.

The setting up of an Amateur Radio station
can be relatively simply to very complex.

It can involve all aspects of such a station,
 including the transmitting and receiving equipment,

to the mast and antennas needed for communications.

Amateur radio has people from all different age groups and work situations.
Both sexes participate in the hobby, but the majority are male.

There are many aspects to amateur radio
and most amateurs find it impossible to participate in all.

Usually a particular activity of amateur radio becomes the main interest in the hobby
and this is where an individual spends most of their hobby time.

Areas of amateur radio activity

 box Awards & Contests  box Conversation (rag chewing)
 box Digital transmissions  box EchoLink & IRLP
 box Long distance VHF & UHF contacts  box Micro Wave experimentation
 box Morse code contacts  box Mobile  operation
 box Rare country contacts  box Remote location operation
 box Television experiments & broadcasts  box Voice repeaters

Grades of licence

For the first 50 or so years of amateur radio in Australia
there was only one grade of license.
In order to become a radio amateur an examination in
electronic and radio theory; regulations and Morse code had to be passed.

This changed in the 1950's with the introduction of the "Z" call.
This license required only the theory and regulations, with no Morse code.
This grade of license restricted operation to 50 MHz and above.

Since then there has been a number of grades of license. These are:

Full call / Unrestricted with all privileges
Required Morse Code at 10 words per minute
since 2000 this has been changed
for full privileges it only requires

5 words per minute Morse Code plus Full Theory and Regulations

Call sign suffixes from VK*AA to VK*ZZ and VK*AAA to VK*GZZ
(IAA-IZZ - SAA-SZZ - WAA-WZZ are also Full call/Unrestricted)
The above list must include the old
Combind/Intermediate Licence or "K call" VK*JAA - VK*KZZ

(Note GGA-GGZ and GHA-GHZ are allocated to the Girl Guides Association
and many calls between SAA - SZZ are allocated to the Scout Association)
IYA-IYZ are allocated to the International Year of !!!
OTN is allocated to the Radio Amateur Old Timers Club
RAA-RZZ are allocated to Repeaters and Beacons
RAN and SEA are allocated to the Royal Naval Amateur Radio Society
WIA-WIZ are allocated to the WIA

To gain Full privileges the following licence holders need to pass

Limited Licence
 -
Need to pass 5 wpm Morse Code


Novice Licence
 - Need to pass Full Theory


Novice Limited Licence
 -
Need to pass Full Theory and 5 wpm Morse Code

Note: 17th November 2003
Morse Code will cease to be an examinable subject on the 1st January 2004.
Limited Licence and Novice-Limited Licence will
be permitted to operate on amateur HF bands.

Limited licensees will be able to operate on all amateur bands,
 Novice-Limited gain the Novice segments on  80, 15 and 10,
 changes will take effect on 1 January next year 2004.


To be continued - see   AR Guide WA

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- This page Updated 24th November 2003
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