Australian Amateur Radio in 2023
Amateur radio in Australia is currently going through its biggest transformation since the introduction of the Foundation licence more than a decade ago. After outsourcing some of the amateur radio functions to other organizations, the ACMA is bringing all of those functions back under its control. They are also changing the way amateur radio stations are licensed and annual fees. Consequently we’re going through a chaotic transition phase. Certain concepts are public knowledge but the details are yet to be announced. More will be known mid December with the new era commencing in February 2024.

There are 3 levels of personal amateur licences –

Foundation – the entry level, basic knowledge required plus a practical assessment of using an amateur radio station.

Standard – mid-level, extra knowledge required and more privileges.

Advanced – the top level with access to all amateur bands and modes, with more advanced technical knowledge required.

What do I need to do?

Most people without some background in electronics or radio will start at the Foundation level. The knowledge and skills are at a basic level that anyone with a reasonable level of school education should be able to manage.

The usual, and recommended approach is to combine home study with a short course.

When you think you are ready, you sit for the assessment. Your completed exam paper and other documents are then sent away and you wait to find out the result. SARC can provide just the assessment, or a combined short course with assessment at the end.


What will it cost?

There are certain set fees and charges involved. The ACMA administers amateur licensing and assessment and they set the compulsory fees. You can see the rates on their website here –


SARC charges a fee of $30 for the Foundation course, and $50 for the Standard and Advanced courses. This is to help cover costs we incur. Candidates may also make a donation to the club’s education fund.

What resources do I need for my home study?

There is a huge amount of amateur radio educational material available on the internet and it can be hard to know what to look for. It’s important to find material that will help you with the Australian exams, so we have provided a listing on our resources page here –

What is the syllabus?

The syllabus sets out the knowledge and skills that you will be assessed on. At first sight, it looks quite daunting, but the Foundation level is straightforward and not highly technical. Remember that the theory assessment is multiple choice, 4 choices each question, with a 70% pass mark. If you do the study, your chances are very good.

If you do one of our courses, SARC education can help with any areas that you might find challenging.

Links to the each syllabus for the 3 licence levels can be found here on the Australian Maritime College website, here –