I'm visiting Australia - how do I get a reciprocal licence?
When visiting some countries you don't need to do anything other than bring your equipment and the licence issued by your home country. This is due to an international agreement between radio communications administrations. Australia is working towards that situation, and for some countries you can do that now. Depending on where you come from, you will either be able to use your home callsign with a suffix of the vk call area you are operating from, eg. G3PHO/vk1 or you may need to take out an Australian amateur radio licence with a VK callsign. This has been changing so please check ACMA's website if it is important to you.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority has published a comprehensive document about this subject. What it says is
- Don't just bring a radio and expect to use your foreign licence and callsign. To operate as an amateur in Australia you need an Australian licence and an Australian callsign VK*xxx.
- Apply in person at any ACMA office or in writing at least 3 months before your intended visit.
- There is a long list of countries with which Australia has reciprocal licencing agreements - ie. Australia recognises the foreign country's licence qualifications and vice versa. Amateurs from those countries will basically have no problem in being allocated a licence that corresponds to their qualifications.
- There is another list of countries which have licence conditions that Australia recognises as sufficiently similar to ours, that we will grant an Australian licence.
- Amateurs from other countries with licence qualifications that are not as yet recognised by Australia, may be issued with a licence allowing operation on 146-148 MHz FM with max 10 watts output.
- Another special condition exists for Japanese operators with "telephone or telegraph" [voice-only or morse-only] licences, who may be issued with licences to operate on bands above 30 MHz, phone only, max 10 watts output.
- Visitor's licences are not automatically renewable and if they are not issued under the terms of a reciprocal agreement, are endorsed so they cannot be used as the basis of a licence issue by another country. However, visitor licences are normally renewed on request, providing the conditions are still satisfied.
You need to supply ACMA with
- your current Amateur licence or certificate of qualifications
- your passport and proof, eg. a visa, of the duration of your visit;
- a completed licence application form (RF57); and
- the current licence fee which is $AUD53.90 (in Australian dollars).
You can do this in person, or by mail. If doing it by mail you can send certified copies of those precious documents instead of the originals.
For more details please consult the ACMA web site