Your Entry Into Amateur Radio
The hobby of Amateur Radio has a long and proud tradition. The very first radio amateurs were true pioneers of radio technology. Amateurs ‘invented’ and refined much of the early radio technology and were the first to transmit music, radio plays, and information to the handful of people who had the new fangled radio receivers.
When did Amateur Radio get going in Australia?
After World War II the hobby of amateur radio flourished. Radio clubs sprang up in schools all over the world and kids went home each night to build some new contraption, or have a chat with someone over the wireless. These young people became the mainstay of the technical professions and developed much of the modern technology we use today.
Things You Will Need To Know
When you participate in a Foundation Amateur Radio Course, the emphasis is on candidates having the knowledge of skills to demonstrate a practical ability to put together an amateur radio station from commercial equipment and operate it without causing interference to other users and have the knowledge to be a competent radio operator.
You will also need to be aware of how amateur radio relates to other users of the radio spectrum, your licence conditions, technical basics of electricity and electronics, transmitters, receivers, feedlines and antennas, propagation, electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), and electromagnetic radiation (EMR).
Radio Bands You Can Use
The foundation licence operator can operate in the bands listed below using the modes listed in the right hand column. The foundation licence operator can only use commercially manufactured transmitting equipment.
|Band||Frequency||Permitted Emission Modes|
|80 Metres||3.500 MHz – 3.700 MHz||Amplitude Modulation (AM) voiceSingle Side Band (SSB) voiceHand Keyed Morse Code|
|40 Metres||7.0 00 MHz – 7.300 MHz|
|15 Metres||21.000 MHz – 21.450 MHz|
|10 Metres||28.000 MHz – 29.700 MHz||Amplitude Modulation (AM) voice, Single Side Band (SSB) voice, Frequency Modulated (FM) Voice, Hand Keyed Morse Code|
|2 Metres||144 MHz – 148 MHz|
|70 Centimetres||430 MHz – 450 MHz|
Distances You Can Work
|Radio band||Distance & Coverage|
|3.5MHz (80 metres)|| Typically up to 150KM during the day and
up to 3000KM at night. Band can be used all year round but may suffer from noise in summer due to electrical storms many Km away.
|7MHz (40 metres)|| Typically up to 1000KM during the day and
during good conditions world wide at night.
Sunrise and sun set can also provide long distance contacts on this band.
|21 MHz (15 metres)|| World wide mostly during the
day. Good quiet band for a local chat at night.
|28 MHz (10 metres)|| World wide during periods of
high sunspot activity and up to 3000km in summer.
Good quiet band for a local chat at night.
FM repeaters also operate in this band and these provide greater range.
|144MHz (2 metres)||Local coverage, over 2000 km using something known as tropospheric ducting and world wide via “IRLP” and EchoLink.
FM repeaters also operate in this band and these provide greater range.
|432MHz (70cm)||Local coverage, over 2000 km using something known as tropospheric ducting and world wide via “IRLP” and EchoLink.
FM Repeaters also operate in this band and these provide greater range.
The Foundation Manual
The WIA has produced a book called the Foundation Licence Manual. It is a full color manual consisting of 108 pages of relevant information for those studying, or those who would just like a reference book for Foundation Licence Operators.
The manual contains the all relevant information you will need to know to successfully complete a training course to obtain a foundation licence. It also contains a wealth of information a Foundation Licence operator will need. Items like Band Plans, Electrical Safety information, operating procedures such as the Q code, how to contact you local radio club, the WIA and much more.
Budding candidates can obtain the Foundation Licence Handbook from several sources. It can be purchased by clicking Foundation Manaul on the left hand menu bar of this webpage, from the WIA office in Melbourne, via many radio clubs throughout Australia, from most amateur radio equipment suppliers. The price for the Foundation Manual is $25 including postage.
On Line Tutorials
The Radio and Electronics School has kindly made available training and practice tutorials. Please visit http://res.net.au/ for more info on the services provided. Please note RES is an external body and not directly associated with Scouts Australia.
Two Day Training Courses
SRESU intensive two day training and assessment weekend. The training covers all the skills required to achieve your Foundation Amateur Operators Certificate of Proficiency – (AOCP-F). This is the first of three (3) levels of nationally recognized qualifications within Australia.
To obtain your amateur radio licence you will need to have successfully completed the required assessments. Once you feel you are ready, having completed your training either through a radio club course or through self study, you will need to book yourself in to be assessed. SRESU like many radio clubs typically run assessments as part of their training courses, however you may also choose to contact a club or assessor and arrange for an assessment at a time that is mutually convenient between yourself and the assessor.
The foundation licence assessment has two components taking around an hour or so to complete. The first being a 25 question multiple choice assessment paper, the second being a hands on practical assessment. Once you have successfully completed both you will be able to choose an available call-sign and apply for your amateur licence.
The practical assessment is required not only for foundation but also for standard and advanced licence grades. However a practical assessment only needs to be completed once, so by successfully completing a practical assessment as part of your foundation licence you will not be required to repeat it should you decide to upgrade to the standard or advanced licence grades. Even if you are an existing licenced amateur who qualified for your licence before the requirement for a practical assessment was introduced and you wish to upgrade your licence, then you too will need to complete a practical assessment if you have not already done so.
Fees And Charges
Any fees or charges associated with foundation licence training are kept to a minimum for scouting members. The SRESU discount the training fees for Scouts Austrailia members and their immediate family. If training or assessment is via you local club, you will need to check with your local club to find out what their fees are.
The costs associated with the assessment is governed by the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA). The WIA charge for a foundation licence assessment is $70.00 or $35.00 if you are under the age of 18. This discount for under 18 is subsidised by the WIA to encourage younger people to experience the hobby of amateur radio.
The foundation licence is issued by ACMA and the licence cost is currently $74.00 per year. This is reviewed annually. Multi-year licences are available.