What is an amateur radio call-sign?

Each amateur radio station (ham radio station) has its own unique call-sign “name” allotted by the authorities. In amateur radio, the unique call-sign is assigned to a ham radio station and its helps you to know its operator as well as the country to which he belongs. This particular ham radio station is authorised to be operated by that particular ham radio operator only. However, other licensed ham radio operators are also eligible to operate his station provided they hold a license and work under there licence conditions. A person who does not hold a ham radio licence is not authorised to operate a ham radio station, unless they are under supervision of a Standard or Advanced licence holder, Foundation licence holders are not allowed to any one with out a licence to operate there station.

Amateur Call-sign Structure


Call-signs are a unique combination of letters and numbers allocated to a Radio-communications user to identify a station.

Call-signs must be used for all on-air communications including testing. Call-signs allocated to amateur stations conform with International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Radio Regulations see Call-sign construction. Table 2 contains information about the call sign templates allocated to the amateur licensing options.

Australia has five amateur station licence types that are issued to qualified persons, these are:

Amateur Foundation Station (base level entry);
Amateur Standard Station;
Amateur Advanced Station;
Amateur Repeater Station;
Amateur Beacon Station

Amateur call-sign construction


VK$, where $ is the State/Territory Indicator. This is a number from 0-9 indicating the State or Territory in which the station is operating:

0 = Antarctic
1 = Australian Capital Territory
2 = New South Wales
3 = Victoria
4 = Queensland
5 = South Australia
6 = Western Australia
7 = Tasmania
8 = Northern Territory
9 = Australian External Territories


Suffix of two, three or four letters.
The first letter in the three or four group indicates the licence type of the amateur station transmitting.
For example, VK$Taa, where ‘T’ signifies that the amateur transmitting this call-sign holds an Advanced licence.
See Table 2 for template details.


State/Territory indicators ($) are used to indicate a station’s licensed location. When an amateur moves interstate to live, he or she will be issued a new call-sign to indicate the new State or Territory of residence.

Amateur call-signs for Australian External Territories have the prefix VK9. In most cases, the first or second letter after VK9 (the fourth or fifth character of the call-sign) is used to identify each Territory or area:
C = Cocos Island;
N = Norfolk Island;
W = World;
X = Christmas Island;
L = Lord Howe Island; and
M = Mellish Reef.
For example, VK9CA identifies that the station operates under an Advanced licence from Cocos Island, VK9NCA identifies that the station operates under a Standard licence from Cocos Island, and VK9FCAA identifies that the station operates under a Foundation licence from Cocos Island.

Call-sign templates allocated to the amateur licensing options

Licence Option – Advanced

VK$aa, VK$Aaa, VK$Baa, VK$Caa, VK$Daa, VK$Eaa, VK$Faa, VK$Gaa, VK$Iaa, VK$Jaa, VK$Kaa, VK$Saa, VK$Taa, VK$Uaa, VK$Waa, VK$Xaa, VK$Yaa, VK$Zaa, VK$RAN, VK2RAS, VK$WIA-WIZ (WIA), VK$GGA-GGZ (Guides Aust), VK$SAA-SDZ (Scouts Assoc.), VK7OTC, VK$IYA – IYZ (International years)

Licence Option – Standard

VK$Haa, VK$Laa, VK$Maa, VK$Naa, VK$Paa, VK$Vaa

Licence Option – Foundation

VK$Faaa “This is the only licence with four letters after the VK$F$$$”

Licence Option – Repeater


Licence Option – Beacon


Mobile or portable station use when inter State.

VK3AMN/5 that is a Victorian licence used in South Australia.

Special events call-signs

Call-signs other than those normally allocated to an amateur station may be allocated on occasions of international, national, state/territory or local significance. The event must be of broad interest to the Amateur or wider community.

Special event call-signs will not be issued for recurrent events unless it is a particularly significant event (such as a 25th, 50th or 75th anniversary). Note that Amateurs may use the AX prefix on every Australia Day, Anzac Day and ITU Day without seeking allocation of a special event call-sign.

The WIA will only recommend special event call-signs where the Amateur station concerned is actually participating in the event. ACMA will generally issue only one such special event station licence in relation to a particular event.

The call-sign may employ special prefixes (e.g. AX or VI) and/or special suffixes. All special call-signs will include the appropriate state/territory indicator. WIA may authorize the use of call-signs with suffixes comprising two or more characters (letters and/or digits). ACMA will issue a short term licence for the period of the event or celebration.

Allocation of the AX prefix

This prefix is only available for occasions of special national or international significance, such as the Sydney 2000 Olympics. Occasions warranting the use of the ‘AX’ prefix will be determined by WIA in consultation with ACMA. Under such circumstances:
the ‘AX’ prefix, which will be made available to all amateurs, may be used in lieu of the normal ‘VK’ prefix;
allocation of the prefix will be restricted to the duration of the occasion;
the allocation of specific ‘AX’ prefix call-signs for individual particular events, where the call-sign does not comply with usual amateur call-sign construction (AX$aa, AX$aaa or AX$aaaa (where $ is the State/Territory indicator)) cannot be guaranteed.

Allocation of the VI prefix

This prefix is only available for occasions of special state/territory or local significance during such times when this prefix is not required by ACMA for use by other services. Occasions warranting such use will be determined by WIA in consultation with ACMA.

Use of the ‘VI’ prefix usually involves ‘VI’ being substituted for the normal ‘VK’ prefix. The allocations of specific ‘VI’ prefix call-signs for individual particular events, where the call-sign does not comply with usual amateur call-sign construction (VI$aa, VI$aaa or VI$aaaa (where $ is the State/Territory indicator)) cannot be guaranteed.

The WIA will only accept requests for the allocation of the ‘VI’ prefix from clubs, organisations or amateur groups. Requests for special event call-signs will not be accepted for the purposes of:
gaining an advantage in on-air competitions; or
for use during Islands on the Air (IOTA) competitions, DX expeditions, or fox hunts and the like; or
annual events.

Use of the IYA – IYZ suffix group

The IYA – IYZ suffix group will continue to be reserved for use by groups wishing to commemorate United Nations’ declared years, for example, International Year of the Child (IYC).

Call-sign of all the ham radio operators are available in the International Call-book.

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The Radio Club we are happy to help any other School or Youth group to make contact with the International Space Station, our Club will give all the technical help in making the contact, this service is free and we are happy to help.

 “The Club helping youth into the hobby

Last update 16/05/2013

Sherbrooke Community Radio Club Inc “VK3KID”

Established 2007

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