Amateur radio is an experimental radio communications service.
Experimental means we can design, build, operate and modify all the equipment we use to communicate on the frequencies allowed by our licence conditions. This is a definite privilege in Australia that is not the case in other countries like Canada.
It’s a form of technical communication. This links with the experimental side of the hobby too. The regulations state that due to the international nature of our hobby all communication in relation to religious, political or of a culturally controversial nature are not to be transmitted on amateur bands. That leaves us with discussions about those technical matters and general conversation that make up most of what you hear on the bands!
Amateur radio is non-commercial, meaning we don’t gain any financial benefit, it is an intellectual, leisure and recreational activity. We get other benefits like:
- the challenge of getting something working like communicating through a satellite or a QRP (low power) transmitter;
- the pleasure from talking with like-minded people locally and internationally, nets, collecting QSL cards, equipment, participating in contests and certificates;
- the self improvement and experience gained through operation of different equipment, modes and mediums;
- making contributions through experimentation to the fields of science, technology and engineering;
- the self-training and educational value; and,
- providing skilled personnel in emergency situations and community service with activities like Jamboree on the Air (JOTA) and the Targa tarmac rally.
International Telecommunications Union
The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) the world governing body for telecommunications recognises the amateur radio service and amateur satellite service in section 25 of their Radio Regulations:
1.56 Amateur service: A radio communication service for the purpose of self-training, intercommunication and technical investigations carried out by amateurs, that is, by duly authorised persons interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest.
1.57 Amateur-satellite service: A radiocommunication service using space stations on earth satellites for the same purposes as those of the amateur service.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is responsible for issuing Amateur Radio Licenses and supervising the standards of examinations. The Australian Maritime College (AMC) Examination Service is responsible for syllabus setting, issuing and marking of examinations for Australian amateurs and maintaining the standards of examinations.
For more information take a look at the Amateur Licence Assessments page