Callsign numeral and QTH – linked, or not?

ACMA recently changed the structure of amateur callsigns to remove the 107 year-old linkage between numeric prefix and station location (i.e. 2 equals NSW, 3 equals Victoria, 4 for Qld, etc.). 

Previously, if an amateur moved interstate he/she would be required to change his/her callsign to match the new location. 

This requirement has been removed – you can take your callsign with you and operate from your new QTH without signing portable.

This was done without any sector consultation by ACMA.  The change was effectively a fait accompli. 

Amateur feedback to RASA on this change has been entirely (indeed, vociferously) negative – through online surveys, email/social media and informal discussions at club meetings, Hamfests and field days. 

Amateurs want to retain the existing system.  State based numbers matter to many amateurs.

ACMA’s argument is that callsigns are an administrative arrangement only.  However, it is a requirement in the contract with AMC that initial callsign issue reflects location….and yet the requirement is waived if one moves location….

We raised this inconsistency with ACMA recently.  ACMA advised that they are open to a further relaxation of the callsign template to remove the State/Territory-number connection altogether

They further advised that they will consult on this, along with other proposed changes to the LCD, next year.

Unfortunately, the ACMA decision has already broken the integrity of the numeric system.  If you are a VK2, you could be living in Darwin now…if a VK7, your QTH could be Brisbane…

This is an issue that impacts every amateur, an issue above petty RASA-WIA politics:

Do we want the callsign number to indicate the State/Territory of operation, or not?

ACMA could solve the issue by inserting the numeral vs state/territory table into the LCD – there is already a callsign section dealing with use of the AX prefix for ANZAC day, etc (section 8, 1A).

However, the only way that ACMA would consider this is if RASA and the WIA put forward the same view. 

Unless the amateur radio sector is united, the numeral vs QTH connection may be gone completely by next year.  Individual letters can be written to the Minister and the ACMA, but if we are not united, there is very little chance of success.

It appears that the WIA has no public position on this major change at the moment – a change that impacts every one of their members.

This is a classic case of self-inflicted divide and conquer.  It must end.  We need to unite on this issue.

Do you think the current arrangement of the number indicating State/Territory should remain?

If so, email us at info@vkradioamateurs.org, cc the WIA president@wia.org.au and tell us your views.

RASA is, of course, willing to work with the WIA on this and all other regulatory issues. 

To this end, we have written to the WIA President and board, asking them to determine their position on this issue.