RASA President writes to WIA President on callsign numerals

Email to WIA President, cc WIA and RASA boards.

Sent 01/01/21 09:31


As you have heard, ACMA recently changed the structure of amateur callsigns to remove the ninety-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/territory 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 Linda Caruso from ACMA recently.  She 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 a united 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.

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

RASA is, of course, willing to work with you on this and all other regulatory issues.  We are ready to put forward a joint submission to ACMA.

However, the pragmatist in me realises that, given the current state of relations between our organisations, a joint submission will not happen.

This is an issue that obviously impacts us all.  Many of your members will feel as strongly about callsign numerals as RASA does.

So, what I ask is this – determine your position and publicise it. 

For or against, that’s up to you.

Removing the 90-year old link between callsign numeral and QTH is a serious change, with far reaching consequences. 

Can we put aside our differences for the genuine good of the hobby over this issue?



Glenn Dunstan VK4DU


The Radio Amateur Society of Australia Inc.