USA exams system endorsed by ACMA

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by G4TUT, Sep 27, 2019.

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  1. G4TUT

    G4TUT Ham Member QRZ Page

    USA exams system endorsed by ACMA
    WIA reports Australia's communications regulator ACMA is reinstating the reciprocal arrangement for US amateur radio licence holders

    The WIA story says:
    The ACMA contacted the WIA on 23 September 2019 to advise that they are reinstating the reciprocal arrangement for US licence holders.

    The reinstatement follows a period of suspension of reciprocity precipitated by a complainant objecting to the granting of VK licences. The WIA believes that irrespective of the motivations of the complainant to raise their objections, the impact of the suspension was only to increase barriers to entry to Amateur Radio in Australia, and was most unhelpful. Hence the WIA is pleased that this restriction has been now lifted.

    Note the reciprocal licence is valid only for 12 months from issue and the ACMA advised it cannot be renewed or extended unless the recipient passes the local regulations examination. Here is the background:

    Read the full story at

  2. VK3VM

    VK3VM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    This is actually HEAVILY misreported and misrepresented - sourced from The Wireless Institute of Australia (The WIA) - The former contractor for licensing and assessment in Australia.

    What has ACTUALLY occurred is that The ACMA has reinstated and clarified arrangements with regards to "reciprocal" arrangements with regards to ANY overseas operator with NON AUSTRALIAN QUALIFICATIONS that present their qualifications for Australian Licenses - and that is not just US Licenses involved.

    What the ACMA has determined is that anyone from outside Australia can use the "reciprocal" agreement to obtain a licence under their "Table A" (and refer to the ACMA website for this) of equivalencies for a period NOT EXCEEDING 12 MONTHS.

    After the 12 month period the licence will sunset; If the licensee wants to keep their Australian Licence then they must either apply for a RPL for their qualification, and then sit Australian Regulations and Practical, or they must take the cheaper option of sitting for the qualification from scratch.

    The excitement within the Australian Amateur Community with regards to taking assessment for US Licenses has unfortunately masked and distorted reality; the ACMA's decision making activity must be applauded - although it has taken 15 years and a lot of grief for them to finally act.

    You will be able to confirm what I have stated above by contacting The ACMA and Licence Administrative Provider - The AMC - as I have :)
  3. VK3VM

    VK3VM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Just to clarify my position with The VE Licensing issue and obtaining a VE Licence - I am EXCEPTIONALLY KEEN to undertake assessment in the US system if not become a VE Examiner myself... Yet to do so it would mean that I would have to list a "false" address (i.e. a place where I do not live/operate from or re-mail my licence from) on documentation to obtain the licence.

    When I can list my home address on the licence I will gladly and with expedience take assessment for a US licence and will apply for a Vanity Call as many Australians have done.
    VK6NO likes this.
  4. VK3DQ

    VK3DQ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hi Steve

    Well done for your insightful clarification of this issue .. you are 100% correct

    Regards John VK3DQ (10 years WIA Assessor)
  5. VK6NO

    VK6NO Ham Member QRZ Page

    It is now out of control that people do falsify address details to obtain these calls.
    It seems so easy for the ACMA to actually check to see if the application is from an Australian citizen or from a genuine overseas reciprocal licence application.
    It is a shame that the Assessors in Australia are being ignored by some as they are doing a wonderful job in helping new hams to obtaining a licence.

    Cheers Lindsay VK6NO
    VK6ATS likes this.
  6. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Why do many Australians want US calls?
  7. VK3VM

    VK3VM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Firstly Lindsay,

    I believe that if someone approaches with an International Passport with an international home address and that passport matches the country of origin of the licence that there will be no issues in applying the reciprocity agreements as I have described accurately (i.e. UK Licence, UK/EU Passport = Accepted/Ok). Let's not single out The USA at this point as rulings are for ALL internationals and not just USA as I corrected above !

    On the other hand, an Australian resident and/or citizen presenting a licence that does not provide or make reference back to an actual home/operational address could be supporting a false declaration - both at law and under Australian RPL standards. Reciprocity arrangements only applies to visiting Amateurs and not Residents or Citizens. Reciprocity arrangements were never designed internationally to circumvent another nation's laws. "

    It is my understanding that our administrative provider has advice not to put the client and themselves (and their academic reputation) at risk by processing such applications. Concerns on this front should be taken up (and with complete and full disclosure and honesty) with both The AMC and ACMA.

    I am just an assessor that has stuck my nose into the process to make sure that I am informed; I am conveying my understanding and I have made extensive inquiry on these matters.

    Yet since last week interpretations and directions may have changed. Ask the ACMA and AMC and with complete respect please under the HAM - Help All Mankind - principles and codes that we all should be adhering to. The staff at the AMC have been abused treated ABYSMALLY by many Amateurs and without any blame on their part. It is not their fault that The WIA did not get the assessment contract back so do not abuse them (as many Amateurs have done).

    Rather than abuse staff please express concerns in writing so that they are on record and forward via appropriate channels. Email addresses for politicians and ACMA Departments can be easily found or are easily decoded. AMC contacts are on their website. Be careful as some in our own ranks have been particularly nasty and I believe that legal tolerance points have been reached (Ask the WIA more about this as they recently met with The AMC "in secret" to discuss perceived issues).

    And Bob,

    The puristic reason is that it is easier when working in other nations (i.e visiting or dxpeditions) to obtain licenses and sometimes permits to operate when you present a US license. Some remote stations only accept US callsigns.

    Yet how many out there are keen dxpeditioners and will actually every use licenses in The US or for this purpose? I know from visiting the US and working over there that people MUCH prefer W3/Vk3VM rather than local calls as it generates considerably greater excitement and interest around locals !

    There are quite a number of other ethically challenging reasons suggested by many based around perceptions of corruption, anger, bruised egos, trying to circumvent systems, be big fish in small ponds, be "perceived as a special amateur" in the AR world and undermine change that would be inappropriate and inflammatory to discuss here and in the open. Drop me an email and I am prepared to elaborate my assessment in a constructive fashion (as a 10 year assessor veteran with 300+ assessments under my belt) if I get time and the bands remain largely closed as they are now !!!


    Steve I
    VK3VM / Vk3SIR
    N0TZU likes this.
  8. VK4HAT

    VK4HAT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Except that you do not have to falsify anything. My US address is a real address and satisfies US law for obtaining a US license. As for how great VK assessors are, well that would depend on where you live and how lucky you are. My experience was not so great. I could not find any assessors prepared to add me to exam sessions they might have already been running, other than 1 who wanted to interview me to see if I was the kind of person he thought should be a radio amateur. So let him know in no uncertain terms that I was getting a ham radio licence not joining Scientology and he could stuff his interview right up his arse. His job as an assessor was to assess my proficiency in amateur radio, not my morality and ethics.

    I was then told in 1 week there was a US exam being run in Brisbane, i contacted them and within an hour i was booked in to sit an exam for a license i had not studied for, went and passed tech and general.

    Thing under AMC are better and not the old boys club that was often the case with the WIA. Also, i do not want to go to a club and sit a class, I wish to learn in my own time and then find an exam time and sit the exams when i am ready. I work, i have family and i do not have time to spend months sitting in classes. Times have changed, the expectation of people have changed along with it. In that regard, the US system is a much better one for anyone who lives in the modern world as there are great tools online to help you be prepared for exam day. No clubs involved.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2019
    WD8ED, KM4BDH and K7JEM like this.
  9. VK4HAT

    VK4HAT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Its a better license to have for operating overseas with. Its a better system of study to obtain a license with the online study guides and the like. Where as in VK you either have to attend a club for 6 months assuming they run courses or you have to make your own way through the syllabus to understand the material.

    Anyway the acma have green lighted things again with the addition that VK locals have to sit both VK practical and VK regulations to RPL via an overseas qualification.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2019
    N0TZU likes this.
  10. VK3DQ

    VK3DQ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hi Folks

    The only issue I had was when a few people used a loophole to obtain full Australian licenses by presenting the technician grade license which is / was equivalent to our foundation license but due to lack of action by the ACMA was listed as being equivalent to a full call, this was deliberate manipulation of the system ...Cheating ... whilst within the law it was a despicable action

    As an assessor for ten years with aprox 1000 exams under my belt I had given of my time to try to help as many people as possible to gain their qualifications I was part of a small group here in Melbourne that conducted totally free upgrade courses and in particular courses for Women to gain their Foundation and other licenses.
    so you may be able to understand that any indication that people were cheating was most upsetting

    I'm no longer an assessor due to ill health I have a spinal condition that makes walking difficult and have recently undergone heart surgery but I can say with pride that every exam I conducted was honest and I did my best for all candidates and it gives me great pleasure to hear them on the air

    John Fisher VK3DQ (ex WIA 10 year Assessor)
    VK3SQ and N0TZU like this.

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