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Author Topic: AU: As Gov't Election approaches, ACMA (AU's "FCC") visits big HAM clubs  (Read 22689 times)

Posts: 160

« on: March 26, 2013, 06:27:20 AM »

We've been in Australia long enough to know
some of the indications, that a Commonwealth
(of Australia) Election is about to be called.

Eg, in October 2012 (ie, 4 or 5 months before
the Aussie Prime Minister called an Election
for Sep 14th, 2013)... the Gov't announced,

- -all- Australian -commercial- TV broadcasters
  would have their License Fees -HALVED- per-
  manently (annual cost of -millions- of AU $'s)

In a land where Hams pay over AU $63 / year
for their Amateur Radio Licenses, that halving
seemed like a -huge- slap in AU's Hams faces.

(Some months before, New Zealand's Hams
won the privilege of higher transmitter power,
like that, which US Hams have enjoyed for
yonks... from way before I were one, myself.

When "Australia's FCC" noticed such a -near-
neighbor displaying renewed faith in & support
for -its- [presumably higher-class] Amateurs,
AU's ACMA was surprisingly quick to act...

But the Aussie Hams were (as above) slapped
in the face by a new ACMA requirement, that
they Apply - in writing - AND pay a fee - just
over -half- the cost excessive cost of a year's
Ham license term - to -request- to be included
in a [time-limited] -trial- of permitting Aussie
Hams to use higher transmitter power....

In recent memory (ie, shortly after it was "tem-
porarily borrowed" for some weeks of -noisy-
car-racing, in the streets of several Australian
capital cities)...

- Aussie Hams lost 10 MHz of their 70cm band;
by edict of ACMA, the 420 - 430 MHz segment
of our 70cm band was removed from the Aussie
Amateur Service - this time permanently.

("Let's start by -borrowing- that segment, and
see if the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA)
- ARRL's counterpart - pushes back," I guess.

From all I saw, WIA never really pushed-back,
not before the "loan" period nor when the loan
became a "theft."

This was a big mistake, pre-dating the insulting
"Beg & Pay" for high power, after all the higher-
class NZ Amateur Licensees got it cost-free.)

Very recently, we were told that ACMA was
sending "Mark" one of its radio inspectors
to speak at larger metropolitan Ham Clubs,
across South Australia; in fact, two (2) ACMA
radio inspectors were sent to make presenta-
tions (one underling, and a more senior one).

Before the on-site presentations, word went
around - in larger clubs & smaller ones - that
anyone wanting to ask a question, of ACMA's
radio inspectors, would have to submit them,
in advance, for presentation to the speaker.

Funny, isn't it? I could just line-up, at a very
well attended (250+ in a large church on the
Adelaide Uni campus) Ideas Festival, for a
chance to ask my question or put an alternate
opinion to a panel, at any of the cost-free talks.

But - in a smaller assembly of my fellow Radio
Club members - I would only have the chance
to hand in a card or send an eMail, presumably
to have my question scrutinized by Club Offi-
cers... only maybe to have it -read- (with -less-
passion than I would express on an issue) and,
in part, -mispronounced- by an such an officer.

Our voices would -not- be heard by Mark & Co.

Well, the radio inspectors brought an hour-long
PowerPoint presentation. Among other topics
was a "reading of the riot act" about [Chinese]

It seems, that ACMA is against radios that can
transmit -outside- Ham bands. So, while it may
still be fine for licensed Hams to own, restore &
operate -military- radios with that capability, a
more recent, affordable import [from China] is
a bird of another feather.

Why does ACMA have the $$'s to - on the one
hand - HALVE License Fees of -commercial- TV
stations AND to send pairs of Canberra bureau
crats around AU, to pressure Hams on trivia,
that we should be able to manage ourselves?

And - if there's so much $$ around - when can
Aussie Ham's expect to be advised that -our-
License Fees will be -permanently- halved, or
- following Canada's recent example - waived?

Why would WIA be so slow to decide to push-
back or present some arguments FOR cost-free
Ham licenses, with high power included, and
a much-overdue OK for phone-interconnects...

...& AGAINST a car-racing's ACMA-supported
"borrowing" / repossessing of 10 MHz of 70cm?

Now, South Australians have some highly skilled
Hams, and - with the influx of cashed-up folks,
from interstate, as prices elsewhere soared - the
composition of SA Hams has changed a bit.

Hopefully, our newcomers have brought some
much-needed "chutzpah" to bolster local sup-
plies, so we will push WIA to start thinking
afresh about such Ham-friendly changes.

Still, SA's near-ancient tradition of -queuing-
- after each week's WIA Broadcast - for up to
10 or 15 minutes - for the chance to (only):
check-in and thank the relay operator, on the
frequency, "for the Broadcast" continues; it
seems to be encouraged, eg, by WIA, whose
relay operators stay longer at their rigs and
desks - each week - to make a list of check-
ins' callsigns, "to hand up" to... whom? :-/

A much better use of those check-in trans-
missions might be to have "straw-poles" on
issues (& use lists of supporters' callsigns -
with their holders' permission - as signatories
of virtual petitions, to WIA, local gov't councils,
maybe even ACMA, itself...) to gather & focus
Radio Hams' opinions, rather than let them
waste time queuing for the chance to sheep-
ishly "thank" the WIA Relay Operator "for
the Broadcast."

(Local gov't councils have been too quick to
declare Ham antenna structures unlawful or
to deny applicants' applications for towers.)

An opportunity for grass-roots Democracy (or,
at least, a single-cycle round-table, even) lost,
at least until the next generation of Hams ar-
rives & tires of queuing-to-thank, I hope. ;-)

I wonder how it is that (in Australian history)
early CBers in AU "won" cost-free Class Licens-
ing, ie, by simply -refusing- (en masse) to pay
their generation's excessive [transmitter-]
license fees...

...while Aussie Hams let their national repre-
sentative organisation - the WIA - "roll-over
& play dead," -rather- than pushing-back &
getting & keeping much more for AU's Ham
Radio community that it has today.

Can "training" generations of Hams (as in SA)
to queue-to-thank the week's WIA commitiee-
member "for the Broadcast" be reducing the
level of -chutzpah- in South Aussie Hams?

We've never had "phone interconnect" (a.k.a.
phone patching) privileges, like other radio
clubs enjoy; one such Club even features
its phone interconnection service, eg, on its
web site:

"VKS737: The Australian HF Radio &
Radio-Telephone Network" eg at:


(Two such clubs license - presumably on a
shared basis - the same HF channels, for
their respective members' use; sadly, last
I heard, inter-club member comms was for-
bidden, except, of course, in emergencies.)

There are many opportunities to IMPROVE
Ham Radio & some non-Ham radio clubs,
IMO. I think it's time to apply a fair-minded:

"Think Outside the Box" & "Fix Traditions"

...just like those, who use the Internet do.

"The -Only- Limitations are
 the Ones you Take with You."

What'cha think...?

Posts: 820

« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2013, 09:21:31 PM »

Wow. The US Govt is pretty anti-freedom, but Australia takes the cake among "Western" govts. You guys have virtually zero rights. Your guns were confiscated, and not only that it's illegal to carry ANYTHING that "might" be a weapon. You can't even carry a big Maglite with you, or a pipe or a cane, if you MIGHT use it as a weapon. The Govt makes that determination, of course. American hams pay a one time fee every TEN YEARS to be licensed. No annual fees. The Oz Govt has done other bonehead moves, like when they shuttered VNG (the equivalent to WWV) to save cash, leaving thousands of radio controlled clocks useless. Australian leaders seem to be stuck on stupid. And I thought Obama was bad. Are they rifling through parcel post over there to make sure no "illegal" Baofengs get mailed to Oz via Ebay? For a while, Canada was pulling parcels containing radios, this was back when a Degen 1102 sold for half Universal Radio's price on Ebay. I feel sorry for you guys down there. I think being a ChiCom client province would be an improvement for you at this point.

Posts: 160

« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2013, 12:14:49 PM »

I am not aware of any "every 10 years" fee for US Ham licenses... can you tell me how much it is & maybe end a link to a site that spells out all the costs involved, thanks?

In a recent QST, I noticed reference to a $15 Exam Fee, ie, for any number of elements (like an "all-you-can-eat restaurant" this might be called an "all-you-think-you-can-pass" exam fee ;-)

While it's not, of course, the Gov't or ACMA who sets the Exam Fees, in AU, I consider them excessive. compared to the $15 "out-of-pocket-expenses" that seems to apply in USA. (Anyone know about Canada's EXAM fees?)

Having worked (eg, taught school &/or managed) in / for Aboriginal communites - off & on - over the years, I consider the high Amateur Radio license fees in AU -may- be (at least in part) intended to make it harder for many (if not most) Aboriginal folks, who live on remote communities (where HF radio works so well, sun cycle permitting), to be able to afford to become licensed Hams.

I guess a Community Radio club + the presence of a -licensed- Amateur operator could give some access, like I tried to do, when teaching in SA's Outback, almost a decade ago... when a young person hears the cost of getting & keeping alive a Ham license, it can turn even the biggest smile into a frown...

Posts: 858


« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2013, 04:36:40 PM »

I am not aware of any "every 10 years" fee for US Ham licenses... can you tell me how much it is & maybe end a link to a site that spells out all the costs involved, thanks?
That's only for vanity callsigns. Sequentially-assigned callsigns are still free. Current fee for a vanity assignment is $15, which gets you a 10-year license term. Another $15 (or whatever the fee is at the time) is due for renewal of a vanity callsign. VanityHQ is a good resource for learning about the US vanity program.
In a recent QST, I noticed reference to a $15 Exam Fee, ie, for any number of elements (like an "all-you-can-eat restaurant" this might be called an "all-you-think-you-can-pass" exam fee ;-)
There are about 15 VECs (Volunteer Examiner Coordinators) that accredit and monitor the Volunteer Examiners (VEs) in the US. Each VEC can establish its own policies. Some (like Laurel VEC) charge nothing; others (like ARRL and W5YI) charge a fee to cover expenses. Some of that fee can be retained by the VEs to cover their expenses, but most of it is sent to the VEC.
(Anyone know about Canada's EXAM fees?)
Sorry, not me.

Posts: 160

« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2013, 04:39:39 PM »

Relay of a CORRECTION from AHARS president

I have received a very brief note (by eMail)
advising that - if I understand it correctly -
all submitted questions were answered by
the ACMA rep.

(I intend to ask the sender for permission to
publish the exact words of that note, to in-
sure, that I've not misrepresented it, above.)

- - -

More on the issues with "written questions,
handed-in in advance" follows, in what be-
came my -reply- to that note:

Of course, they got answers; my concern, however, was that - unlike attendees at, eg, -very- well attended sessions of Adelaide's Ideas Festivals, attendees of at least two (2) of SA's Amateur Radio clubs were -denied- the chance to be heard -putting- their own questions, with their own voices & emphasizing their own words, as only they could have.

They -also- missed the chance to -practice- speaking up at larger-than-average sized meetings, and -individually- requesting their Gov't (regulators) to account & explain...

Would-be askers were unduly put - in advance - under a publicly-expressed "threat" - from an influential AHARS leader - made on-air, for all (members, non-members & even non-Hams) to hear - of being -ignored- by the group, so their question would -not- be heard or replied to (ie, if they were to attempt to put a question directly at the AHARS).

I consider that the utterance even called-for those hearing it to be party to preventing such an asker to be heard or acknowledged... for reasons unlear to me.

Most Hams are - by habit &/or nature - are (& quite enjoy being) good & able communicators, able to compact messages into a reasonable amount of time, when they must.

However, as I look around the world & compare the "value for money" of AU's Hams' actual Privileges vs Costs (incl -recent- loss of both respect & freq segments), I must conclude that we are -not- well-served by, eg, WIA, nor by - at any level - encouraging our fellow Hams to regularly & publicly display "sheepish" behaviours (queuing only to be heard, on-air, -thanking- relay-operators)...

...while being -discouraged- from using their own voices to ask their own questions of ACMA's representatives, ie, on those few occasions that they are available to ask, in person.

Better, in future (now that all opportunities have been wasted, in the -present- cycle of visits)...

...that SA Hams should - as I have myself done (eg, at an Ideas Festival session, attended by well over 150 others) should queue at a microphone for the chance to have one's own question be heard & answered, by putting it in one's own voice.

We - as a club - should take steps to -develop- our Members confidence to speak for themselves, ie, rather than their dependence on other to speak for them.

Only when we are -actively- calling for, eg, "Best Practice" from AU's unduly overpriced & underprivileged / under-respected, eg, on issues like:

1. License Fees (Did I hear correctly, that Canada has now joined USA in a providing Zero-cost Ham license?);

2. Raising our maximum transmit power limit to a "World Class" level (as our neighbors in NZ have recently come to enjoy) -without- costly & unduly embarassing need to apply - to ACMA - for "special leave" to participate in a special "trial period" (read: "training wheels"), of unspecified duration & without a hint of criteria for securing a "Pass" for permanent retention of this new (to Hams in AU) privilege.

Again, I say:  Let our Hams' voices be heard!

...this time, with the help of higher power, at
least when conditions are less than optimal,
& the message -must- get through. :-)

I fully expect WIA to start developing & using the skills, eg, needed to more -effectively- "Push-Back" whenever ACMA seems to be "short-changing" AU's Hams:

1. in privileges (eg, remove the telco-monopoly [era] "inspired" -ban- on "auto-patches," ie, POTS phone-interconnects on repeaters in AU),

2. in respect (eg, an undue fee, application form & "trial" period requirement, for entry to the world's "high power club")

Of course, in light of AU's gov't -permanently- waiving AU$ 42 million of license fees, that AU's -Commercial- TV Broadcasters would, otherwise, have to pay -each- year...

I am confident, that WIA is -now- in a position to win -permanent- Zero-Fee licensing for AU's Hams, like Canada's Hams seem to be enjoying, not to mention USA's (albeit, reportedly paying a "small" fee for a 10-year license).

Or... ACMA could simply, if belatedly, repair all these
anomalies... on its own.

73, VK5CQ

---- Sent from my .. mobile"

Posts: 160

« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2013, 04:45:50 PM »

Thanks, W3HF (and... Nice call-sign, too!)
for your info.

I'd like to find & confirm info on .CA's
license fees, next.

PS This reply should have appeared before
my reply to an Aussie Club pres. (above).

Posts: 160

« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2013, 06:42:02 PM »

(Below are excerpts from a reply to the more senior ACMA rep, who - after presenting his talks in Adelaide, South AU, eMailed me with changes.

As his eMail was longer & slightly more complex than that
rec'd from the AHARS president, I have asked his permis-
sion to publish his letter, which offers Corrections to some
details of my original post (OP), in this thread.)

- - -

Our reply to the eMail from visiting ACMA representative:


FYI, I managed to pen a -lengthy- reply to David Clegg, Pres. AHARS, ie, -before- noticing your semi-lengthy eMail - which cites a post on, which you feel misrepresents some aspects of your arrangements to speak at several SA ARC's, etc. Thus, that reply (to AHARS Pres., <snip>) may, in part, be based on assumptions, which - you've advised - are false,
both in my reply to his eMail & a copy of that reply on eHam.

(I abbreviate freely above & elsewhere, assuming, that you may be <call-sign>, <snip>... and can easily decode
each such abbreviation.)


Rather than rely on a summary - by me - of your points-of-correction, in your eMail (below), I propose that - with your permission - I Copy & Paste the body of your eMail (or more of it, if you like) into a new Errata-post, at, of course, with full attribution to yourself, by way of letting your voice be "heard" (in a new reply post, in the thread, which you cited in your eMail to me, et al.), eg, correcting any points in the cited post, which may suggest any misunderstanding on my part.

First, let me correct a false point in your eMail:  As it hap-
pens, I did -not- attend any of your SA presentations.

So, I have no idea whether you would have dealt -fairly-
with your topic(s), nor what that/those topics might have
been, eg, pointing out conditions allowing possession
of unusual devices, etc. (eg, as collectable objects,
rather than intending to operate transmitters inside).

Kindly send a copy of your PowerPoint(s) on a disc, or
- better - see that any video(s) of any of your SA talks
are posted  on, eg, by -authorizing- the
Club(s) or person(s), who may have recorded them,
to -upload- them to, for those who,
like myself, were unable to attend, as well as for those
who may want to review any points missed, in the talk.

(As I trust you would know, YouTube is no longer "just
for cute kittens, doing funny things."

Eg, lengthy videos of talks & panel discussions on (future use of) -safer- 4th generation "Liquid Fuel Thorium Reactors" (LFTRs) are -also- available there, & I would recommend them to you, if I knew you had interest in clean energy for AU), under keys like: "Thorium remix" 2011 (or 2012), with more to come.)

I intend to take-up the matter of "written questions, in advance" with at least one of the ARC's, at which you spoke, ie, since letting others -read- their questions could insult some askers (Even the -thought- of that restriction was a big slap-in-the-face for me...)

(Regarding you being "more than happy to call," I do not
require a visit by any ACMA Radio Inspector, at this time.)

My main concerns about ACMA's performance - vis a vis
Amateur Radio in AU - are clear (but also not mentioned
in your eMail, for some reason), eg, in my other public &/or private communications.

In a nutshell, -some- of these include:

- excessive license fees (with unduly mislabeled elements,
   possibly so-labeled to preclude fair negotiation, eg,
   by WIA, for long overdue removal or reduction of same)

   (This point was made very clear after we learned of the
   Gov't's -halving- of License Fees of AU's Commercial TV
   Broadcasters, at a cost (from memory) of $42 million!)

   We have just seen the Gov't call the likes of Abobe,
   Microsoft, etc. to account for vast differences in the
   cost of their products - ie, in AU, compared to USA.

   How much -more- should AU's Ham's feel overcharged
   when our counterparts in USA & (I'm told) CA, from a
   recent change,.. enjoy Zero-fee Ham licenses?

   AU Hams deserve "World Best," & ACMA needs to
   show it understands this & join the N Amer fee model.

   AU needs more young people to become & stay inter-
   ested in STEM (Sci,, Tech'y, Engineering & Maths), &
   Amateur Radio is an effective way to facilitate interest
   in STEM subjects... & later careers.

   High License fees will dissuade some from exploring
   Ham Radio.

- unduly insulting & costly (in $$'s & time) entry-path to
   higher transmit power, via ACMA's arbitrary & undue
   "trial" of max. higher power transmit limit, in AU (unlike
   neighboring NZ's ACMA-counterpart, which seems to
   have - by default - granted high transmit power pri-
   vileges to all, whose licenses class(s) allows.).

   I say: Let AU's Hams' voices be heard, like USA's & NZ's,
   by default, without undue "trials" of unspecified duration
   & "Pass" criteria.

   ACMA would intervene in any case(s) of interference,
   just as it would today. There should be no extra cost,
   to licensees for the higher power privilege..

- undue, residual restrictions from AU's era of monopoly-
  telco's; ACMA should now -allow- "auto-patch" = POTS
  telephone-interconnect, in the Amateur service, as it
  does for Outback Radio (eg, VKS737 network).

- undue -reductions- of AU's Amateur service frequency
   allocations (eg, 10 MHz from the 70 cm band, etc.)

(I understand that not all of these issues would be "in your Job Description.")

In short, ACMA needs to show more innovative -vision-
about AU's Amateur Radio service, not more insults,
omissions of privilege & years of overpriced Licenses.

(If you happen to be a Ham, I would expect that you would "get" most of the above, at least, when not wearing your Radio Inspector "badge." :-)

I await a clear "Permission to Publish" for your eMail, so
I can share your corrections on the eHam forum soon.

Kindly reply via eMail, thanks.

73, Chuck VK5CQ, etc.

Posts: 585


« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2013, 01:01:37 PM »

I'd like to find & confirm info on .CA's
license fees, next.

Take a look at this link for fees related to Canadian amateur licenses:

Similar to how it is done in the US, the license is free.  You even get to put up to 3 choices for your initial Canadian callsign on the application, using a prefix or prefixes for the province/territory of your station address.   Callsigns are kept in a public database, so you are able to search for available calls before you put any on an application.  Volunteer examiners in Canada are allowed to charge a fee for the exams, and there is no set amount that the examiners can charge.  I didn't have to pay for the Basic and Morse exams I took in 2002 with one volunteer examiner, but was asked for a fee when I took the Advanced exam from a different volunteer examiner in 2003 (a contribution to the organization that sponsored the examiner).  

Industry Canada, the licensing authority for amateur radio in Canada, charges C$ 60.00 for each of the following transactions:

  • 1. Changing your callsign
  • 2. Obtaining additional callsigns (you can do this in Canada, but can only hold one call with a 2-letter suffix - unless grandfathered from years ago)
  • 3. Obtaining a callsign for a club station
  • 4. Obtaining a special-event callsign.  

More information is also available at if you are curious.

Hope that helps.  73!

P.S.: I visited Australia in 2011, and appreciated not having to apply for a VK call during my 10-day trip.  Being able to show up and operate as VK/WD9EWK under the arrangement that Australia implemented 3 or 4 years ago was very nice!

« Last Edit: April 04, 2013, 01:06:26 PM by WD9EWK » Logged

Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK - Twitter: @WD9EWK

Posts: 160

« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2013, 07:33:27 PM »

Hello Patrick

Thanks for that...

It was good to confirm that CA's Ham tickets cost $0

...reminding me that, in at least 2 N Amer lands,

+ "The best things in this Life are Free"
.  (rather than profit centers for gov'ts)

I'm not surprised that CA's Ham regulators have
seen fit to show their user-friendly IT capabilities,
eg, in a free-to-use IT call-sign selection we app.

(Skype used to let you choose your own phone-
number (DID #), in pre-Microsoft-merger days.

And at least one of our on-shore VoIP providers
lets one choose phone-numbers from short lists
which can be generated until you find one you
can relate to or like.)

ACMA's online RadCom search facility is only for
looking-up -existing- license data, & - if you for-
get to renew - access to your details disappears!

While you can search for unused call-signs, this
"quick-loss of call-sign" due to belated renewal
seems harsh, eg, if ACMA or AU Post loses the
payment or misapplies it to another account.

I think we do it -much- better when our ID is
stamped on metal plates, eg, Motor (vehicle)
Registration... you'd keep your plate number
if your payment comes in a bit late.

Licensing agencies should adopt the example.)

Your no-cost Morse & Basic exam experience
shows that some examiners aren't doing if for
the money.

I've seen 3-digit dollar costs for WIA's Exams,
-PLUS- another 3-digit cost for examiners, ie,
when exams in AU began to cost money.

The largest ARC in Adelaide publishes -their-
fees (see URL below), but I've not seen any
table of -all- fees, across examiners in AU,
that might help a traveler to "shop around."


.  (Adult: AU$ 181  &  Under 18: AU$ 149)

(Fees seem to include AU$ 64 license fee,
charged by ACMA, if enough exams are
passed to earn one. AU$ 41.80 f. upgrade)

More bureaucracy is to be found in "training"
for an Ham exam, that seems -analogous- to
the "lengthening" of mode codes; remember
the old days of A1, A3, etc.? Compare these
abbreviations to the longer ones (sometimes
with excess 0's within) seen today, at least
in AU, eg:

+ VKS737's SSB license mode: "3K00K3E"
. as found in ACMA's online RadCom database

Wasn't that something like A3J, earlier?
I guess international standards changed 'em.

'happy to hear you didn't have to pay for a
Ham license, during your visit to AU. (This
seems better than the situation for driving;
when I first visited, on a tourist visit, I was
advised to have an "Int'l drivers license,"
which cost (from memory) about US$ 10,
years ago.

AU's gov't tends to be "nice" to folks who
have paid so much to get here.

(German tourists don't even need a visa to
visit AU for 3 months, last time I checked;
while those from, eg, China, etc. require a
visa, or so I've been told.)

Thanks, again, for the leads to CA's info.

73, VK5CQ

Posts: 111

« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2013, 07:41:57 AM »

lets see, allow me to retort and relish as the devils advocate. I have an Australian apparatus licence that I pay a fee for, what do I get for this fee
1) to be under the umbrella of the ACMA and be entitled to make a complaint when my radio operations are interfered with
2) to be with other like minded licence holders when by paying a fee and recieving a piece of paper feel bound to a certain
set of rules to be civilized in thier discussions on the radio
3) as clients of having some service paid for to the ACMA they are obligied to keep serving me if they want my money every year.
this service is providing spectrum and land on the airwaves, like rent.
4) because I'm a client they must "deal" with me personally
5) as clients I'm involved in a relationship with the ACMA, I pay them money they give me a right to operate and a licence
granted the fees are a bit high and like any emergency personnel no one likes you until your needed, no love until some tragic happens
perhaps the reason why we don't enjoy the same fringe benefits as hams in the U.S. no one knows of us
we havn't saved a heap of people all the time.  there are not many hams here. at least the bands are not too crowded and not much locals crowding
the frequencies.  just my theory

Posts: 53


« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2013, 11:51:18 AM »

It is true that we have no license fees in Canada.  Technically we don't even have licenses; we have certificates of proficiency and then an assigned callsign (or callsigns).  Aside from a duty to report address changes and to operate within the parameters of our proficiency, we are free to do our thing without interference.

However, my understanding is that enforcement by Industry Canada has largely disappeared.  We are essentially a self-regulated bunch now.  If we have issues with interference or inappropriate behaviour, we report them to IC.  IC may or may not investigate.  (Since it's not generating any revenue from amateur radio, my guess is that it rarely investigates now.)

On the one hand, it's nice that I don't need to watch my back 24/7 for enforcement officers.  On the other hand, as a ham that tries to always operate within the law and within the parameters of my privileges, I have nothing to fear from enforcement officers - and if one of us is operating inappropriately, we ought to be receiving some comment about that.  The FCC seems to do quite a bit of enforcement, although I'm not clear on whether that's FCC-instigated or amateur-instigated or otherwise.

I don't know if Australia uses hams' license fees to ensure good operating conditions for hams that respect the rules - but if fees go away, the ability to do so will disappear.

Hams here seem pretty well behaved, so our system is alright, but just understand that it does come with a cost.  No system is perfect; there are implications for everything.

Posts: 177

« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2013, 09:32:46 AM »

I am not aware of any "every 10 years" fee for US Ham licenses... can you tell me how much it is & maybe end a link to a site that spells out all the costs involved, thanks?...

There is no fee for US FCC ham renewals. But some charge to do the paperwork. If you register on the FCC wireless ham page, you can just click and its done, no cost and good for 10 years. A vanity call does require a payment at time of renewal. It was $14.20 but did go up a little, maybe just a smidge over $15. Plus I suspect the middle man fees if you go through a middleman to do it. 

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