Friday, October 23, 2009

VK9 Callsign Changes

VK9 C, L, M, N, W & X deleted from DX equation

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has decided to discontinue the use of a VK9 callsign suffix letter to denote each of the six Australian external territories, each a DX entity.

The long-standing prefixes included VK9C for Cocos (Keeling) Island, VK9L Lord Howe Island, VK9M Mellish Reef, VK9N Norfolk Island, VK9W Willis Island and VK9X Christmas Island.

The Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA), under its role of providing ham radio licence examinations and issuing amateur certificates of proficiency, also recommends each and every amateur radio callsign issued by the ACMA.

On taking on new roles earlier this year it began to query the practices in relation to VK9 callsigns, then consulted the amateur radio community and came to the view that it could not support having a suffix letter as a geographic identifier in VK9 callsigns.

The ACMA itself has not stuck with the VK9 callsign tradition over the years when issuing licences and some DXers requested a callsign contrary to the historic or DXCC list suffix block.

VK9Y has also been used for Cocos and VK9Z for Mellish, and often, particularly recently, if a VK9 callsign was requested it would be issued.

The ACMA having not rigidly applied its own VK9 callsign policy, and wanting to eliminate where-ever possible administrative tasks related to the amateur radio service, decided that the historic VK9 callsigns are a thing of the past.

From 1 November, callsigns for the VK9 DX entities will fall in line with the practice for issuing callsigns for all other VK call areas, with the suffix only to denoting the class of licence issued - Advanced, Standard or Foundation.

Licences with a VK9 callsign issued to visiting overseas radio amateurs will only be for a short-term if requested or for a maximum 12 months period, and not be automatically renewed.

A VK ham or visiting radio amateur does not necessarily require a VK9 callsign, although most do for DXing, contesting or QSLing purposes.

Under the provisions of the Amateur Licence Conditions Determination, portable operation is permitted with a radio amateur using their home callsign /VK9 and stating their location.

Jim Linton VK3PC