Radio Amateur Exam (RAE)

bronwyn.jpg - 42538 Bytes To legally operate an amateur radio station and acquire an internationally unique call sign, you are required to pass an examination and be registered and licenced with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA).

CTARC recommmends a training course for new radio amateurs twice a year. The courses usually start in February / March and July / August, with the examination being written in May and October respectively. If you would like to join a course, then please e-mail us.

For the latest CTARC news about the RAE click here.

A licence can be obtained only after you pass the Radio Amateur Examination - or RAE. This is conducted twice a year in South Africa usually in April/May and October/November.

The exam is organised and conducted by the South African Radio League (SARL) under the auspices of ICASA. It is held at various test centres throughout the country.

There are two classes of licence qualifying one to become a radio amateur or ham:

  • A Class A licence is required for the ZS and ZR call signs. A ZS gives you totally unrestricted use of the amateur bands HF frequency spectrum and up to 1000 Watts of output power. A ZR gives you a slightly restricted licence, this restriction being mainly on the power output of 100 Watts - which is more than sufficient!. On successful completion of the Class A exam you will be given a ZR licence and then there are various methods of upgrading to the full ZS licence.

  • The old Class B licence (ZU licence), that restricted power output to 20 Watts and permitted operation on only some segmests of the HF ham bands, has now been discontinued by ICASA.
Many clubs around the country conduct 10 to 12 week courses prior to the examination date. Courses are held regularly at the Oakdale Club and the Cape Town Amateur Radio Centre.

Attending a course is not compulsory and home study is permissible. Writing and passing the examination, however, is compulsory in order to acquire an amateur radio licence.

To find out more about the RAE visit the site of the South African Radio League. You can also download the SARL RAE Manual from the SARL site. This manual follows the HAREC syllabus, a requirement for getting a licence in South Africa.

To be put in touch with the person offering the course in the Cape Town area, please contact the Secretary by e-mail on zs1ct@ctarc.org.za.