There are two classes of licence, Class A and Class B.
Class A licensees (prefix ZR or ZS) are required to pass the Class A Radio Amateur Examination (RAE) and complete the HF operating certificate, while Class B licensees (prefix ZU) need to pass the class B Radio Amateur Examination and complete the HF operating certificate. ZU licencees are restricted in terms of the bands available, output power and some other minor items. RAE courses are conducted by many clubs around the country. Contact your closest club for more information. The examination is held twice a year, usually in May and October. Click here for a list of examination centres.
Class B (prefix ZU) Age Restriction
Candidates have to be under 20 years old to apply for a ZU licence and when they turn 25 are required to upgrade to class A (ZS or ZR) by writing and passing the class A examination.
Current class B licence holders have until 31 March 2013 to upgrade. After that date their ZU licence will not be renewed.
The Authority has announced that all persons over 25 years old can no longer renew their ZU licence from 1 April 2017.
With the publication of the new radio regulations earlier this year, the much talked about age restriction for ZU license holders was implemented. Persons under 20 years old can write the class B examination and if successful can hold a ZU or class B license until 25 years old after which, if they would like to continue with Amateur Radio, have to sit the class A examination to qualify for a class A (ZS/ZR license).
During the discussion stage of this new regulation the SARL was requested to approach ICASA to review their decision, which the SARL did at two occasions when ICASA invited comments on their proposal. ICASA strongly believes that the class B license prime purpose was to create opportunities for young people to enter Amateur Radio and based on that premises implemented the new regulation.
The SARL requested ICASA to allow a reasonable period for ZU licences over 25 to upgrade. ICASA agreed to this. The Authority has announced that all persons over 25 years old can no longer renew their ZU licence from 1 April 2017. In a letter to the affected licensees, currently being mailed, ICASA recommends that the affected persons enrol for a class A license course and write the next RAE in May or October 2016 (SARL NEWS 8 November 2015)