Early QSL card

NSW Amateur Radio Callsign Listing

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The inspiration for this project was the donation of the only known original copy of the Wireless Calls, 1st October 1912, published by the Wireless Institute of New South Wales, by Pierce Healy, VK2APQ.

With the Centenary of Amateur Radio celebrations due in 2010, it was indeed a timely gift. Further enquiries revealed that there was no combined listing of amateur experimenters and it was apparent that such a listing was needed. The database file on this CD is the result of hundreds of hours of locating and typing lists of callsigns. There are in excess of 14500 lines of entries in the database.

The obvious source of the material was ARNSW, but unfortunately their records were still in storage following the move from Amateur Radio House, Harris Park to the "Shed" at Dural.

Many call books were located following adverts being placed on the WIA Broadcast and in the VK2 section of Amateur Radio Magazine, by Tim Mills whilst others were donated which resulted in the project getting under way.

The format of callsigns has changed over the years. The pre-WW1 calls began as 3 letter "X" calls and by 1914 demand was such that 4 letter "X" calls were being issued. It is generally understood that few of those taking up licences actually transmitted. With the outbreak of The Great War, the government curtailed amateur radio and it did not recommence until 1920. Radio was then controlled by the Royal Australian Navy and eventually control was given to the Post Master General's Department in 1921. Experimenters wishing to take out licences in 1920 were passed from one government department to another and it took a couple of years before the situation resolved itself. Licences granted in 1920 by the Navy Department had numeric callsigns prefixed by a state letter (eg N for NSW)

Post WW1 callsigns issued by the PMG took the form of 2**, such as in 2CM, belonging to Charles Maclurcan. A part 1923 listing is mainly made up of callsigns issued to receiving stations. With signals travelling greater distances as technology improved, there became a need for a country identifier and we then see A and OA being added to Australian callsigns. Around the 1928/29 period, the prefix "VK" was allocated to Australian amateurs and the now familiar pattern emerged.

Unfortunately VK2 callsigns were not only issued to Amateurs. In the early 1930s they were also issued to coastal trawlers, NSW Dept of Public Works and companies in the radio trade. Up to the start of WW2, amateur stations were able to broadcast music at certain times, even on the AM Broadcast band. Commercial pressure stopped this post war.

Accessing the Callsign list

The listing is in the form of a PDF file and sorted with the following headings:
Surname Initials Year Callsign Address Postcode Comment

You can either download or display the full PDF file (Right click the link to choose). It is quite a large file consisting of over 20,000 entries since most amateurs were licenced for several years. There are over 400 pages with a total size of about 1Mb. To find specific entries in the list, use your pdf reader's search function which works on any field. Note that some names, especially those of organisations, may be spelt differently since this is how they appeared in the respective year book.

The Access database on which this callsign list is based is available on CD from the museum for $20 including postage to Australian addresses. This would allow different formats of list to be prepared. The listing is a valuable research tool for those delving into NSW amateur radio history and is a fitting acknowledgement of those who participated in the hobby in the earlier years.

Enter the name or other detail in the box below to search the website.

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© Ian O'Toole, 2011. Page created: 6/04/11 Last updated: 07/04/2011