How to Obtain Amateur Radio License New Zealand

A Step-by-Step Guide to Obtaining Your Amateur Radio License in New Zealand

Interested in amateur radio (ham) operation in New Zealand? You’re in luck: we’re here to show you the steps to acquire your license and explore the world of non-commercial radio communication and experimentation. 

Let’s get started on your journey to becoming a licensed amateur radio operator!

How to obtain an amateur radio (ham) license in New Zealand?

How to obtain an amateur radio (ham) license in New Zealand

To obtain an amateur radio (ham) license in New Zealand, you must acquire a General User Radio Licence (GURL) for Amateur Radio Operators. The process involves applying for a General Amateur Operator’s Certificate of Competency (GAOC) and callsigns. 

While it may seem overwhelming at first, don’t worry! We’re here to break down each step of the process to make it easier for you. 

DifficultyModerate ●●●○○
Number of steps5
Time to perform stepsSeveral weeks 
Things you need• Study materials
• Exam preparation
• Application form (for callsign)
• Callsign fee

STEP 1: Contact an approved radio examiner.

Contact an approved radio examiner

To begin your journey towards obtaining a GURL, the first step is to get in touch with an Approved Radio Examiner (ARX). The ARX will offer you the amateur radio operator’s examination required to obtain the GAOC.

Here’s how to find an approved radio examiner:

1. Visit the Radio Spectrum Management (RSM) and click on the “For engineers, certifiers, and examiners” tab.

2. You will be directed to a page with a list of engineers, certifiers, and examiners; scroll down to select one.

3. Click on “See details” next to your selected examiner to view their contact information. Reach out to them to inquire about taking the exam and other necessary details.

The amateur radio operator’s examination in New Zealand covers radio theory (waves, propagation, modulation), radio law (Acts, Regulations), operating practices (callsigns, etiquette, safety), and technical aspects (antennas, transmitters, receivers).
Many amateur radio clubs offer licensing courses, or you can study using books and online resources.

STEP 2: Obtain your GAOC.

Obtain your GAOC

Once you’ve successfully completed the amateur radio operator’s examination administered by the Approved Radio Examiner (ARX), the process to obtain your General Amateur Operator’s Certificate (GAOC) typically proceeds as follows:

  • Examination assessment: The ARX will evaluate your performance on the exam and assess whether you have met the requirements to be granted the GAOC.
  • Notification of results: The ARX will inform you of your examination results. If you have successfully passed the exam, they will proceed with the GAOC issuance process.
  • GAOC processing: The ARX will initiate the processing of your GAOC. This involves verifying your examination results and ensuring that all necessary documentation is in order.
  • Confirmation and submission: Once the GAOC processing is complete, the ARX will submit your application to New Zealand Association of Radio Transmitters (NZART) for approval.
  • RSM review: NZART forwards your approved application to Radio Spectrum Management (RSM) for final review.
  • Issuance of GAOC: Once RSM has reviewed the application and found it to be in order, NZART will issue your General Amateur Operator’s Certificate (GAOC).
  • Receiving your GAOC: The GAOC will be sent to you by mail or electronically. You will receive a physical certificate or a digital copy, depending on your preference.
  • Confirmation and validity: Once you have received your GAOC, you should carefully review the details for accuracy. Your GAOC will have a validity period, which you must adhere to while operating as an amateur radio operator.

STEP 3: Obtain a callsign.

Obtain a callsign

Congratulations on obtaining your General Amateur Operator’s Certificate of Competency (GAOC)! Now, it’s time to acquire your callsign, which uniquely identifies you as an amateur radio operator. 

Here’s how you do it:

1. Visit the New Zealand Association of Radio Transmitters (NZART)

2. Locate and click on the “Learn” tab on the NZART website. This section provides valuable information and resources for amateur radio operators.

3. Within the “Learn” section, look for the “Callsign Application Form” option and click on it. This will direct you to the callsign application form page.

4. Download the Call sign application form.

5. Fill out the application form: Take your time to carefully fill out the application form. Provide accurate and complete information in the specified fields. The form will require the following details:

  • Applicant Details: Enter your name, address, contact information, and any other relevant personal details requested.
  • Personal Details: Supply the required personal details as requested on the form.
  • Amateur Operator Callsign:  Rank your top three choices for your callsign (e.g., ZL1, ZL2, ZL3) in order of preference. You may also indicate a preference for a two or more letter suffix for your callsign.
  • Declaration: Sign the declaration section to confirm the accuracy and authenticity of the information provided in the application.
  • Fees for the amateur callsign: The fee for obtaining a new callsign is $80. Provide details of the payment method (e.g., bank transfer, check, etc.) as requested on the form.

6. Submit the application form: After completing the application form, double-check all the provided information for accuracy. The form can be submitted by post to the following address:

  • Postal Address:


P O Box 40-525


New Zealand

7. Await callsign assignment: Once NZART receives your completed application and verifies the information, they will assign you a unique callsign as an amateur radio operator.

8. Receive your callsign: Once your application is processed, you will receive your assigned call sign via email or mail. 

Radio Spectrum Management (RSM) will know that a callsign has been assigned to you when NZART sends them a notification. You will not need to submit your GAOC or callsign to RSM.
However, you should keep a copy of your GAOC in a safe place, as you will need it to prove that you are a licensed amateur radio operator.

STEP 4: Learn about the GURL Notice.

Learn about the GURL Notice

You will receive your General User Radio Licence (GURL) for Amateur Radio Operators from Radio Spectrum Management (RSM) 7 days after you have been issued your callsign. But hold on – you can’t start transmitting yet!

The GURL requires that you have read and understood the terms and conditions before you start transmitting. This means you need to get a hold of the General User Radio Licence for Amateur Radio Operators Notice 2017.

This document contains essential rules and guidelines that govern the use of radio frequencies by amateur radio operators in New Zealand. 

By carefully going through the GURL Notice, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the terms and conditions related to operating your radio equipment.

During this learning period, it is crucial to refrain from transmitting.

If you start transmitting before the waiting period is over, Radio Spectrum Management may contact you to ask if you have read the notice. 
Here are some tips for proving that you have read and understood the GURL Notice:
• Keep a copy of the notice in a safe place.
• Make notes of the key points of the notice.
• Be able to discuss the contents of the notice with someone else.
• If you have not read the notice, they may ask you to wait until you have read it before you start transmitting.

STEP 5: Start transmitting.

Start transmitting

After the waiting period of 7 days, Radio Spectrum Management will assume that you have read and understood the General User Radio Licence for Amateur Radio Operators (GURL) Notice 2017. Once this waiting period is over, you are allowed to start transmitting.

At this point, you have completed all the necessary steps to become a licensed amateur radio operator in New Zealand. 

Now, you can enjoy the exciting world of amateur radio, communicate with fellow operators, participate in events, and explore the endless possibilities of radio communication.

FAQs about obtaining an amateur radio (ham) license in New Zealand