How to obtain a guest licence in South
Last updated 2002-01-29
I get many enquiries about guest operations in South Africa.
Here is the current state of affairs:
Although the South African
Radio League advertises itself as the best way to obtain a
licence, at least two foreign applicants in the past month have
reported not even having the courtesy of a reply. The SARL is
in an administrative shambles, and will probably remain so for
the foreseeable future. Don't waste your time.
South Africa is a CEPT signatory. If you are from a CEPT
country, you can operate in South Africa without any further
paperwork. Simply sign ZS6/(homecall)/P (or ZS1 or ZS2 or whatever
call area you find yourself in). Most European countries, the USA
and New Zealand are CEPT signatories. There is a full
list of participating countries on the ARRL's Web site.
When operating under CEPT privileges, you need three things: Your
original licence, proof of citizenship of the country issuing the
licence, and a copy of the authorisation validating your licence
in the CEPT territories, in English, French and German. The
FCC's validation is also available on the ARRL Web site.
If you are in a country that has a reciprocal agreement with
South Africa, but that does not endorse the CEPT treaty, you can
obtain a guest licence. You can try to do this through the SARL,
but you will waste your time. Instead, deal directly with ICASA,
the government agency that regulates radio. Simply send a fax to
+27 11 321 8577, for the attention of Gert Visser. The fax must
contain the following information: Full names; contact
address and telephone numbers in South Africa; Itinerary and dates
during which the country will be visited. Copies of one's passport
title page, containing personal particulars, and one's licence must
also be included. The licence document must show that the licence
is still valid. If necessary, receipts or other proof of validity
must also be enclosed.
Although I was told in 2001 that a licence can be issued to a
visiting amateur, the official line now is that no "normal" callsigns
are issued to non-residents. The matter is being addressed, through
a petition to ICASA. If you are a resident, you can apply for a
regular callsign. You can even request a specific callsign, and
the request will be honoured if the callsign is vacant. Class 1
licences use a ZS prefix, while Class 2 licences use a ZR prefix.
The call area must correspond to the contact address. A list of
major cities and areas is supplied below.
For both guest and resident licences, ICASA will mail a licence
to the South African contact address. As soon as this account is
paid (at any post office), your licence is valid. It remains valid
for a full calendar year. The licence fee is less than US$ 5 per
Which call area am I in?
South Africa has six call areas on the mainland, as well as
Antarctica (ZS7) and the Prince Edward Islands (ZS8). The call
areas are as follows:
ZS1: Western Cape Province (Cape Town and environs).
Tel: 2x. Post: 62, 65, 66, 68, 71 to 79, 80, 82.
ZS2: Eastern Cape Province (Port Elizabeth, East London).
Tel: 4x. Post: 49, 52, 56, 58, 60, 61, 62, 65.
ZS3: Northern Cape Province (Kimberly, Upington).
Tel: 53, 54. Post: 69, 83 to 86, 88, 89.
ZS4: Free State Province (Bloemfontein, Welkom).
Tel: 51, 52, 55 to 59. Post: 19, 24, 93 to 95, 97 to 99.
ZS5: Kwa Zulu Natal Province (Durban, Pietermaritzburg).
Tel: 3x. Post: 29, 32, 33, 36 to 43.
ZS6: Gauteng, Northern, Northwest and Mpumalanga Provinces.
(Pretoria, Johannesburg, Pietersburg, Mafikeng, Kruger National Park).
Tel: 1x. Post: 0, 1, 21, 24, 27.
Each area shows the postal and telephone codes associated with
the area. Compare these to your contact address details to determine
which call area your licence will be in. Postal codes have four
digits, with only the first one or two digits being shown (e.g. 0181
is in ZS6, 8001 is in ZS1, 8601 is in ZS3). The postal listing is not
complete, but most of the important ones should be shown. Telephone
dialling codes consist of two digits, and are preceded either by a
"0" (domestically) or by +27 (from abroad). Example: 12 is in ZS6,
and would be shown as 012 or +27 12 in telephone numbers.
Have fun! Just don't expect to hear lots of loud signals while
you're down here...
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