RAE General Information

Which Class License should I write? 

Class A (ZS, ZR): An international recognized license with full rights and privileges as set out in the South African Radio Regulations, which can be found on this webpage. Any person can write this examination, there is no age restriction.

Class B (ZU): Entry level license for persons under the age of 25. You are allowed to write the Class B examination up to the age of 20.  A holder of a Class B novice licence should write and pass the Class A examination before his/her 25th birthday after which the Class B novice licence will be cancelled. 

Procedures for Class A (ZS, ZR) and Class B (ZU) License assessments 

The Radio Regulations specify that in order to be awarded a Class A (ZS, ZR) or Class B (ZU) License, the applicant must satisfactorily complete an assessment prescribed by the SARL. Assessments may only be conducted by an assessor who has been officially appointed by the SARL for this purpose, and whose appointment is valid at the time when the assessment is conducted. All applications for assessment must be made on the official SARL form. 

Pass mark for Class A (ZS, ZR) and Class B (ZU) 

An overall  pass mark of 65% with a sub minimum of 50% in both the regulations and technical sections in the Radio Amateur Examination (RAE) is a requirement to become a radio amateur in the South Africa.

General information 

The RAE examination is written during the months of May and October each year. Candidates need to pass the Class A or Class B examination.

In addition to the RAE examination all candidates must also pass a practical operating test, complete a HF Assessment examination with a pass mark of 75%, and make a minimum of 5 HF contacts, to obtain the  HF Operating Assessment Certificate. The practical operating test, HF assessment examination, and the 5 QSO’s  must be completed on or before the date of the examination and the signed assessmsnts must be uploaded to the candidates documents file on their profile. Successful Class A examination candidates will receive a Harmonized Amateur Radio Examination Certificate (HAREC). Successful Class B examination candidates will receive an Amateur Radio Station License Introductory Level (Class B) certificate.

The examination is conducted by the South African Radio League on behalf of ICASA, and is written at various centres around South Africa. Note that examinations are written on a Saturday morning and start at 10:00 and end at 13:00.
Candidates must produce their ID Book (or other official photo identification) and provide their own writing materials. No pencils may be used and only non-programmable calculators are permitted.

The examination is in two sections:

(a) Regulations and Operating Practices
(b) Technical (Theory).

To pass the examination candidates are required to attain a minimum mark of 50% in (a) and 50% in (b) and obtain an overall average pass of 65%. The two sections of the examination are presented in one paper.

The Class A examination is based on the CEPT Harmonised Amateur Radio Examination Certificate syllabus, and is recognised by all CEPT countries (this includes most European countries) and some non-CEPT countries for the purpose of obtaining an amateur radio license or reciprocal operating privileges.

The syllabus for the Class B examination is at an introductory level. It is only valid in South Africa and is not recognised in other countries and can only be used to obtain a ZU license in South Africa.

Any person can write the Class B examination but only persons under 20 years of age can apply for a class B (ZU) license.  A holder of a Class B novice licence should write and pass the Class A examination before his/her 25th birthday after which the Class B novice licence will be cancelled.

Although you can study for the examination on your own using the SARL Radio Amateur Examination Study Guide that can be downloaded free of charge from this web site, it is recommended that you enquire about RAE classes, which are held regularly in most major centres. There you will benefit from a knowledgeable instructor who will be able to assist you with all aspects of the syllabus.

This part that follows is important but have you read the previous parts?

SARL Amateur Radio Examination

The SARL conducts two regular examination sessions at designated centres around South Africa each year. Examination in non-designated centres can be arranged at an additional administration fee. Click Exam Centres for the current list of designated examination centres.

If an affiliated club is holding a course and there are 6 or more candidates entering the RAE examination, the club can request the SARL that their venue can be added to the list of designated centres for that examination. Send an email with your request to rae@sarl.org.za.