Full time / View Reserve role

Communication Systems Operator

Help keep the Army in touch and communicating effectively, operating high-tech radio and satellite systems on base, on exercises and on deployments overseas.

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Job Overview

About the Job

On the battlefield, the Royal Australian Corps of Signals (RA Sigs) provides commanders with the means of controlling the battle using a number of methods including radio, fibre optic, microwave, information systems and satellite links. By planning, deploying and maintaining robust, scalable, secure local and wide area networks, RA Sigs ensures the Army's information services are available 24/7 anywhere in the world.

The Communication Systems Operator is responsible for the operation of communications equipment at a number of different levels; whether it is within a Special Forces patrol or within a large headquarters, the men and women of the Communications Systems employment category are there.

As a Communication Systems Operator you will ensure that your Commander can communicate over a range of different communications networks, using satellite terminals, radios, hand-held and desktop data terminals and security equipment. Your training will give you the skills you need to become proficient in radio-telephone voice procedures, touch typing, electronic data transfer and a variety of software applications.

As a Communication Systems Operator you will be a member of a closely-knit detachment, where teamwork, self-motivation, co-operation and good inter-personal relationships are essential. You will be relied upon to exercise a high degree of judgment as you conduct a range of diverse tasks in challenging and time constrained situations. Your work environment and career will be varied, giving you the opportunity to operate from 4 x 4 vehicles, armoured vehicles, communication centres in air conditioned offices, foot patrols in support of small teams, field command posts, airfields or large Navy vessels.

Additionally, Communications Systems Operators conduct Battlespace Spectrum Management (BSM) and Force Protection Electronic Counter Measures (FP ECM). Whatever the location, deployment or task, Communication Systems Operators provide the appropriate communications systems for the Army whether it is on land, in the air or at sea.

Your duties:

The duties listed below are those that you will be trained in during your initial employment training and subsequent trade training courses that you will attend over the course of your career, but note that not all duties are performed in each individual Communication Systems Operator position:

  • Plan, design and manage a variety of communications networks
  • Conduct the configuration, deployment and operation of tactical radio and satellite systems, antenna systems, computer networks and computer terminals
  • Perform customer service tasks including transmitting and receiving messages
  • Conduct general maintenance of radio equipment, satellite systems and data links
  • Identify faults and perform basic fault rectification of radio equipment, antennas, batteries and associated ancillary equipment

Typical work hours

Work hours within a unit location, such as Brisbane QLD, Townsville QLD or Darwin NT, are typically 7:30am to 4pm weekdays and you will also periodically spend time in the field environment supporting various exercises around Australia.

Other Ranks - Non Technical

Join the ADF with appropriate high school passes

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Salary can be over $61,368 p.a. on completion of initial employment training. This salary includes Uniform and Service allowance.

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Key Information

National Qualifications

Army is currently undertaking a review of civil accreditation gained through Army training.

Salary & Allowances

Salary while undertaking Military (Recruit) Training: $1,434 per fortnight ($37,302 pro rata per year).*

Salary while undertaking Initial Employment Training: $1,639 per fortnight ($42,631 pro rata per year).*

While under training, you will also receive $403 per fortnight ($10,493 per year pro rata) Trainee Allowance.

Salary (excluding allowances) on completion of Initial Employment Training: ($1,822) per fortnight ($47,377 per year).*

In addition to your salary, you will also receive Service Allowance of $538 per fortnight ($13,991 per year) except while undertaking Military (Initial) or Employment training. This allowance compensates a member for the unique requirements that service life may impose on an individual and his or her family.

To assist you in maintaining your uniforms in good order and condition, you will also receive a Uniform Allowance of $16 per fortnight ($419 per year).

Each General Entry job in the Australian Defence Force is classified into a pay grade. This particular job is classified as a Pay Grade 3 occupation.

Salary will continue to increase based on rank and the number of years of service completed in that rank. Pay Grade may also increase following the acquisition of additional skills and completion of advanced courses.

Refer to the Salary Scales for further details.

* Please note that these figures do not include compulsory deductions for taxation; meals, accommodation and utilities (as applicable); and superannuation.


Communication Systems Operators are employed in all RA Sigs tactical units and in a number of strategic units that operate throughout Australia. The majority of positions are located in Melbourne, Darwin, Townsville, Brisbane and Sydney. You may also have the opportunity to deploy overseas on operations during your career.



Applicants must be aged between 17 and 54 years of age inclusive on day of entry.

Applicants will not be allowed to enter the ADF until they achieve a minimum of 17 years of age, however they may be able to initiate the application process from 16 years and six months of age, depending upon the capacity of their local recruiting centre.

Education & Experience

Completion of Australian Year 10 education (or equivalent) with passes in English and Mathematics.

Medical & Fitness

To be enlisted or appointed, you must be medically and physically fit for entry to your chosen occupation. This is partially assessed from the completion of an extensive questionnaire covering your medical history, followed by a physical examination.

You will also be required to successfully pass a physical fitness test before appointment.

For further details on medical and physical fitness standards refer to Physical Fitness Standards for Entry into the ADF and Medical Process for Entry into the ADF.

Period of Service

You will be enlisted for an Initial Minimum Period of Service (IMPS) of four years. Subsequent periods of service may be offered subject to the requirements of the ADF and your suitability for further service. You may request discharge at any time provided you do not have an outstanding IMPS obligation.

If you have only received partial recognition of your qualifications, you will be advised of the Initial Minimum Period of Service (IMPS) after the Recognition of Prior Learning/Recognition of Current Competencies process is complete. The IMPS will be between four and seven years.

Additional Requirements

It is highly desirable that all applicants for CommunicationSystems Operator hold at a minimum a Provisional Drivers Licencefor a manual vehicle, in their state or territory.


The application process to join the Australian Defence Force requires you to complete a series of aptitude tests which may include verbal, spatial and numerical ability and a general maths test. Some jobs may also require you to complete additional testing at a later date.

Psychology support staff will explain what is involved with each test.

The aptitude tests provide information about your suitability for the Defence Force and for particular jobs. Defence Force Recruiting can then help you identify jobs that best match your abilities.

Further information on the aptitude testing requirements can be found here.


Only Australian Citizens are permitted to serve in the ADF.

If you are a permanent resident of Australia, the ADF may consider a temporary deferral of the citizenship requirement if the position for which you are applying cannot be filled by an applicant who meets all the citizenship requirements, and then only in exceptional circumstances. You will be required to obtain Australian Citizenship as early as possible following enlistment or appointment.

Find out more in our Citizenship page or ask your local Defence Force Recruiting Centre.

Security Requirements

The Department of Defence requires ADF employees to have security clearances appropriate to their employment.

A process of background checks, collection of relevant information and, as required, interviews, enables the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency to make an informed assessment of an applicant's suitability for a security clearance.

The minimum security clearance level required is Negative Vetting Level 1, and current policy requires applicants to have a checkable background for the previous 10 years. Required information includes:

  • Residence

  • Employment

  • Education

  • Credit

Australian Citizenship is a requirement for a security clearance and a clearance will only be granted to a non-citizen in exceptional circumstances.

NOTE: The security clearance is critical to an applicants successful progression through the Army training system. If an applicant is unable to obtain the required security clearance in time, they will not be allowed to continue their training and may need to be re-allocated to another employment category. As such, it is strongly recommended that all applicants obtain the required documentation as soon as possible to provide the best opportunity to be employed in their preferred employment category.


Military Training

All General Entry recruits into the Australian Regular Army are required to complete the Recruit Course.

Total Duration: 80 days.

Location: Kapooka, Wagga Wagga, NSW.

Recruit training is the same for male and female entrants. During the 80 day Army Recruit Course you will be required to take part in physical training, weapon handling and shooting, first aid, drill and field craft. The training is deliberately challenging and has been designed to prepare you to be a soldier in today's Army. Recruits gain a sense of achievement, purpose and confidence during basic training, and on completion of the course feel justifiably proud of what they have achieved.

For more details on recruit training, refer to the Joining instructions. These instructions will provide you and your family with enough information to arrange your personal affairs before enlistment in the Army, and give you an idea of what you will be doing on the recruit course.

Further information is also available at the Army Recruit Training Centre website.

During Military (Initial Recruit) Training and (Initial) Employment Training, members may be required to pay a contribution towards meals, accommodation and utilities.

Employment Training

As a Communication Systems Operator you will conduct your communications training at the Defence Force School of Signals (DFSS) at Macleod, VIC. You won't find technical and communication schools with a better teacher/student ratio or better equipment and facilities. DFSS is dedicated to giving you the best technical and communications training possible.

Unlike any other school of its kind, you will be paid while you learn and are guaranteed a job when you graduate. In addition to your trade training courses, you will continue to develop your military skills which will allow you to be an Army soldier as well as a Communication Systems Operator. This will allow to you attain the technical skills you need as well as develop your ability to work in diverse teams, understand tactical considerations of deploying communications networks in a variety of field environments and give you the opportunity to fulfill a range of leadership positions.

Common Signals Training

Duration: 20 Days.

Note: Course duration may vary depending on public holidays and other Army requirements.

Location of Training: Defence Force School of Signals, Simpson Barracks Macleod, Victoria.

This course provides foundation knowledge of Corps history along with the roles and the basic skills to operate common in-service Communication, Information Systems and Electronic Warfare (CISEW) equipment. This course also serves to qualify graduates as basic combat communicators, operate basic in-service power generation equipment and progress to subsequent courses.

The curriculum consists of six modules:

  • Module One: Describe the history and role of RA Sigs
  • Module Two: Operate common RA Sigs telephony and IT equipment
  • Module Three: Basic Power Generation Equipment
  • Module Four: Basic VHF dismounted combat communications
  • Module Five: Basic VHF mounted combat communications
  • Module Six: Basic HF mounted combat communications skills

Communication Systems Operator (ECN 662) RA Sigs

Duration: approximately 115 days.

Note: Course duration may vary depending on public holidays and other Army requirements.

Location of Training: Defence Force School of Signals, Simpson Barracks, Macleod, Victoria.

Trainees will be instructed in seven modules including the operation and maintenance of military High Frequency (HF) and Very High Frequency (VHF) radios, portable Ultra High Frequency (UHF) satellite terminals, using contemporary waveforms and cryptographic equipment. Communication Systems Operators will be trained to deploy computer networks and to operate computer based communications applications. This training will be conducted in a range of simulated environments based upon vehicle and Command Post operations.

It should be noted that there might be periods of time between courses conducted at DFSS. Should this occur, you will be provided with both meaningful employment and refresher training.