Become part of a committed team that engineers and manages Radio Frequency networks for the NZ Army. The skills you gain in this trade will help to develop you for future roles within the IT industry.

  • Service
  • Specialisation
    Intelligence, IT and Communications
  • Location
  • Starting Salary
  • Upcoming Intake
    26 July, 2021

About the role

As a Communication Systems Operator (CSOP) your primary role is to provide and maintain Radio Frequency (RF) networks for NZ Army's Communication Information Systems. Your training and employment will see you conducting this role throughout NZ, while also providing opportunities for overseas travel.

You will work in a team environment, sometimes in high pressure situations, to enable data and voice networks for effective command and control of NZ Armed forces. During your training you will learn to operate various military radio systems that cover the HF, VHF, UHF frequency spectrum. You will receive training on military and commercial satellite communication’s terminals that operate in the Ka, Ku and X band frequency spectrum.

As the NZ Army modernises its RF systems and keeps pace with technological change, your role will always be at the leading edge, and your skills and work ethic will be highly sought after.

Job on base

Your initial day-to-day activities will see you working as a member of a Communications Access Node (CAN) detachment. You will be responsible for establishing the RF links that allow connectivity for the deployable CIS services.  Additionally, as a trained RF specialist your role may see you interacting with personnel from other NZ Army units to provide training, advice or assistance for their specific requirements. 

Job on deployment

Communication Systems Operators are highly deployable, and are regularly employed on overseas missions and exercises, primarily in support of other NZ Army units. While on deployment overseas you can expect to work alongside other countries and nationalities establishing and supporting RF networks to enable CIS systems for the NZDF and, or interoperability with coalition partners.

"A person that would best fit a Communication System operator is someone that’s a fast learner, they have high standards, and someone that definitely wants a sense of adventure and challenge."

Training and career progression


Basic Training

Job Training

Ongoing Training

Your trade training will take approximately six years to complete. Throughout this time the NZ Army will provide training within your chosen professional field of employment. Later, as you move up within rank and seniority there are posting opportunities to areas such as Burnham, Auckland, Wellington, Trentham, and Christchurch.

Basic training

Upon enlistment into the Army you will be posted to Waiouru Army Camp. Here you will complete 16 weeks of basic military training to find out if you have what it takes to be in the Army. The training will include:

  • Organisation and Administration
  • Army Customs and Protocol
  • Drill and Parades
  • Military Field Skills and Weapon Training
  • First Aid
  • Physical Fitness


Royal New Zealand Signals Corps Training Course

You will start your initial communications training with a 3 month course at, Linton Military Camp, Palmerston North. On this course you will learn to operate a broad range of Army Radio and Communications equipment whilst gaining a good understanding of computer and networking systems. This primary course is the building block of Esprit de Corps & comradeship to the RNZ Signals Corps and its members, many of whom will become lifelong friends both during and after your time in the NZ Army.


Communication Systems Operator and Operational Support and Information Specialist Junior Course

This five week course conducted at Linton Military Camp will teach you the requirements to operate all Communications Access Nodes (CANs) and their RF systems including Satellite and 4G Cellular systems. You will also learn first line operational support within a command post environment. You will receive instruction on advanced combat radios, construction of HF, VHF and UHF antennas, wide band satellite systems, army security processes, command post operations and information assurance. 


Communication Systems Operator Intermediate Course

This one month course conducted at Linton Military Camp will teach you the requirements to operate as a detachment member or as an independent deployed Signaller. You will be taught basic electrical principles, planning and designing long range radio communications, advanced radio operations and managing multichannel satellite links. 


Communication Systems Senior Course

This one month course conducted at Linton Military Camp will teach you the requirements to design, implement and advise on communications systems. You will be taught data communications concepts, multiplexing concepts, radio frequency technology concepts, planning short and medium distance communications links, how to design frequency plans, produce communications instructions and cellular communications technologies.



In addition to the above training you will receive a combination of extramural study (such as CISCO courses) and on the job training. Adding to your professional development, you will attend a number of NZ Army command courses to enable you to develop your leadership and command strategy thinking processes. All of this training combines to make for a diverse and challenging learning environment within the NZ Army.


Trade Promotion Courses

The Detachment Commanders Course and the Troop Sergeants Course are part of your career progression. They are designed to test your trade knowledge and skills as well as your leadership ability. Base level management is conducted during these courses and enhanced at Unit level. The Communications Information System Electronic Warfare Managers Course is a more advanced course which will train you in the administration, design and management of communications and Information systems. The course is designed to test your management skills and your ability to plan, and manoeuvre communications assets on the battlefield.


Salary and benefits

Careers in the Army are well-rewarded, diverse and exciting. As you become more experienced and move up through the ranks, gaining additional skills and qualifications, your salary will rise accordingly.




Starting Trade Training


Higher Rank

Benefits and allowances

There are many additional benefits to being in the Defence Force, that will make your money go further.

For example, on top of your basic salary you can expect ‘Military Factor’. This provides you with significant extra financial rewards because of the commitment you’ve made to serve your country.

Free medical and dental

Access to subsidised equipment on base

Subsidised food on base

Competitive superannuation, up to 4% with KiwiSaver

Sponsored tertiary study programmes at all levels

Entry requirements



Fitness and Medical


Period of Service

  • You must be able to obtain a TSV clearance.
  • Must be a NZ Resident

You must have achieved NCEA level 1 Literacy and Numeracy requirements.

Find out more about the NCEA levels and certificate requirements

You must:

  • be medically fit for service
  • colour perception restrictions may apply.

There are strict citizenship and security requirements to gain the required TSV security clearance for this trade.

Find out if you’re eligible here.

Your training is some of the most thorough and advanced in the world. On completion of your training, there may be a return of service period for this trade.

Please contact our 0800 number or talk to your Candidate Experience Facilitator for more information.


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