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Amateur LCD amended

Date : 22 / 12 / 2010
Author : Michael Owen - VK3KI

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) has amended the Radiocommunications Licence Conditions (Amateur Licence) Determination No 1 of 1997 (the Amateur LCD) and the Radiocommunications (Overseas Amateurs Visiting Australia) Class Licence (the Class Licence). In doing so, the ACMA has given effect to several matters first requested by the WIA in December 2008.

WRC-07 allocated the band 135.7 – 137.8 kHz to the amateur service on a secondary basis in most parts of the world, including Australia. To date, Advanced licensees have been able to operate on this band only if they had obtained a variation of their licence conditions. Now all Advanced amateurs may operate on the band 135.7 – 137.8 kHz, subject to conditions including the condition “If a licensee operates an amateur advanced station in the frequency band 135.7 kHz to 137.8 kHz, the licensee must not operate the station using a radiated power of more than 1 watt pX EIRP”.

Previously section 42 of the Amateur LCD (part of the conditions of a repeater licence) required the originating station to use what was called an “access control system”, which is defined to be either a tone burst system that has a frequency of 1750 Hz, or a continuous tone coded squelch system or a dual tone multi frequency system if the output frequency was different from the input frequency. The WIA argued that such access control systems were not appropriate with current digital technology protocols used by amateurs, such as the D-STAR system. In that system, the transmitter has to be specifically programmed to determine the output frequency band of the digital repeater. The Amending Determination now adds as an access control system any system that “uses any other readily available code or signal”.

A further matter raised by the WIA was that the Class Licence by Section 11 (1) .provided that "An amateur station must not be operated unless a qualified person operating the station identifies the station by use of the callsign, mentioned in subsection 6 (2), followed by the suffix VK" and that was inconsistent with CEPT Recommendation T/R 61-01 and was an exception to the way in which amateur callsigns are constructed under similar arrangements. The WIA pointed out that T/R 61-01 provides that "When transmitting in the visited country the licence holder must use his national call sign preceded by the call sign prefix of the visited country as indicated in Appendices II and IV. The call sign prefix and the national call sign must be separated by the character "/" (telegraphy) or the word "stroke" (telephony)." Subsection 11 (1) of the Class Licence has been amended to read “An amateur station must not be operated unless a qualified person operating the station identifies the station by using the call sign mentioned in paragraph section 6 (2) (e) preceded by the letters VK.”

In addition to these changes requested by the WIA, a number of other changes are made, mainly of a technical nature, for example substituting "the ACMA" for "ACMA" and rectifying some omissions. More significantly, section 5 (3) of the Amateur LCD had provided that "The licensee must not transmit messages to an amateur station in a foreign country if ACMA has published a notice in the Gazette to the effect that the government of that country has given notice that it objects to the transmission and reception of messages between amateur stations in that country and amateur stations outside that country." That provision has been deleted and a new provision inserted as follows "The licensee must not transmit a message to an amateur station in a foreign country if the transmission would be inconsistent with the Australian table of allocations in the spectrum plan or a footnote to that table." The term "spectrum plan" is defined to mean “the Australian Radiofrequency Spectrum Plan 2009”.

While the WIA has supported all the amendments, it has expressed its reservation about the possibility that the term “inconsistent” in the context of the spectrum plan may lead to unintended consequences. The other changes to the Class Licence simply reflect the changes to the Amateur LCD. At present the amendments are available as separate documents, and the primary documents have not been consolidated to incorporate the changes. When the Class Licence and the Amateur LCD consolidated versions become available they will be placed here on the WIA website.


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