Amateur Station Inspection Process
The WIA and staff from the ACMA have agreed on the steps to be undertaken leading up to and during the course of a licensed amateur station inspection. The process is a balance between operational efficiency of ACMA staff and the individual rights and obligations of an amateur operator.
Michael Owen - VK3KI
It should be noted that Radio Inspectors acting under the Radiocommunications Act (the Act) do not generally have automatic rights, other than common law rights, to enter an individual property unless permission is granted by the property occupier. However, in emergency situations the Act provides that Inspectors may enter premises to stop actual interference to certain safety, police and fire services. Circumstances where radio equipment may be seized are also specified in the Act. In the conduct of an investigation Inspectors may make a sworn statement and apply to the Court for a "Search Warrant" from a Magistrate. Generally there has to be sufficient evidence to form a reasonable belief that there has been one or more of significant breaches of the Act in order to obtain a warrant. An Inspector can execute the warrant at any time specified on the warrant and station operators should provide all necessary assistance to enable the warrant to be executed.
In contrast amateur station inspections are normally a routine activity, often with an educational objective. Ordinarily, an Inspector will arrange a mutually convenient time by telephone with a licensee to inspect the licensee’s amateur station. If the licensee is aged under 18, the appointment shall be made through a parent or guardian or other appropriate adult person in the position of a parent, subject to entry authorised in emergency situations (as referred above). If the licensee is aged under 18, the inspection shall be carried out in the presence of the parent or guardian or other appropriate adult person. In some cases, where an Inspector is working in a particular area, it may be convenient to visit amateurs in the area to undertake station inspections and in such cases it may not be possible to make an appointment by telephone.
It has been agreed that the following steps will be taken in such cases when an Inspector has been unable to make an appointment:
1. The ACMA staff will select the licensee(s) to be visited by the proximity of their station(s) to other work in an area;
2. The ACMA staff will ascertain the age of each licensee to be visited;
3. If the licensee is aged under 18, contact shall be made through a parent or guardian or other adult person in the position of a parent;
4. Upon arrival the Inspector shall identify themself and display his or her identification card. The WIA advises that the licensee should note the name(s) of the Inspector(s);
5. The Inspector shall request permission to enter and to inspect the station. If it is not convenient to do so the inspector should advise the licensee that the inspection may take place at another time more convenient to both the ACMA and the licensee.
6. The ACMA staff shall always ensure that if the licensee is aged under 18 any inspection is carried out at all times in the presence of a parent or guardian or other adult person (subject to entry authorised in emergency situations).
7. The licensee shall assist the Inspector in the conduct of the inspection and possible testing of equipment.
At the conclusion of the inspection, and if there are any irregularities, the Inspector may hand an Advice or Warning Notice to the Licensee identifying any irregularities and recommending any action to be undertaken by the licensee.
All amateur licensees should be aware of and must operate their station in accordance with the Act and the licence conditions relating to the type of licence held. It is expected that ACMA staff and Amateur operators will work co-operatively in accordance with the above procedure and always bear in mind the individual rights of the licensee.
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