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2013 News Releases

 

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50-52 MHz and closure of the last Ch.0 station

Date : 07 / 12 / 2013
Author : Roger Harrison - VK2ZRH

The WIA is informed that the last Channel 0 TV station is scheduled to close this month.

The Institute understands that, following the closure of the NEN0 translator station at Tamworth in NSW, three sections of the Amateur LCD limiting 6m operation by advanced licensees will become inoperative.

Section 15 of the LCD restricts advanced licensees in the eastern states to 50-50.3 MHz, with geographic boundaries and reduced transmitting power. Sections 36 and 43 apply similar restrictions to beacons and repeaters, respectively.

If these sections of the LCD become void, advanced licensees in Queensland, New South Wales, the ACT and Victoria would again have full access to the 50-52 MHz sector of the 6m band, as do amateurs in the other states and territories.

However, having not heard anything officially, the WIA wrote to the ACMA in November seeking clarification.

Once the situation is clarified with the ACMA, the WIA will post an announcement on our website and put an item in the VK1WIA weekly broadcast news.


Some Background
The WIA has raised this issue with the ACMA previously, both formally and informally over recent years, as the switchover from analogue to digital TV proceeded.

Although primary Ch.0 stations in the eastern states closed down progressively over recent years, the ACMA maintained the restrictions. On 5 July 2013, the ACMA updated an earlier statement on its website giving reasons for this policy. Titled “Amateur licence conditions in force during digital switchover”, which says (in conclusion):

As switchover progresses, some amateur operators will no longer be affected by the distance condition. However, for the time being, the LCD will continue to prohibit operation in the band at a place that is less than 120 kilometres from a main Channel 0 station or 60 kilometres from a translator using this channel.

The LCD places restrictions on amateur operation within the frequency band 50.0 MHz to 50.3 MHz. While holders of the amateur advanced station licence may use the band, restrictions to amateur station power, mode and location were introduced to control interference to reception of television channel 0 (see section 15 of the LCD). Only amateur operators in Queensland, New South Wales, the ACT and Victoria are affected by the restrictions.

In May 2010, the WIA made representations to the Chairman and Chief Executive of the ACMA, Mr Chris Chapman, canvassing responses to the following issues:

(a) re-allocation of 50-52 MHz to the Amateur Service on a primary basis (with consequent changes to the Australian Radio Frequency Spectrum Plan);

(b) Standard licensees being permitted access to 50-52 MHz; and

(c) amendment of the Amateur LCD to reflect such changes.

These matters were also raised in the WIA’s letter to the ACMA in November, which sought uniform access to 50-52 MHz across Australia for advanced licensees following the closure of NEN0 in Tamworth.



ACMA: Amateur licence conditions in force during digital switchover
at this Link


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