Licence conditions remake – WIA responds
In March, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) issued a Consultation paper concerning its proposed remake of the current Amateur licence conditions determination (LCD), which "sunsets" on 1 October 2015. At the same time, the ACMA published its draft amendment to the Amateur LCD and the related class licence for overseas amateurs visiting Australia.
Roger Harrison - VK2ZRH
The ACMA’s intention with the remake was to 'tidy up' these two documents and reissue them ". . . largely in their current form so that their ongoing effect is preserved." Hence, no significant changes were proposed, with the exception of new conditions for the 3.3-3.6 GHz band (9 cm), where advanced licensees would be precluded from segments at 3400-3425 MHz and 3492.5-3542.5 MHz in certain geographic areas to provide apparatus licensing of fixed wireless services for the National Broadband Network (NBN). Unfortunately, as no licenses for this were issued when the draft LCD remake was published, no details of the geographic areas where amateur operation would be prohibited could be included.
The WIA’s comments on the proposals focus on issues involving the 600 m band, the 6 m band and the 9 cm band. Regarding the 600 m band, the WIA suggests removal of the exclusion zone around Exmouth in WA as there is no longer a licensed navigation beacon there, and a reduction of the exclusion zone for the Timor navigation beacon as, at the permitted amateur power levels this would enable Alice Springs amateurs to use the band. In addition, the submission suggests that the permitted bandwidth allowed on the 600 m band be set at 2.7 kHz (rather than kept at 2.1 kHz) as this would enable the widely available SSB suppressed carrier mode (which most commercial transceivers use) while excluding AM.
For the 6 m band, the WIA noted the removal of references to channel 0 being replaced with reference to not interfering with a primary service for the 50-52 MHz band in the spectrum plan. There are currently no primary service licensees here. The Institute continues to pursue primary access for 50-52 MHz.
The Institute's comments concerning the 3400-3425 MHz and 3492.5-3542.5 MHz arrangements goes into some detail, particularly highlighting concerns with the geographic extent of the exclusion zones, with a view to preserving use of 3400-3410 MHz as widely as possible across Australia.
It understood that this isn’t "the last gasp" for reform of the amateur licence conditions. Following discussions arising from the WIA's July 2014 submission to the ACMA on amateur licence reform, we anticipate that the LCD remake will proceed and, later, the ACMA (or its heirs and successors) will entertain an extended review and conduct a public consultation process.
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