ACMA rules Foundation licensees cannot use digital voice modes
Michael Owen - VK3KI
Believing it desirable that Foundation licensees embrace the new the modes with the emergence of digital technologies, the WIA has sought clarification from the ACMA, requesting a number of changes to the Foundation conditions.
Schedule 3A of the Amateur Licence Conditions defines the modes that may be used by Foundation licensees, and does not include the appropriate emission mode designator for digital voice modes such as D-Star. D-Star requires the callsign to be embedded in the transmission stream to use a voice mode.
The WIA formed the view that requiring the callsign to be embedded to enable voice communication essentially no different from other permitted voice modes was not a difference the should exclude Foundation licensees from using these new modes, and did not change the character of the licence as an entry-level licence. Accordingly, the WIA approached the ACMA seeking a further amendment to the LCD to permit such use.
The WIA argued that as the Foundation licensee can only use a transmitter that has "been manufactured commercially" the programming of the necessary identification is no more difficult a task than programming a mobile phone, and that the additional information required for qualification was minimal.
The WIA proposed the addition of an appropriate emission mode designator for Foundation licensees in the 144.000 to 148.000 MHz and 430 to 450 MHz bands, with the additional provision in paragraph 29 of the LCD to permit, if the emission mode was digital voice, any data necessary to enable the use of the voice mode.
ACMA has now responded to the WIA�s approach, rejecting the proposal.
ACMA argues that the entry-level licence is meant to be easy to obtain, the amendment proposed to permit digital voice mode "would require expansion of the current syllabus and add a level of complexity to the qualification."
ACMA also contends that adding digital voice modes would erode the difference between the Foundation and the other higher levels of licence, and that the digital voice mode would require the transmission of digital data, incompatible with the Foundation licence and finally, a further amendment as requested would create further delay in the implementation of the outcomes announced 2003.
The WIA is surprised by the response from ACMA.
Unfortunately, there will be no amendment at this time to Schedule 3A of the LCD to permit digital voice modes by Foundation licensees.
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