Using Amateur Radios on Incident Ground

Including Digital Modes (DMR, P25, D-STAR, FUSION)

Using Amateur Radios on Incident Ground

Postby ivahri » Sat Jan 08, 2011 1:36 pm

Hi all,

For those among us who are hams and emergency services... I thought you should read a written advice from ACMA about using radios such as Wouxuns privately owned but on land mobile frequencies.

Question: Is it legal for a person with an amateur licence to own a newly-manufactured, commercially-produced VHF or UHF transceiver that is capable of transmitting outside of the Australian amateur bands (such as those currently available from China) without taking steps to ensure that transmitting outside the amateur bands is not possible?

ACMA Answer:
The equipment that you are referring to available from China is often marketed via online auction sites as “Two way radios” or “transceiver radio walkie talkies”. Generally, these radios are front panel programmable and may transmit 136 – 174 MHz and 400 – 520 MHz without modification. Because this equipment is not restricted to amateur bands, this equipment cannot be classified as amateur radio equipment.

Equipment meeting this description is subject to the requirements of the Land Mobile LCD. In our experience, this equipment has not been tested nor labelled to indicate compliance with the Equipment Compliance and Labelling arrangements. A Land Mobile licensee operating this equipment would be subject to Section 113 of the Act which relates to Contravention of Licence conditions.

An amateur operator possessing this equipment without a licence authorising the frequencies for which it can operate would be subject to section 47 of the Act.

A number of Australian retailers provide similar equipment which has been modified to only operate on amateur frequencies. Amateur operators should ensure that these devices operate in accordance with the conditions of the amateur LCD before purchasing this equipment.

As discussed today, I hope that this response settles some of the concern in the community. Should any party which to discuss this matter further the best form of contact is via the email address interference@acma.gov.au. In saying that, the above response has been worded to assist your colleagues to look at the legislation and their licence conditions and satisfy themselves that they are familiar with their responsibilities as amateur operators.

END OF ACMA response.

Food for thought among those who use privately owned radios without their employer's consent under the guise of being a ham...

Cheers,



Richard
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Re: Using Amateur Radios on Incident Ground

Postby Bigfella237 » Sat Jan 08, 2011 3:42 pm

Having been through this argument myself in the past, what is the legality of privately owned but properly complianced PMR equipment (for argument's sake let's say an XTS5000) being used by a member of a service on frequencies licenced by that service?

Specifically I'm thinking of the many RFS members out there (you know who you are) who for whatever reason supply their own portable radios?

I would think the ACMA wouldn't be concerned as the equipment being used is compliant and the operator is more or less an employee (albeit non-paid) of the licensee?

Andrew
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Re: Using Amateur Radios on Incident Ground

Postby system_tech » Sat Jan 08, 2011 4:55 pm

It's up to the licencee to determine if they will allow private radios as part of the radio fleet and could, for example, publish an "internal order" prohibiting such use.

If a private radio was challenged by ACMA they will probably check with the licencee.

I am the adminstrator for a small volunteer group that has some private radios (type approved / commercial specifications), and I have issued each person / radio an authority, which hopefuy be honoured by ACMA.

Another example would be the VKS 737 HF network where members provide their own mobile radios (type approved / commercial specifications), they issue an authority card under Section 114(1) of the Radio Communications Act No 174 of 1992.
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Re: Using Amateur Radios on Incident Ground

Postby system_tech » Sat Jan 08, 2011 4:59 pm

Section 114 of the Radio Communications Act No 174 of 1992

Licensees may authorise third party users
(1) Subject to subsections (2), (3), (3AA), (3A), (3B), (3D) and (3F), a licensee of an apparatus licence may, by written instrument, authorise other persons to operate radiocommunications devices under the licence.

(2) The licensee must not authorise a person if to do so would be inconsistent with determinations of the ACMA under section 115.

(3) The licensee must not authorise a person if:

(a) the person has been issued an apparatus licence that:

(i) was or is of the same type as the licensee's licence; and

(ii) authorised operation of radiocommunications devices of the same kind as those to which the licensee's licence relates; and

(b) the person's licence:

(i) is suspended; or

(ii) has been cancelled within the last 2 years.

(3AA) The licensee must not authorise a person if:

(a) the licence is a digital radio multiplex transmitter licence; and

(b) the person is not a qualified company.

(3A) The licensee must not authorise a person if:

(a) the licence is a datacasting transmitter licence; and

(b) the person is not a qualified company.

(3B) The licensee must not authorise a person if:

(a) the licence is a datacasting transmitter licence; and

(b) the licensee did not, at least 30 days before the authorisation took place, give to the ACMA a written notice stating the licensee's intention to authorise the person.

(3C) If:

(a) the ACMA receives a notice of intention under subsection (3B); and

(b) the ACMA is satisfied that the authorisation would result in a breach of the BSA control rules;

the ACMA may, by written notice given to the licensee within 30 days after the notice of intention was sent to the ACMA, direct the licensee not to authorise the person.

(3D) The licensee must not authorise a person in breach of a direction under subsection (3C).

(3E) If:

(a) the ACMA receives a notice of intention under subsection (3B); and

(b) the ACMA is satisfied that the authorisation would not result in a breach of the BSA control rules;

the ACMA must, by written notice given to the licensee, inform the licensee accordingly.

(3F) If the licensee gives a notice of intention to the ACMA under subsection (3B), the licensee must not authorise the person concerned until whichever of the following first happens:

(a) the licensee receives a notice from the ACMA in relation to the authorisation under subsection (3C) or (3E);

(b) the end of 30 days after the notice of intention was sent to the ACMA.

(4) Authorising other persons does not prevent the licensee doing anything in accordance with the licence.





SO! Authorisation of private radios would have to be by written instrument.

Now would I win by saying that such written instruments would be rare / non-existant in the RFS?

And if the radio was used on GRN you would need a written instrument from GCIO as licencee.....
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Re: Using Amateur Radios on Incident Ground

Postby ivahri » Sat Jan 08, 2011 7:22 pm

Mal,

That is correct- authorisation MUST be in writing. To my knowledge very few have this authorisation. I have pointed that out to the odd person from other agencies who have just gone & programmed my agency's channels in their radio. It isn't a case of not wanting to approve it, but how can you know who is using your channel if they don't tell you?

But that is not the big issue here. Few people actually own an XTS5000. Most are buying the cheapy handhelds- the Wouxun type of Chinese made radio. The advice from ACMA is that these are not type approved so cannot be used for land mobile services. So no matter if the person is authorised by the licencee or not they must use a type approved radio.

So no ham had better try to tell an RI that the handheld radio they possess is for "emergency service use unless (a) it is type approved, and (b) they have written authority. If they don't they will cop a bluey as the hams in Victoria.

Cheers,


Richard
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Re: Using Amateur Radios on Incident Ground

Postby Mike Alpha » Sat Jan 08, 2011 7:59 pm

Guys, how would the above affect a type approved, Australian spec ham radio, such as a Yaesu VHF/UHF handheld, that has been MARS CAP modded to go out of band.?

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Re: Using Amateur Radios on Incident Ground

Postby centralcoastscanman » Sat Jan 08, 2011 8:08 pm

ivahri wrote:Mal,

That is correct- authorisation MUST be in writing. To my knowledge very few have this authorisation. I have pointed that out to the odd person from other agencies who have just gone & programmed my agency's channels in their radio. It isn't a case of not wanting to approve it, but how can you know who is using your channel if they don't tell you?

But that is not the big issue here. Few people actually own an XTS5000. Most are buying the cheapy handhelds- the Wouxun type of Chinese made radio. The advice from ACMA is that these are not type approved so cannot be used for land mobile services. So no matter if the person is authorised by the licencee or not they must use a type approved radio.

So no ham had better try to tell an RI that the handheld radio they possess is for "emergency service use unless (a) it is type approved, and (b) they have written authority. If they don't they will cop a bluey as the hams in Victoria.

Cheers,


Richard


Easy Solution, if your going to program other agencies pmr channels into your own XTS... Program them as RX only...
If you know what your doing and lets face it most people who own an XTS have a fairly good knowledge of how to program one i'd say otherwise if they don't they shouldn't have access to the programming gear.

I've got a list of other agency pmr channels in my xts but I will never program them as TX... The only TX I have got programmed up are hospitals in my area health but now they are running with expired freq's so i'm going to have to delete em from my radio...
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Re: Using Amateur Radios on Incident Ground

Postby system_tech » Sat Jan 08, 2011 8:19 pm

Mike Alpha wrote:Guys, how would the above affect a type approved, Australian spec ham radio, such as a Yaesu VHF/UHF handheld, that has been MARS CAP modded to go out of band.?

Mike


Mike - short answer ..... No.

No radio sold as an amateur radio is type approved for commercial service. MARS / CAP mod doesn't count. Amateur radios are not actually type approved by the way, as type approval relates to commercial service.

So: no using ham gear on commercial allocations, end of story.

HF, VHF or UHF.
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Re: Using Amateur Radios on Incident Ground

Postby Mike Alpha » Sat Jan 08, 2011 8:47 pm

system_tech wrote:...No radio sold as an amateur radio is type approved for commercial service. MARS / CAP mod doesn't count. Amateur radios are not actually type approved by the way, as type approval relates to commercial service.

So: no using ham gear on commercial allocations, end of story.


Thanks ST. Interesting - I tend more to use commercial radios for ham work and MARS/CAP modded ham gear for UHF CB.

Mike
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Re: Using Amateur Radios on Incident Ground

Postby system_tech » Sat Jan 08, 2011 9:22 pm

Ham gear modded for UHF CB band aint kosher either :-)

UHF CB radios are type approved for that service .. including 5 watts output. Even using commercial gear at 25 watts is a no-no. If you use commercial gear it must be power reduced to 5 watts on UHF CB channels. Some clever Programming Software won't let you break the rules - unless its hacked of course.

Ham gear outside the ham bands .. and exceeding the rated power for the service you are illegally transmitting on is double trouble .. but I think we all knew that anyway.
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