Tag Archives: Permitted Equipment

Permitted Equipment For Amateur Use

Ben Hennessy VK5TX

With the recent discussion on the air and the internet about if it is legal to possess equipment that can transmit on frequencies other than the amateur band, the WIA has released the following statement on their website.


Permitted Equipment For Amateur Use


This page has been developed for the benefit of members as a result of a number of ACMA compliance activities in recent years, that has left some amateur licensees unsure as to what he or she can possess and operate. The term “operate” for the purposes of the licence conditions means to cause a transmitter to transmit or cease to transmit.

The WIA has argued that these compliance issues are almost in all cases one of behavour (illegal acts) and rather than defining what type of classes of equipment an amateur may possess or operate a more general approach has been agreed.

In Australia, the ACMA has the powers make Standards for radiocommunications equipment (Section 162 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992 (the Act)).

One of the main tenants of the amateur service is technical investigation, experimentation and the like.

In Australia there are no specific standards for equipment manufactured specifically for the world wide amateur market. There are some general technical conditions that apply to every amateur licence. These are contained in the Radiocommunications Licence Conditions (Amateur Licence) Determination No.1 of 1997 (the LCD).

Put simply:

an amateur transmitter, while required to meet certain technical standards, does not have to comply with an Australian Standard, or be “type approved”;

an amateur (other than a Foundation licensee) may build his or her own transmitter;

an amateur (other than a Foundation licensee) may modify a transmitter built for other services to operate on amateur bands;

an amateur must operate any transmitter in accordance with the licence conditions applicable to his or her class of licence;

Therefore, an amateur may possess any piece of equipment manufactured specifically for the global amateur market, provided it is operated in accordance with the type of licence the operators holds, even if the piece of equipment is capable of operating in are certain spectrum segments that are not available in Australia.

Foundation Licence

Essntially, the Foundation Licence is an operator licence that requires a minimum of technicl knowledge that will allow safe operation of a Foundation amateur station.

A radio amateur with a foundation licence can only operate commercially manufactured equipment. And is restricted to defined frquency bands, emission modes and limited to 10 watts transmitter output power. These requirements are contained in Part 6 of the LCD.

Allowed Equipment for Standard and Advanced

The amateur has a licence, the presumption is that the possession is for the purpose of operation, but if the piece of equipment can be operated in accordance with the licence or modified to operate in accordance with the licence, the possession cannot be unlawful, in the absence of other evidence.

An Advance or Standard licensee, may modify a transmitter that is subject to a “Standard” but in doing so the equipment becomes what is known as “Non Standard” and therefore cannot legally be used outside amateur spectrum. Modification means removing or altering components, including the microphone, changing firmware or software features that existed went the device complied with the Standard.

Prohibited Equipment

Should equipment manufactured for the amateur market be modified to operate outside amateur spectrum, it cannot lawfully be operated on the Citzens Bands, or Maritime Bands as equipment used in these Services are required to comply with Australian equipment Standards.


It is expected that all amateur will act in a responsibe manner (behavour), and comply with there individual licence conditions.

If you have any questions or queries on the use of radio equipment on the amateur bands please send an email the address nationaloffice@wia.org.au setting out your question or concerns.

Page Last Updated: Monday 4 March 2013 at 10:22 hours