The ACMA, in their FYSO 2018-22 Response to submissions document have advised that they do not intend to progress an amateur allocation at 5 MHz in 2018-19.
RASA has applied for review (under S285 of the Radcom Act) of the decision. Our submission requesting a review is self explanatory, and may be found below.
The 5 MHz amateur band (5351.5-5366.5 kHz) was granted at the last World Radio Conference (WRC) in 2015. It has been included in the Australian Radio Frequency Spectrum Plan. Amateurs are secondary to Fixed and Mobile services.
The band has not yet been made available to Australian amateur radio operators.
The Radio Amateur Society of Australia (RASA) conducted an analysis of the band, using data from the ACMA RADCOM database. It would be possible to create an allocation of approximately 13 kHz for amateurs if sharing with three remote commercial assignments could be accommodated. Given the isolated locations of these commercial assignments, sharing should present few problems.
There is an existing shared amateur-commercial assignment at 5355 kHz. This has been allocated since 2007, and no problems have been reported to date.
Defence was present at the WRC when the band was allocated. They have many other allocations either side of the band and throughout the HF spectrum. Moreover, the small size of the band (15 kHz) and the fact that it is shared with commercial land mobile services means that an amateur assignment would have negligible impact on Defence.
ACMA undertook consultation on use of the band as part of the recent Five-Year Spectrum Outlook. ACMA have reported in the FYSO 2018-22 Response to submissions document that they do not intend to progress an amateur allocation at 5 MHz in 2018-19.
It is acknowledged that ACMA have many issues to contend with, and that amateur radio is not a high priority, however forcing amateur radio operators to wait five years after the WRC for access to the 5 MHz band is clearly unreasonable.
We submit that a five-year delay would not be acceptable to any of the other radio services administered by ACMA. Why is amateur radio, with circa 14000 licences and annual revenue to ACMA of approximately $700,000, treated differently?
Accordingly, we request that the decision to delay the 5 MHz amateur band until 2020 be set aside, and that the band be made available to the amateur service as a priority.
RASA stands ready to provide whatever assistance is necessary in this matter.