The ACMA have released their Draft Five Year Spectrum Outlook 2018-22.

It confirms that there will be no 70 MHz amateur band, no expansion of the 80 m band and no upgrade of 50-52 MHz to Primary status.

Extension of the 160 m band and a new 60 m band are under consideration.

The outcomes mirror RASA-ACMA discussions held in March.

An extract from the Outlook follows, and is self-explanatory.

RASA has submitted a response requesting that allocation of 60 m be expedited.



Amateur radio

Progress achieved

Feedback from last year’s FYSO included suggestions proposing a number of additional frequency bands to be made available for amateur use, or identifying where the allocation status in the Australian Radiofrequency Spectrum Plan changed. In response to those requests:

  • 70–70.5 MHz—The ACMA considers that operating amateur services in this frequency range is not feasible as it would be inconsistent with ITU Radio Regulations and existing services already operating in the frequency range. This frequency range is used by a variety of fixed and land mobile services as supported under the VHF mid band (70–87.5 MHz). Class-licensed devices authorised under the LIPD Class Licence operate in the frequency range 70–70.24375 MHz.
  • extension of the 3776–3800 kHz DX window to above 3800 kHz—The ACMA does not support this change, as it poses considerable disruption to existing users.
  • 50–52 MHz upgrade of amateur allocation to primary in Australian Radiofrequency Spectrum Plan—With other priorities (digital radio planning, AM to FM conversions), the ACMA does not intend to consider this matter in the short to medium term.
  • Expansion of amateur usage in 1800–1875 kHz up to 2000 kHz—At the ITU level, there is an allocation for the amateur services in 1800–2000 kHz. However, in Australia, 1875–2000 kHz is used by other services. The introduction of amateur services would be a disruption to those services and the views of existing users would need to be sought. At this stage, based on our knowledge of current usage, the ACMA does not consider such expansion possible without impacting existing services.
  • Secondary allocation at 5.3 MHz (implementation of WRC 15 agenda item 1.4)—In Australia, the band is currently used by some emergency service and law enforcement organisations for mobile operations. Defence also uses these frequencies in support of key capabilities. The ACMA consulted with local stakeholders on this potential allocation in the lead-up to WRC-15. Stakeholder views were varied, with opposition to the allocation, in particular, from Defence, due to the potential for interference to its systems.

Notwithstanding Australia’s concerns, a secondary allocation was ultimately made at WRC-15 and has been added to the Australian Radiofrequency Spectrum Plan. However, this does not oblige the ACMA to enable use of the allocation.

The ACMA considers that the concerns of Defence, as an existing user of band, remain. Relevantly, the Australian Government has recently committed $1.2 billion in support of defence systems that operate in the high frequency part of the spectrum[1].

Activities planned for 2018–19

Expansion of amateur usage in 1800–1875 kHz up to 2000 kHz, and secondary allocation at 5.3 MHz (implementation of WRC-15 agenda item 1.4)

The views of existing users are sought on the feasibility of amateur usage in part of these bands to assist future considerations.

[1] See