RASA President Glenn VK4DU and Secretary Andrew VK6AS met with ACMA senior managers on December 4.

The following items were discussed.

Expansion of the 1.8 MHz band (160m)

ACMA noted RASA’s request for an extension to the 1.8 MHz band and advised that they will consult with Defence in 2019 as part of the development of the ACMA’s Five Year Spectrum Outlook (FYSO).  

RASA noted that there is 125 kHz available between the top of the existing band (1875 kHz) and 2 MHz, and that a sharing arrangement should be possible.

Interference on 7 MHz

ACMA noted RASA’s strategy on 7 MHz interference, recently published on the RASA website.

5 MHz band

RASA tabled a proposal for a trial sharing arrangement on the 5351-5365 kHz segment authorised at the WRC.  This would use existing spot frequencies allocated to commercial services, in the same manner as trials undertaken overseas.

ACMA, whilst noting that there will be some allocation issues to be resolved, undertook to consider the request for a trial in 2019. The ACMA requested that RASA provide additional information explaining the reasons for the amateur community’s desire for these changes. The matter will also be considered as part of the next FYSO consultation.

Problems with licence billing system

RASA advised that members have had problems with the ACMA billing system not sending out renewal notices. 

ACMA noted that renewals sometimes do not get sent to the correct address/email because details have not been updated by licencees, and the automated nature of the system means that manual follow up may not take place.

ACMA is not aware of a system problem and will look into whether there was an issue with renewal notices.

ACMA advised that if amateurs have a licencing question,they should contact the Customer Service Centre (1300 850 115) and ask to be put through to the licencing section.

ACMA requested that RASA contact them if any further problems are encountered by members.

Callbook data privacy

In May 2018, RASA notified ACMA of their plans for an electronic list of amateur callsigns to be available on the RASA website. 

On request from ACMA, RASA removed the electronic callsign list from their website in August 2018.

ACMA are consulting with the Privacy Commissioner over the wider issue of public access to RADCOM licencing data.

RASA advised that they would hold off publishing the electronic callsign list on their website until ACMA have received definitive advice from the Privacy Commissioner.

Amateur status in the ARSP 7100-7200 kHz

ACMA recently reallocated a domestic broadcaster from 7190 to 7350 kHz.

RASA noted that this highlights an anomaly in the Australian Radio Spectrum Plan (ARSP) where amateurs are listed as secondary to broadcasting and fixed/mobile in the 7100-7200 kHz segment.  As per footnote 141C, broadcasting vacated the segment in 2009.  This is reflected in the Region 3 allocation, where amateurs are primary.

The ACMA requested additional information about the reasons the amateur community is making this request.  ACMA noted this anomaly and agreed that it would be reviewed as part of the normal ARSP review process post WRC 2019.

2 x 1 callsigns

RASA tabled their recent opinion piece on callsigns:  https://vkradioamateurs.org/whats-in-a-callsign/ , with particular reference to short contest callsigns (i.e. VK2A, VK3B, etc).

RASA proposed that 2 x 1 callsigns be available only to bona fide club contest stations and be restricted to use in a defined number of contests.

ACMA advised that they view callsigns as a sector issue.  If the 2 x 1 format was supported by the sector, and was consistent with ITU Radio Regulations, the ACMA could see no impediment to implementation, provided there was reasonable consensus from the amateur community. 

RASA undertook to consult widely and bring a consolidated view back to ACMA.

LCD review

RASA and ACMA agreed that the LCD needs to be reviewed and that a more technology neutral regulatory regime is preferable.

ACMA advised that they will be reviewing the LCD by mid 2019 consistent with the current FYSO and that any changes would follow consultation. ACMA noted RASA’s submissions to date and welcomed any further suggestions for change.

RASA undertook to seek views from the sector on the format of a new LCD.

1 kW for Advanced licencees

RASA noted that permits are available for those amateurs wishing to run high power on VHF/UHF, and requested that this system be extended to HF.

ACMA noted that this is a complex issue, with legal ramifications for compliance, and that HF exposure limits need to be defined.

RASA undertook to provide a research/background paper on how the issues of higher power at HF and EMR/I/C limits are managed in other countries.