3 February 2012
The Australian Communication and Media Authority (the ACMA) is reminding all holders of an amateur advanced station licence that distance, power and mode restrictions remain in force during the staged switchover from analog to digital television, even in areas that have completed the transition.
These power and mode restrictions will apply until the Radiocommunications Licence Conditions (Amateur Licence) Determination No. 1 of 1997 (LCD) is amended. Work to amend the LCD will commence after the switchover process is completed in December 2012.
As part of the switchover, analog Channel 0 television transmitters and off-air translators are being decommissioned in a staged process.
The main Channel 0 transmitter and several translators located in southern Queensland were switched off in December 2011. The next group to be silenced is in southern New South Wales, scheduled for June 2012, while analog Channel 0 services in northern New South Wales are expected to be closed down in December 2012. The minister is yet to announce the official switchover date for this area.
As switchover progresses, some amateur operators will no longer be affected by the distance condition. However, for the time being, the LCD will continue to prohibit operation in the band at a place that is less than 120 kilometres from a main Channel 0 station or 60 kilometres from a translator using this channel.
The LCD places restrictions on amateur operation within the frequency band 50.0 MHz to 50.3 MHz. While holders of the amateur advanced station licence may use the band, restrictions to amateur station power, mode and location were introduced to control interference to reception of television channel 0 (see section 15 of the LCD). Only amateur operators in Queensland, New South Wales, the ACT and Victoria are affected by the restrictions.