The ACMA recommends that people planning road and off-road trips to remote areas of Australia include a means of emergency communications with their survival equipment. The following comparison table may assist you to choose equipment appropriate to your circumstances.
|Equipment||Range||Individual licensing||Social conversation||Emergency use||Equipment||Amateur frequencies||Comments|
|Distress beacon||Australia-wide via satellite||Not required||Not applicable||Yes||Must meet ACMA standard||Not applicable||Must be activated only in a distress situation.|
|27 MHz CBRS||Short||Not required||Yes||Channel 9||Must meet ACMA standard *||Illegal||
Initial contact channel 11 (AM).
Initial contact channel 16 (SSB).
|UHF CBRS||Short - may be extended using repeaters||Not required||Yes||Channels 5 and 35 reserved||Must meet ACMA standard *||Illegal||Initial contact channel 11.|
|HF operated under outpost non assigned licence||Short and long||Yes - $38.00 for a year - at last revision of this fact sheet (See Note 1).||Yes||Contact with RFDS #. Emergency call facility||Must meet ACMA standard *||Illegal||Licence does not authorise communication with bases and mobiles in private networks.|
|HF operated under authorisation from 4WD club||Short and long||No - providing formal written authorisation held. Mobile use only. Base stations not authorised.||Yes||Through contact with other users||Must meet ACMA standard *||Illegal||Authorisation does not permit communication with other club networks or the RFDS #.|
|Mobile phone handset||Mainly limited to towns and connecting highways||Not required||Yes||Through 000 and 112 (GSM and 3G) services where coverage is available||Must meet ACMA standards||Not applicable||GSM, and 3G digital systems are used in Australia. Check coverage areas with your carrier.|
|Satellite phone||Worldwide||Not required||Yes||Refer to service provider||Must meet ACMA standards||Not applicable||Expensive but may be hired for short-term use.|
|HF all-band equipment (amateur service) - Kenwood, Icom, Yaesu etc||
Equipment will only be licensed to holders of amateur operator qualifications. Unlicensed use is in contravention of the Radiocommunications Act 1992. Offenders may face legal action by the ACMA.
Licensed amateur operators may use this equipment but ONLY on authorised amateur bands.
* Amateur transceivers such as Kenwood, Icom, Yaesu and similar all-band equipment are illegal.
# Royal Flying Doctor Service
Note 1: The cost of multi-year licences is discounted. See fee schedule for more information.
For more information, contact your nearest ACMA office.
The ACMA has fact sheets on a range of topics.
Please note: this document is intended as a guide only and should not be relied on as legal advice or regarded as a substitute for legal advice in individual cases.