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12 December, 2014
10:20 AM

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Supporting aviation communications & operations

By Umair Jilani

The ACMA has used its powers under the Radiocommunications Act 1992 to issue Icom (Australia) Pty Ltd with a permit to continue to supply the Icom IC-A15 radio to the Australian aviation market. Icom self-declared to the ACMA that the IC-A15 is one of three aviation band radio products it supplies to the Australian market that does not comply with all of the requirements of the applicable standard.

The Icom IC-A15 radio is relied on nationwide for airport operations. After conducting market research, considering submissions from industry and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, and carefully analysing the nature of the technical non-compliance and its risk level, the ACMA determined that continued lack of access to this radio would force industry to use non-compliant equipment sourced from overseas suppliers or curtail a range of airport operations.

The ACMA has for many years sought to avoid imposing unnecessary or counterproductive regulation. The government’s emphasis on reducing red tape has strengthened the ACMA’s resolve to ever more precisely target regulation so that only the minimum required intervention is imposed on industry.

In this case, the ACMA has cut through the red tape and ensured that industry has access to aviation radios by granting permission under the Radiocommunications Act for Icom to supply this non-standard device. This approach provides the best outcome for Australian aviation because it enables the supply of aviation radios that are critical to airport operations while minimising risks to spectrum management and aviation.

The permit issued by the ACMA imposed conditions on Icom, including that it:

  • brings a compliant version of the IC-A15 to the Australian market as soon as practicable
  • accepts all responsibility for any unwanted performance or failing of the device
  • ensures that the device continues to meet all other applicable standards
  • updates its product documentation and records for the IC-A15
  • warns users that the IC-A15 is non-compliant.

Because the IC-A15 does not comply with all the requirements of the standard, it is a non-standard device and the regulatory compliance mark cannot be applied to it. The ACMA has assessed the risk of interference from the operation on IC-A15 radios to be low, but will investigate any complaints of interference to aeronautical communications in accordance with established practices and procedures.

Icom has informed the ACMA that it is developing a new model to comply with the applicable standards. This device will replace the existing IC-A15 during the course of 2015–16.

 

Add your comments
  • Alby Eckel

    20/01/2015 5:06:31 PM

    This is great for Handheld operations, but what is available for vehicle mounted ground operations?
    Reply
  • Mark Gale

    10/02/2015 4:27:00 PM

    What about the Icom A110 vehicle mounted radio for ground operations?
    The IC-A110 radio should also receive a temporary approval until Icom (or someone else) has their radios type approved and released for the Australian market place.
    The Aviation industry requires radios that are legal to use on the ground as well as in the air and sometimes a hand held radio just doesn't meet operational requirements!!!!
    
    Reply
  • The ACMA

    12/03/2015 11:34:26 AM

    Hi Alby and Mark,
    
    The ACMA has now also granted a temporary permission to supply the IC-A110 to Icom. Please note that the ACMA does not ‘approve’ or ‘disapprove’ specific models of radio. We simply require that they meet existing standards.
    
    What we have done is suggest to the RC-006 committee of Standards Australia that the relevant industry standard (AS/NZS 4583:2010) be amended to remove the Australian-specific requirements that are currently preventing the supply of these devices to the Australian market. 
    
    RC-006 agrees with this approach and we expect the industry standard to be amended. As you may be aware, the Standards Australia process to amend a standard may take some time so we hope that the temporary permission we have granted will provide a solution until the amended standard is published.
    
    Reply
    • In reply to The ACMA

      Graham

      21/07/2015 11:15:53 AM

      I have been advised that Icom will not be bringing any more IC-A110 radios into Australia.
      What is the position on IC-A110 radios purchased from a US supplier?
      Reply
      • In reply to Graham

        The ACMA

        27/07/2015 3:20:32 PM

        Hi Graham,
        
        The ACMA granted ICOM a permit to supply the IC-110 to the Australian market. The ACMA has also recommended amendments to the relevant standard so that such special permission will not be required in the future. Questions about whether ICOM will continue make use of this permission and supply the device are best directed directly to ICOM.
        
        Please note that if you import any device in order to supply it in Australia then you will be considered a supplier and need to register as a supplier, label the device and hold compliance documentation.
        
        Reply
  • Stewart Maddigan

    22/09/2015 1:35:19 PM

    Our Company requires our training student to have an IC-A15 radio for use with multi rotors. Our problem is lack of stock. We're in WA. Where can we purchase one?
    Reply
    • In reply to Stewart Maddigan

      The ACMA

      23/09/2015 11:18:31 AM

      Hi Stewart, unfortunately the ACMA cannot provide advice on stocklists of radiocommunications products. If you are unsure of where to purchase this device we suggest that you contact Icom.
      Reply
      • In reply to The ACMA

        Robin Parnaby

        17/10/2015 3:04:45 PM

        What is the situation regarding earlier models of the ICOM Airband radios,the IC 6,21,23 etc...which have been around for many year's,and give excellent service,still.I know of many that are still being used by property owner's in the boondocks,to give pilot's the latest information on their property airstrips,the RFDS etc...I also know of volunteer rescue groups and fire fighting unit's,that also have airband radios,which they use to communicate with local pilots.who donate their aircraft for fire control operations .These organisations usually have the appropriate CASA radio approval qulifications,and are probably unaware of any issues with Icom airband radios. Where do they stand at this point in time.  
        Reply
        • In reply to Robin Parnaby

          The ACMA

          21/10/2015 11:19:00 AM

          Hi Robin, thanks for your comment. To address your question "where do they stand at this point in time", earlier models of ICOM Airband radios are legitimate to use if they met existing standards at the time they were supplied.
          Reply
  • John

    19/01/2016 5:37:42 PM

    I'd be interested to know; Specifically, what part of the standard does this (and all other ICOM radios) not meet? And, have the "Australian-specific requirements that are currently preventing the supply of these devices to the Australian market" been repealed yet?
    Reply
    • In reply to John

      The ACMA

      28/01/2016 5:16:57 PM

      Hi John,
      The ACMA found that IC-A15 continues to meet all standards other than minor transgressions of AS4295 - 1995 Clause 3.2.3, AS/NZS4583 - 1999 Clauses 3.2.5 & 3.3.1. We have been advised that Standards Australia is still in the process of publishing the new Standard.
      Reply
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