The ACMA

The ACMA

Outpost licences - Guidelines

Introduction

This information paper provides details of the licensing arrangements applicable to the outpost licence type.

What is an outpost licence?

An outpost licence is issued to authorise a station that operates in the medium frequency (MF) or high frequency (HF) bands and is principally established:

  1. to provide radiocommunications in a remote locality at which a connection to a telecommunications network operated by a carrier or carriage service provider is not provided; or
  2. if a connection to a telecommunications network operated by a carrier or carriage service provider is provided at the remote locality where the station is situated - to provide radiocommunications in the locality for the purposes of an emergency that involves:
    1. prejudice to the security or defence of Australia;
    2. a serious threat to the environment;
    3. risk of injury to, or death of, persons; or
    4. risk of damage to, or substantial loss of, property.

Note 1 The MF band is broadly defined as 300 kHz to 3 MHz: see Volume 1 of the International Telecommunication Union Radio Regulations published by the ITU, as in force from time to time.

Note 2 The HF band is broadly defined as 3 MHz to 30 MHz: see Volume 1 of the International Telecommunication Union Radio Regulations published by the ITU, as in force from time to time.

Carrier and carriage service provider have the same meanings as in section 7 of the Telecommunications Act 1997.

Operation of outpost stations, whether fixed or mobile, in other than remote localities is generally not permitted.

The term outpost station is defined in the Radiocommunications (Interpretation) Determination 2000.

Licensing options

The outpost licence type permits two licensing options:

  • Outpost assigned; and
  • Outpost non assigned.

The outpost assigned licensing option authorises the operation of the 'control' stations used to provide emergency medical aid services and certain public correspondence. The Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) is the only organisation licensed under this arrangement.

Relevant frequency assignments will be printed on the licence.

The outpost non assigned licensing option authorises stations to communicate with the 'control' stations.

Common frequencies that apply to this licensing option are listed in the Radiocommunications Licence Conditions (Outpost Licence) Determination 1997.

Licence Conditions

The operation of radiocommunications equipment authorised by an outpost licence is subject to:

  • conditions specified in the Radiocommunications Act 1992 (the Radcomm Act), including an obligation to comply with the Radcomm Act;
  • a condition that any radiocommunication device operated under the licence must comply with all the standards applicable to it;
  • conditions specified in any determinations made by the ACMA under paragraph 107(1)(f) of the Radcomm Act
  • conditions specified in the licence; and
  • any further conditions imposed by the ACMA under section 111 of the Radcomm Act.

Generally, conditions are applied to licences to enable users to communicate effectively with a minimum of interference. All conditions must be complied with.

The ACMA may determine, by written instrument, conditions relating to apparatus licences. These conditions are known as Licence Conditions Determinations (LCDs).

The Radiocommunications Licence Condition (Apparatus Licence) Determination 2003 contains conditions of licence that are common to all apparatus licences.

The Radiocommunications Licence Conditions (Outpost Licence) Determination 1997 (the Outpost LCD) contains conditions of licence that apply to all outpost licences. These conditions include the type of communications permitted, with whom the operator is permitted to communicate, callsign usage, relevant equipment specifications and permitted power levels.

The purposes for which outpost non assigned stations may be operated are listed in the Outpost LCD. The frequencies available for each of those purposes are also listed in the Outpost LCD. Outpost non assigned stations may only use those frequencies for the purposes mentioned in the Outpost LCD.

An advisory note is automatically attached to licences where an LCD is in force. The note references the applicable LCD.

The licence conditions imposed through the relevant LCD may change from time to time. Licensees should ensure that they have informed themselves of the current conditions imposed by the ACMA.

Any other conditions of operation that apply to an individual licence but are not included in the LCD, will be printed on the licence under the heading 'Special Conditions'.

An accredited person may ask the ACMA to impose one or more special conditions on the licence according to the circumstances in which the frequency assignments for the licence are made.

Advisory notes, providing information that may be of interest to a licensee, will be printed on the licence under the heading 'Advisory Notes'.

An accredited person may ask the ACMA to impose one or more advisory notes on the licence according to the circumstances in which the frequency assignments for the licence are made.

Callsigns

The licensee of an outpost station must transmit a callsign allocated by the ACMA at the start and end of each transmission, or series of transmissions.

Callsigns are a unique series of letters and/or numbers allocated to a radiocommunications user to identify a station. Callsigns should be used for all on-air communications including testing. Callsigns allocated to outpost stations conform with International Telecommunication Union Radio Regulations.

Outpost non assigned stations are allocated callsigns consisting of the combination of letters and numerals in Table 1. Outpost assigned stations are allocated callsigns consisting of the combination of letters and numerals in Table 2.

Table 1 - Outpost Non Assigned Callsign Templates
aaamn Outpost Non Assigned callsign template (example of typical callsign VHQ29)
aaa a = alpha
m numeric character 2 - 9
n numeric character 0 - 9

aaammn Outpost Non Assigned callsign template (example of typical callsign VZL253)
aaa first two alpha characters are VZ, with the third character being an alpha - L, O, P, U, X or Y.
m numeric character 2 - 9.
n numeric character 0 - 9.
Table 2 - Outpost Assigned Callsign Template
aaamnn Outpost Assigned callsign template (example of typical callsign VKA714)
aaa first two alpha characters are VJ, VK, VL, VM, VN, VZ, or AX, with the third character being any alpha
m numeric character 2 - 9
n numeric character 0 - 9

Duration

Apparatus licences may be issued for periods varying from one day to up to five years. However, the most common period is one year.

An outpost licence only authorises stations that participate medical aid and public correspondence services provided by the RFDS.

There are a number of remote area communications services, some of which may offer emergency, medical aid and public correspondence services. These communications services are provided on a commercial basis. These services are NOT covered by an outpost licence and do not permit communications with the RFDS.

Participation in distance education services must be covered by a third party authorisation issued by the educational institution providing the service. These educational institutions are licensed under the fixed licence type.

Participation in alternative land-based radiocommunication services must be covered by a third party authorisation issued by the company providing the service. These companies are licensed under the land mobile licence type.

Applying for an apparatus licence

Applications for an apparatus licence may be made to Radiocommunications Licensing and Assignments, ACMA, Canberra. Applicants should complete the ACMA form Application for apparatus licence(s) (R057). If frequency assignments are required with this licence, the frequency coordination work may be performed either by the ACMA or an accredited person.

If the work is to be done by the ACMA a form Application for additional station information (R077) should also be submitted with the licence application.

Alternatively if you wish to use the services of an accredited person you should refer to the List of Accredited Persons for contact details. An accredited person will issue you with a frequency assignment certificate and this should be submitted with the licence application to Radiocommunications Licensing and Assignments. Accredited persons are not employed by the ACMA, nor is the ACMA responsible for the work of accredited persons.

More information about Accreditation can be found on the ACMA website.

Fees

Spectrum is a valuable resource. Fees are intended to ensure a fair return to the Commonwealth for the private use of this valuable public resource. Licence fees are set having regard to spectrum location, geographical location, amount of spectrum occupied and coverage area authorised by the licence.

Detailed information about fees is provided in the Apparatus Licence Fee Schedule booklet.

Licence fee concessions are available to the RFDS and only apply to the SAT component. For further information on licence fee concessions, or eligibility for an exemption from the payment of licence fees, see Licence Fee Exemptions and Concessions.

Transfers of apparatus licences

Apparatus licences may be transferred. Applicants wishing to transfer an apparatus licence should complete and submit to Radiocommunications Licensing and Assignments, the form Application for transfer of apparatus licence(s) (R060). Both the transferer and the transferee must sign the transfer form. Applicants are required to pay a transfer charge to cover the ACMA's administrative expenses.

There are a number of limitations on the transfer of apparatus licences. The Radiocommunications (Transfer of Apparatus Licences) Determination 2000 specifies these limitations.

A device authorised by the transferred licence is still required to operate under the same technical conditions (including transmission site) as specified on the original licence.

Third party operation

Licensees may authorise, by written instrument, other persons to operate radiocommunications devices under the apparatus licences. These are known as third party authorisations.

There are a number of limitations on third party authorisations. The Radiocommunications (Limitation of Authorisation of Third Party Users) Determination 2000 specifies these limitations.

A person authorised to use a radiocommunications device under a third party authorisation is subject to all of the conditions applicable to that device under the licence.

Further information

If you have any additional queries relating to this, or any, licence type, please contact Radiocommunications Licensing and Assignments.

Last updated: 02 September 2015

Most commented

Most read

Back to top