The operation of radiocommunications equipment used in radio controlled models is authorised under the Radiocommunications (Radio-controlled Models) Class Licence 2002 (the Radio-controlled models class licence). This policy information paper provides information about this class licence.
Under a class licence, all users operate in the same spectrum segment on a shared basis and are subject to the same conditions. A class licence governs the frequencies that may be used, commonly prescribes equipment standards, and may specify other technical and operational parameters. Class licences do not have to be applied for, and no licence fees are payable.
Class licences are 'issued' by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) by a notice published in the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette. The Radio-controlled models class licence was gazetted on 13 February 2002.
After 1 January 2005, class licences will generally commence on the day after they are registered under the Legislative Instruments Act 2003.
The Radio-controlled models class licence authorises the operation of transmitters used for the radio control of model aircraft, landcraft and watercraft.
Conditions of operation
Transmitters operating under the Radio-controlled models class licence must not cause interference to other radiocommunications services. This includes interference to other radio-controlled model systems.
Operating frequencies and power levels
The Radio-controlled models class licence provides for the operation of transmitters that have a maximum equivalent isotropically radiated power greater than 300 milliwatts and not exceeding 1 watt, as such transmitters are typically associated with the control of the more sophisticated types of models. Specifically, the class licence provides for the control of model aircraft, landcraft and watercraft in the frequency band 29.72 to 30 MHz, and model aircraft and watercraft in the frequency band 36 to 36.6 MHz.
In the 36 MHz band, model aircraft and watercraft operations may operate on a carrier frequency obtained using the formula:
35.990 + n(0.020) MHz where n = 1-30,
whereas only model aircraft may operate on a carrier frequency obtained using the formula:
36.000 + n(0.020) MHz where n = 1-29.
Transmitters intended to operate under the Radio-controlled models class licence must not exceed the maximum output power that is specified in the licence. To do so is a breach of the class licence conditions.
Compliance with standards
Devices operating under the class licence, must comply with all radiocommunications standards applicable to them. 'Standard' in this context means a standard made under section 162 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992 (the Act).
Breaches of licence conditions
It is important that operators of radio-controlled models comply with all conditions in the class licence. Subsection 132(3) of the Act provides that:
'Operation of a radio-communications device is not authorised by a class licence if it is not in accordance with the conditions of the licence'.
If any condition of licence is breached (for example, operating on a frequency not mentioned in the class licence) the operator is no longer authorised to operate under the class licence. In this instance, the operator would be liable for prosecution.
The operation of radio-controlled models is subject to specific conditions detailed in the class licence in addition to the provisions of the Act.