16 January 2012
Amateur radio operators have been put on notice by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (the ACMA) that they need to abide by the law following the successful prosecution of an operator from Melbourne’s western suburbs.
The 63-year-old man pleaded guilty in the Werribee Magistrates Court on 11 January 2012 to several offences after an extensive investigation into alleged breaches of the Radiocommunications Act 1992.
The offences—unlicensed operation of a radiocommunications device, unlawful possession of a radiocommunications device and causing interference to radiocommunications—carry penalties of up to two years’ imprisonment.
The court was told that, until August 2009, the defendant had been a licensed amateur radio operator but was investigated by the ACMA following extensive complaints about interference. As a result of the investigation, the ACMA cancelled the defendant’s amateur licence. He then continued to use his amateur radio regularly from his home, contrary to the Radiocommunications Act, jamming other licensed amateur users.
After further complaints, the ACMA traced the interfering signal back to the defendant’s home a number of times. However, despite warnings from the ACMA, the complaints continued. The execution of the search warrant by the ACMA in September 2011 confirmed that the defendant had a large amount of radiocommunications equipment, contrary to the Act. Tests confirmed that the equipment was set to the radio frequencies that had been interfered with.
The court placed the defendant on a 12-month good behaviour bond, ordered him to dispose of all of the seized equipment within four months and prove to the ACMA in writing that he had disposed of the equipment.
The ACMA reminds amateur operators that interference to amateur radio frequencies, particularly by the jamming of signals, can have a serious impact on safety, particularly in emergencies. All amateur licensees should be aware of and must operate their station in accordance with the Act and the licence conditions relating to the type of licence held.