UHF CB programming: know the rules | ACMA

UHF CB programming: know the rules

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If you operate or program radio equipment with UHF CB frequencies for use in Australia, it’s important you comply with mandatory equipment and licensing requirements.

Why is correct programming important?

The Citizen Band Radio Service (CBRS) is a popular choice for many users and equipment suppliers, including companies that lease or rent equipment to their customers. But, radios that haven’t been programmed properly can result in poor performance for the user of the radio, and interference to other users who are operating their radios correctly.

All radio equipment operating in the UHF CB band must be programmed so that it can only operate as authorised by the Radiocommunications (Citizen Band Radio Stations) Class Licence 2015. Radio equipment must also comply with the requirements of the Radiocommunications (UHF CB Radio Equipment) Standard 2011 (No.1) in order to be authorised by the class licence.

Top tips for programming a UHF CB-compliant commercial radio

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There are other mandatory requirements applicable to UHF CB radio equipment or commercial two-way radios programmed to operate in the UHF CB band. If you are not familiar with these requirements, you can purchase AS/NZS 4365:2011 (R2016) Radiocommunications equipment used in the UHF citizen band radio service from Standards Australia.

What are the consequences of a radio not being programmed properly?

For users

If your customer uses radio equipment that has not been properly programmed, they may cause interference to other radios or a radiocommunications service, such as emergency services. The ACMA has found incorrectly programmed radio equipment causing interference to UHF CB emergency channels 5 and 35, UHF CB repeaters and data channels 22 and 23.

Apart from causing interference to other users and jeopardising safety-of-life communications, there are other consequences. If a user does not operate equipment in accordance with the class licence, their use is considered unlicensed, which is an offence under the Radiocommunications Act 1992, and penalties may apply. The interference offence provisions at Part 4.2 of the Act may also apply.

For suppliers

You could also put your business at risk. Under the Act, it is an offence to supply a device if the supplier knows it is non-standard. While the ACMA takes a graduated approach to investigating the supply of non-standard devices and generally seeks compliance through education, in serious cases, we can prepare a brief of evidence for the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions to enable criminal proceedings. A court can impose a fine for the supply of non-standard devices of up to $25,200 (120 penalty units) for an individual, or otherwise a fine of up to $315,000 (1,500 penalty units). Other offences and penalties may apply depending on the non-compliant behaviour.

Need more information?

This webpage is also available as a downloadable fact sheet (PDF, 502 kB).

Disclaimer: this is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Independent legal advice pertaining to your individual circumstances should be sought where required or appropriate.

Last updated: 20 May 2018