Comparison of radio equipment fact sheet | ACMA

Comparison of radio equipment fact sheet

The ACMA recommends that people planning road and off-road trips to remote areas of Australia include a means of emergency communications with their survival equipment. The following comparison table may assist you to choose equipment appropriate to your circumstances.

Equipment Range Individual licensing Social conversation Emergency use Equipment Amateur frequencies Comments
Distress beacon Australia-wide via satellite Not required Not applicable Yes Must meet ACMA standard Not applicable Must be activated only in a distress situation.
27 MHz CBRS Short Not required Yes Channel 9 Must meet ACMA standard * Illegal Initial contact channel 11 (AM).
Initial contact channel 16 (SSB).
UHF CBRS Short - may be extended using repeaters Not required Yes Channels 5 and 35 reserved Must meet ACMA standard * Illegal Initial contact channel 11.
HF operated under outpost non assigned licence Short and long Yes - $38.00 for a year - at last revision of this fact sheet (See Note 1). Yes Contact with RFDS #. Emergency call facility Must meet ACMA standard * Illegal Licence does not authorise communication with bases and mobiles in private networks.
HF operated under authorisation from 4WD club Short and long No - providing formal written authorisation held. Mobile use only. Base stations not authorised. Yes Through contact with other users Must meet ACMA standard * Illegal Authorisation does not permit communication with other club networks or the RFDS #.
Mobile phone handset Mainly limited to towns and connecting highways Not required Yes Through 000 and 112 (GSM and 3G) services where coverage is available Must meet ACMA standards Not applicable GSM, and 3G digital systems are used in Australia. Check coverage areas with your carrier.
Satellite phone Worldwide Not required Yes Refer to service provider Must meet ACMA standards Not applicable Expensive but may be hired for short-term use.


HF all-band equipment (amateur service) - Kenwood, Icom, Yaesu etc

Equipment will only be licensed to holders of amateur operator qualifications. Unlicensed use is in contravention of the Radiocommunications Act 1992. Offenders may face legal action by the ACMA.

Licensed amateur operators may use this equipment but ONLY on authorised amateur bands.

* Amateur transceivers such as Kenwood, Icom, Yaesu and similar all-band equipment are illegal.

# Royal Flying Doctor Service

Note 1: The cost of multi-year licences is discounted. See fee schedule for more information.

Please note: this document is intended as a guide only and should not be relied on as legal advice or regarded as a substitute for legal advice in individual cases.

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