Electromagnetic energy (EME) transports the signals that many devices need to function.
EME brings us radio and TV. It carries our phone conversations. We use it to microwave food, monitor aircraft and X-ray our bodies.
Devices differ in how much EME they receive or produce.
The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts has a YouTube video on its website that tells you more about EME.
Safety for devices
We set rules to make sure that devices with integral antennas have safe EME levels.
These devices include:
- mobile phones
- wi-fi modems and routers
- two-way radios
- baby monitors
- remote controls
- smart meters
We say what the suppliers of these products must do before and after they supply their product.
Our rules are in the Radiocommunications Equipment (General) Rules 2021.
Safety for transmitters
We have rules to make sure that transmitters are safe in the community.
- mobile phone towers
- NBN wireless towers
- small cells that deliver 4G (and soon 5G) mobile broadband
- TV and radio broadcast towers
- mobile and portable phones without integral antennas.
When a telecommunications carrier wants to build a new mobile phone tower, it must follow Industry code C564: 2020 mobile phone base station deployment, and relevant state/territory planning laws. The code requires the carrier to make site EME assessments in accordance with an ARPANSA prediction methodology and report format.
You can complain if you think a carrier has not followed the code.
We put EME safety rules in radiocommunications licences, including those used by carriers and broadcasters.
We tell operators that EME levels must be below the level set by ARPANSA’s Radiation Protection Standard for Limiting Exposure to Radiofrequency Fields – 100 kHz to 300 GHz (ARPANSA Standard).
Our rules are in the Radiocommunications Licence Condition (Apparatus Licence) Determination 2015 (Apparatus LCD) and in radiocommunications class licences.
We may inspect and audit transmitter operators to make sure they comply with our rules.
For a guide to small cells, see our fact sheet.
RF exclusion zone calculator
Licensees are able to calculate the RF exclusion zone for a transmitting antenna. The RF exclusion zone is an area where the EME levels may exceed the ARPANSA Standard reference levels.
To help licensees, we have developed a simple calculator using equations from the AS/NZS 2772.2 Standard.
Please note that the calculator:
- does not factor in environmental effects or losses in the system
- assumes the transmitter always runs at 100% power
- has no option to input the antenna pattern.
If you want to calculate an exclusion zone specific to the radiation pattern of the antenna, please refer to the more advanced techniques in AS/NZS 2772.2 Standard.