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Draft Radiocommunications (VHF Radiotelephone Equipment – Maritime Mobile Service) Standard 2018
The ACMA’s spectrum management functions include managing the radiofrequency spectrum in Australia in accordance with the Radiocommunications Act 1992 (the Act), which includes specifying regulatory requirements for radiocommunications devices.
Under Part 4.1 of the Act, the ACMA is responsible for the technical regulation of equipment that uses, or is affected by, radio emissions.
We have established regulatory arrangements that mandate equipment standards and impose labelling and record-keeping obligations on a supplier (an Australian-based manufacturer or importer or their authorised agent) of specified radiocommunications devices before the device is supplied to the Australian market. Regulatory obligations are detailed in:
The objective of the arrangements is to manage the risk of interference to radiocommunications services and radiocommunications devices while maximising the efficient use of the radiofrequency spectrum.
The Notice achieves this by imposing obligations on the Australian-based supplier before the device is supplied. It requires a supplier of specified radiocommunications devices to apply a compliance label to a device to indicate the device complies with mandatory standards and to keep records of compliance.
By regulating the supply of devices into the market, the Notice and ACMA standards support the planning and licensing arrangements for marine radio equipment. This approach minimises the risk of interference while maximising efficient use of the spectrum, and is important when the operation of the equipment is authorised by a class licence. In particular, the regulation helps to ensure that equipment available to consumers meets the performance requirements specified in the class licence.1
ACMA standards specify mandatory performance requirements for certain radiocommunications transmitters and receivers, and testing methodologies and limits for tests by reference to one or more industry standards. A further purpose of ACMA standards is to protect the health and safety of persons who operate, work on, use services supplied by means of, or are reasonably likely to be affected by the operation of radiocommunications transmitters and receivers.
Existing ACMA standard
The ACMA mandates a two-part industry standard for radiocommunications devices operating in the very high frequency (VHF) maritime mobile bands. The industry standards specify testing requirements for devices, which are detailed in the following industry standards, published by Standards Australia:
- AS/NZS 4415.1:2003, Radiotelephone transmitters and receivers for the maritime mobile service operating in the VHF bands - Technical characteristics and methods of measurement. Part 1: Ship borne equipment and limited coast stations (including DSC) (IEC 61097-7:1996, MOD) (AS/NZS 4415.1)
- AS/NZS 4415.2:2003, Radiotelephone transmitters and receivers for the maritime mobile service operating in the VHF bands - Technical characteristics and methods of measurement. Part 2: Major coast stations, limited coast stations, ship stations and handheld stations (non DSC) (ETS 300 162:1998, MOD) (AS/NZS 4415.2).
The first of these industry standards applies to shipborne and limited coast station equipment that use Digital Selective Calling (DSC)2. The second industry standard applies to coast stations and handheld stations designed or intended for operation in the VHF International Maritime Mobile Service without the use of DSC (non DSC).
Both industry standards were formally withdrawn in 2015 because of aged standards arrangements established by Standards Australia, which are similar to those associated with sunsetting legislation. The withdrawn industry standards continued to have regulatory effect through the Radiocommunications (VHF Radiotelephone Equipment – Maritime Mobile Service) Standard 2014 (the existing ACMA standard) and Standards Australia continue to make the industry standards available.
Proposed ACMA standard
RC-004, a committee established by Standards Australia and Standards New Zealand, has now drafted three new industry standards to replace the two withdrawn standards. The new standards are direct text adoptions of fit-for-purpose European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) standards.
The ACMA proposes to remake the existing ACMA standard to adopt the three new industry standards and their ETSI equivalents.
The draft Radiocommunications (VHF Radiotelephone Equipment – Maritime Mobile Service) Standard 2018 (the proposed ACMA standard) is available from the Downloads box and adopts:
- AS/NZS ETSI EN 301 025:2018 VHF radiotelephone equipment for general communications and associated equipment for Class "D" Digital Selective Calling (DSC)
- AS/NZS ETSI EN 302 885:2018 Portable Very High Frequency (VHF) radiotelephone equipment for the maritime mobile service operating in the VHF bands with integrated handheld class H DSC
- AS/NZS ETSI EN 301 178:2018 Portable Very High Frequency (VHF) radiotelephone equipment for the maritime mobile service operating in the VHF bands (for non-GMDSS applications only)
- ETSI EN 301 025 V2.2.1 (2017-03) VHF radiotelephone equipment for general communications and associated equipment for Class "D" Digital Selective Calling (DSC); Harmonised Standard covering the essential requirements of articles 3.2 and 3.3(g) of Directive 2014/53/EU
- ETSI EN 302 885 V2.2.2 (2017-03) Portable Very High Frequency (VHF) radiotelephone equipment for the maritime mobile service operating in the VHF bands with integrated handheld class H DSC; Harmonised Standard covering the essential requirements of articles 3.2 and 3.3(g) of Directive 2014/53/EU
- ETSI EN 301 178 V2.2.2 (2017-04) Portable Very High Frequency (VHF) radiotelephone equipment for the maritime mobile service operating in the VHF bands (for non-GMDSS applications only); Harmonised Standard covering the essential requirements of article 3.2 of the Directive 2014/53/EU (collectively the ETSI standards).
Consequential Amendments Instrument
The existing ACMA standard is referenced in six other radiocommunications legislative instruments made by the ACMA, including class licences, licence conditions determinations, labelling notices and a charges determination.
Therefore, a consequential amendments instrument will be made to amend the following legislative instruments to update these redundant references, once the proposed standard is made:
- Radiocommunications (Maritime Ship Station — 27 MHz and VHF) Class Licence 2015
- Radiocommunications Licence Conditions (Maritime Ship Licence) Determination 2015
- Radiocommunications (Compliance Labelling – Devices) Notice 2014
- Radiocommunications Licence Conditions (Maritime Coast Licence) Determination 2015
- Radiocommunications (Aircraft and Aeronautical Mobile Stations) Class Licence 2016
- Radiocommunications (Charges) Determination 2017.
In relation to the Radiocommunications (Maritime Ship Station — 27 MHz and VHF) Class Licence 2015 (Maritime Ship Class Licence) and the Radiocommunications (Aircraft and Aeronautical Mobile Stations) Class Licence 2016 (Aircraft and Aeronautical Class Licence), these instruments are made under subsection 132(1) of the Act. These class licences require, amongst other things, devices operating under the class licence to ensure the devices comply with listed applicable standards. The existing standard is listed at item 1 in the table at Part 1.2 of Schedule 1 to the Maritime Ship Class Licence, and at subparagraph 6(b)(iii) of the Aircraft and Aeronautical Class Licence. It is proposed that these references to the existing standards be removed and a reference to the proposed standard be substituted in its place.
In relation to the Radiocommunications Licence Conditions (Maritime Ship Licence) Determination 2015 and the Radiocommunications Licence Conditions (Maritime Coast Licence) Determination 2015, these instruments are made under paragraph 107(1)(f) of the Act. These instruments set licence conditions that apply to particular types of apparatus licence. These two instruments include references to applicable radiocommunications standards, requiring licensees to ensure that devices operated under such apparatus licences comply with any applicable ACMA standard. Amendments will be made to ensure that references to the proposed standard are included where relevant.
The Radicommunications (Compliance Labelling – Device) Notice 2014 (Labelling Notice) is made under section 182 of the Act and specifies the testing, labelling and record keeping obligations for manufacturers and importers of specified radiocommunications devices. Relevantly it requires any person who manufacturers or imports a device included in a specified class of devices, to apply a label to the device to indicate whether the device meets the requirements of any applicable standards mandated by the ACMA under section 162 of the Act. Schedule 2 of the Labelling Notice lists applicable standards and compliance levels. The Consequential Amendments Instrument will amend Schedule 2 of the Radiocommunications Labelling Notice to update the reference to include the proposed standard.
The Radiocommunications (Charges) Determination 2017 is made under section 60 of the Australian Communications and Media Authority Act 2005 and, amongst other things, sets cost recovery charges that the ACMA may charge for performing certain testing services in relation to applicable standards mandated by the ACMA under section 162 of the Act. Consequential amendments will be made to set equivalent cost-recovery charges in relation to any testing the ACMA may perform against the remade 2018 standard.
Opportunity to provide feedback
The ACMA welcomes comment from stakeholders on the ACMA’s proposal to remake the Marine Radio Standard and a consequential amendments instrument.
The operation of VHF marine radios is authorised by the Radiocommunications (Maritime Ship station – 27 MHz and VHF) Class Licence 2015
. Individual apparatus licences are required to authorise marine radio operations in other frequency ranges.2
Digital Selective Calling (DSC) is a standard for sending pre-defined digital messages via the medium frequency (MF), high-frequency (HF) and very-high-frequency (VHF) maritime radio systems.