This information paper provides details of the licensing arrangements applicable to the radiodetermination licence type.
What is a radiodetermination licence?
The radiodetermination licence type is defined as a licence issued for a station that is operated:
- to determine the position, velocity or other characteristics of an object; or
- to obtain information relating to those characteristics
by means of the propagation properties of radio waves.
The radiodetermination licence type is defined in Radiocommunications (Interpretation) Determination 2015.
There is only one licensing option available within the radiodetermination licence type:
The operation of radiocommunications equipment authorised by a radiodetermination licence is subject to:
- conditions specified in the Radiocommunications Act 1992 (the Radcomm Act), including an obligation to comply with the Radcomm Act;
- a condition any radiocommunications device operated under the licence must comply with all standards applicable to it;
- conditions specified in any determinations made by the ACMA under paragraph 107(1)(f) of the Radcomm Act
- conditions specified in the licence; and
- any further conditions imposed by the ACMA under section 111 of the Radcomm Act.
Generally, conditions are applied to licences to enable users to communicate effectively with a minimum of interference. All conditions relating to a licence must be complied with.
The ACMA may determine, by written instrument, conditions relating to apparatus licences. These conditions are known as Licence Conditions Determinations (LCDs).
The Radiocommunications Licence Condition (Apparatus Licence) Determination 2015 contains conditions of licence that are common to all apparatus licences.
There is no LCD for radiodetermination licences as there are no generic conditions that apply to all licences of this type.
Any other conditions of operation which apply to an individual licence but are not included in the LCD, will be printed on the licence under the heading 'Special Conditions'.
An accredited person may ask the ACMA to impose one or more special conditions on the licence according to the circumstances in which the frequency assignments for the licence are made.
The following special condition is attached to radiodetermination licences that authorise the operation of navigational beacons. The special condition reads:
'Beacon(s) must be identified using international Morse code transmitted at a rate corresponding to approximately seven words per minute and repeated at least every thirty seconds or at the commencement of each series of transmissions, whichever is sooner.'
Licences issued for radiodetermination stations may also authorise the limited use of voice communications between stations in the radiodetermination service. The following special condition, where limited use of voice communications is to be permitted, is attached to radiodetermination licences:
'Voice communications are permitted on a limited basis only.'
Advisory notes, providing information that may be of interest to a licensee, will be printed on the licence under the heading 'Advisory Notes'.
An accredited person may ask the ACMA to impose one or more advisory notes on the licence according to the circumstances in which the frequency assignments for the licence are made.
Callsigns are a unique series of letters and/or numbers allocated to a radiocommunications user to identify a station. Callsigns should be used for all on-air communications including testing. Callsigns allocated to radiodetermination stations conform with International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Radio Regulations (see Table 1 for callsign construction).
Table 1 - Radiodetermination Callsign Template
Radiodetermination callsign template (example of a typical callsign VKA714)
first two alpha characters are VJ, VK, VL, VM, VN, VZ or AX, with the third character being any alpha.
numeric character 2 - 9
numeric character 0 - 9
Beacons used for navigation purposes should be identified by a group of two or three letters using international Morse code.
Radiodetermination stations other than beacons used for navigational purposes may use alternative means of identification approved by the ACMA. Such identification may include the station's location or the licensee's name. Stations should transmit such identification at the commencement of each series of transmissions and as frequently as practicable during the transmission.
Apparatus licences may be issued for periods varying from one day to up to five years. However, the most common period is one year.
Related licensing issues
The Australian Radiofrequency Spectrum Plan (ARSP) identifies the spectrum allocated for use by Radiodetermination stations. The ARSP also contains, through footnotes, some detailed operating conditions relevant to Radiodetermination licences. Any requests for the assignment of frequencies outside these bands will be considered on a case by case basis.
Use of radiodetermination frequencies by aircraft and ship stations, for radar purposes, is authorised by the relevant aircraft and maritime ship class licences. A separate radiodetermination licence is not required for this purpose.
As part of an agreement with the Wireless Institute of Australia and the Department of Defence, there are a number of SYLEDIS radiolocation services operating on the frequency 427 MHz. Requests for operation of SYLEDIS services on other than 427 MHz will be assessed on a case by case basis.
Operation in the 24 - 24.25 GHz band
The operation of low powered devices in the 24 - 24.25 GHz band is currently met by the Radiocommunications (Low Interference Potential Devices) Class Licence 2015 (the LIPD Class Licence). An apparatus licence is not required for low powered devices operating in the 24 - 24.25 GHz frequency band that comply with the requirements of the class licence.
Operation in the 34 GHz band
Approval has been granted for the operation of traffic radar speed guns in the 34.2 - 35.2 GHz frequency band by Federal, State and Territory law enforcement agencies. The operation of traffic radar speed guns in this band is authorised by a radiodetermination licence. The following special condition will be attached to such licences, due to the non-fixed nature of the radar service:
'No interference shall be caused to any radiocommunication station or service and no protection from interference by such stations or services shall be afforded.'
Radiocommunication devices that operate in the infrared bands are authorised by the LIPD Class Licence. These devices operate in the frequency range 300 - 420 terahertz (THz), with a maximum power of 125 milliwatts. The operation of infrared devices must not cause interference to another radiocommunications device and the infrared device is not afforded protection from other radiocommunications devices. An apparatus licence is not required for infrared devices that comply with the requirements of the class licence.
Applying for an apparatus licence
Applications for an apparatus licence may be made to Radiocommunications Licensing and Assignments, ACMA, Canberra. Applicants should complete the ACMA form Application for apparatus licence(s) (R057). If frequency assignments are required with this licence, the frequency coordination work may be performed either by the ACMA or an accredited person.
If the work is to be done by the ACMA a form Application for additional station information (R077) should also be submitted with the licence application.
Alternatively if you wish to use the services of an accredited person you should refer to the List of Accredited Persons for contact details. An accredited person will issue you with a frequency assignment certificate and this should be submitted with the licence application to Radiocommunications Licensing and Assignments. Accredited persons are not employed by the ACMA, nor is the ACMA responsible for the work of accredited persons.
More information about Accreditation can be found on the ACMA website.
Spectrum is a valuable resource. Fees are intended to ensure a fair return to the Commonwealth for the private use of this valuable public resource. Licence fees are set having regard to spectrum location, geographical location, amount of spectrum occupied and coverage area authorised by the licence.
Detailed information about fees is provided in the Apparatus Licence Fee Schedule booklet.
Individuals and organisations may be eligible for an exemption or concession from the payment of licence fees. For further information see Licence Fee Exemptions and Concessions.
Transfers of apparatus licences
Apparatus licences may be transferred. Applicants wishing to transfer an apparatus licence should complete and submit to Radiocommunications Licensing and Assignments, the form Application for transfer of apparatus licence(s) (R060). Both the transferer and transferee must sign the transfer form. Applicants are required to pay a transfer charge to cover the ACMA's administrative expenses.
There are a number of limitations on the transfer of apparatus licences. The Radiocommunications (Limitation of Authorisation of Third Party Users and Transfer of Apparatus Licences) Determination 2015 specifies these limitations.
A device authorised by the transferred licence is still required to operate under the same technical conditions (including transmission site) as specified on the original licence.
Third party operation
Licensees may authorise, by written instrument, other persons to operate radiocommunications devices under the apparatus licences. These are known as third party authorisations.
There are a number of limitations on third party authorisations. The Radiocommunications (Limitation of Authorisation of Third Party Users and Transfer of Apparatus Licences) Determination 2015 specifies these limitations.
A person authorised to use a radiocommunications device under a third party authorisation is subject to all of the conditions applicable to that device under the licence.
If you have any additional queries relating to this, or any, licence type, please contact Radiocommunications Licensing and Assignments.