SPECTRA Dictionary of Terms and FAQs | ACMA

SPECTRA Dictionary of Terms and FAQs

Dictionary of terms



Date of issue

Date the licence is printed. This can be any date during the licence period where the licence is printed by ACMA staff.




Used to record the positive or negative values in degrees of the physical tilt of the antenna with respect to 0 degrees, where 0 degrees is perpendicular to the tower. It is not the elevation above sea level.

Negative elevation is where the antenna points down below the 0 degree line (i.e. towards the ground). Positive elevation is where the antenna points above the 0 degree line (i.e. towards the sky).

Harmonisation date

The expiry date a licensee has chosen for all of the licences it holds to expire.



Licence date of effect

(non-mandatory field)

If not specified, the date of effect for any licence is determined by the date on which the fees are paid, regardless of whether an expiry date is nominated.


Any future date may be specified as the date of effect, and that date becomes the date from which the fees and charges are calculated. The ACMA has a policy about specifying future dates of effect to ensure that spectrum is not reserved by using this feature.



Licence expiry date
(non-mandatory field)

Renewable licence—the expiry date can be used to align a licence with an existing common expiry date or harmonisation date. There must be at least 30 days between the date of effect and the expiry date. If not specified, the expiry date will be calculated as the date of effect plus the specified licence term.


Non-renewable licence—the expiry date is the last day of validity of a non-renewable licence. If it is not specified, the expiry date will be the date of effect plus the specified licence term. APs are advised to check carefully to ensure the dates and term match, as SPECTRA does not validate this. If the date is wrongly entered, the fee is calculated on the licence term, regardless of the dates specified.



Licence term

(mandatory field)

Renewable licence—the licence term defines the renewal period. It also sets the term of the licence if no end date is specified. Typically, a term would be one year. The term can be any duration between 60 days and five years.


Non-renewable licence—the licence term defines the duration of the licence. It can be anything between one day and five years.


Frequently asked questions

How do I set a start date in the future?

The ACMA takes the issue of spectrum reservation seriously and does not accept reservations. The policy states that while there is no legal constraint to prevent such a licence being issued, the ACMA will consider each application on a case-by-case basis. SPECTRA has a manual step, which requires the ACMA to submit the application after it is received from an AP. At this point we check a few things, including the Section 152 register, and whether dates are set too far into the future. When we move to complete automation of the process, the ACMA will update the information provided and provide advice about its checking method.

How do I use date fields in FAC submissions?

In response to a number of queries from APs, the following information is provided to enable APs to decide when to populate particular date fields on Frequency Assignment Certificates (FAC) submissions:

Renewable licences

When starting a new renewable licence submission via Intelledox on the second screen, APs are presented with the date fields shown below:

 Intelledox Renewable Licence Screen Shot jpg

Note that the Licence Start Date field is auto populated.

  • The Licence Term and Unit fields are mandatory, so these fields must have an appropriate value entered.
  • This Licence Start Date field should be left blank in the large majority of cases. This means that APs will need to remove the auto-populated date until we can have this modified.
    • The Licence Start Date field should only be populated when a particular start date in the future is required. This date should be for a time far enough in the future to allow for processing time of 10 days.
  • The Licence End Date field should be left blank in the majority of cases and must only  be populated where a client wishes to have the licence end date (expiry date) harmonised with existing licences, or a client wishes to create a new harmonisation date for this licence and a number of subsequent licences.
    • APs should be aware that if they enter a licence end date, the system will automatically assume that this date is a harmonisation date, and this data will be presented to the ACMA as a harmonisation date.


Non-renewable licences

When starting a new non-renewable licence submission on the second screen, APs are presented with the date fields shown below.

Intelledox non renewable licences screen shot jpg

Note that the Licence Start Date field is auto populated.

  • The Licence Term and Unit fields are mandatory, so these fields must have an appropriate value entered.
    • As non-renewable licences are usually issued in support of short-term events, APs will need to calculate the licence term, including the start and end dates, and enter this value in the field.
  • The Licence Start Date and Licence End Date fields will need to be populated for short-term events, as these typically have a start and end date.
  • If the client requires a fixed term (that is, not-renewable) licence, but does not require a particular start/end date (for example, where a one month trial is to be carried out once a licence is issued), these fields can be left blank.


This information also applies when creating XML files without using the Intelledox web forms.

What information is needed for the ACMA for manually assess applications?

When submitting a FAC that requires manual assessment, there are two ways in which an AP can provide the information that ACMA staff need to manually assess the FAC:

  1. The AP can attach a document to the submission that provides the necessary information. This approach is typically used when the AP needs to provide a copy of an exemption or authorisation.
  2. The AP can provide a comment, which outlines the issues that require manual assessment.


When attaching a document to the submission, the AP must provide it in PDF format, as files with extensions such as .msg and .doc cannot be read by the system.

If you cannot create a PDF, please contact the ACMA to discuss your options.

The following examples have been provided to assist with submitting comments for manual assessment:

  1. ALF-E submission:

APs can include the  <api:Comment>  element after the legal statement element, as shown in the screen shot below:

 ALF_E submission screen shot png


  1. Online web form submission—Submission comment: Any relevant comments from AP

 Submission Comment screenshot png

These comments will be visible to ACMA staff, enabling them to manually assess the FAC.

How do I calculate the EIRP values?

When submitting FACs, use the following to calculate the EIRP:

Tx power + antenna gain – fixed losses = EIRP.

The system checks that the information provided meets this requirement and will generate an error if the values are incorrect.

When do I need to fill in the azimuth field in Intelledox?

The azimuth field on the web forms (Intelledox) does not have a red star next to the field to indicate that it is a mandatory field. However, this field is mandatory if you have specified a directional antenna and have selected ‘No’ in the multimode field.

What data is used to populate the station association ID field?

When submitting a new fixed point-to-point link, you must populate the station association ID field. The value is made up by the AP, must be numerical only and must be the same value for the transmitter and its associated receiver (the receiver at the other end of the link). You will need a separate number for each link path on a bi-directional link. Once the submission is processed, the SPECTRA system will replace the numbers that the AP provided with appropriate unique system values for each link path.

How do I set myself up as the payment office?

To use the payment office functionality, you must first email info@acma.gov.au to request your AP client record be set up as a payment office. Once you have received confirmation that your payment office details have been set up, you can use this ID in your submissions.

In most cases, the payment office ID will not be the same as your accredited client ID.

To use this functionality, APs must enter the correct payment office ID, as well as the correct first and last name in the relevant fields.

How do I use the frequency assignment ID?

When submitting variations, you will be required to enter the frequency assignment ID. You must enter the complete number, including the leading zeros.

Why do I need to supply variation comments?

When submitting applications for variations, an appropriate description of what is being varied must be provided. The description is used by the system to create and send the required Section 111 letter to the client. Examples of appropriate descriptions are ‘Change of frequency to comply with updated RALI MS22’ or ‘Change of location from site 12345 to site 56789’.

How is the comments field used when submitting variations?

When submitting variations using the Intelledox web form or XML via ALF-E, comments provided in the variation comment field are not passed through the system. Until we are able to rectify this, all comments will need to be provided via an attached PDF. ACMA staff will manually transfer any variation comments or AP comments to the relevant fields. This issue applies to variations only.

What is the renewable licence period?

The minimum renewable licence period in the SPECTRA system is two months. Licence periods shorter than two months must be marked ‘not renewable’ and the Licence Period field should be left blank.

Why is my submission being rejected?

Invalid XML characters

The characters in the table below cannot be used on the Intelledox web forms or in XML files:


Invalid XML character

User to replace with












Unexpected characters in data fields

A common cause of submissions being rejected is the accidental inclusion of unexpected characters—such as full stops or spaces—in the data fields on the forms or in the XML files. APs should check their submissions for these unexpected characters if their submission is rejected by the ACMA.

Last updated: 27 February 2019