Permitted Equipment For Australian Amateur Use.


This page has been developed as a result of a number of ACMA compliance activities in recent years, that has left some amateur licensees unsure as to what he or she can possess and operate. The term “operate” for the purposes of the licence conditions means to cause a transmitter to transmit or cease to transmit.

The WIA has argued that these compliance issues are almost in all cases one of behaviour (illegal acts) and rather than defining what type of classes of equipment an amateur may possess or operate a more general approach has been agreed.

In Australia, the ACMA has the powers make Standards for radio communications equipment (Section 162 of the Radio communications Act 1992 (the Act)).

One of the main tenants of the amateur service is technical investigation, experimentation and the like.

In Australia there are no specific standards for equipment manufactured specifically for the world wide amateur market. There are some general technical conditions that apply to every amateur licence. These are contained in the Radio communications Licence Conditions (Amateur Licence) Determination No.1 of 1997 (the LCD).

Put simply:

  an amateur transmitter, while required to meet certain technical standards, does not have to comply with an Australian Standard, or be “type approved”;

  an amateur (other than a Foundation licensee) may build his or her own transmitter;

  an amateur (other than a Foundation licensee) may modify a transmitter built for other services to operate on amateur bands;

  an amateur must operate any transmitter in accordance with the licence conditions applicable to his or her class of licence;

Therefore, an amateur may possess any piece of equipment manufactured specifically for the global amateur market, provided it is operated in accordance with the type of licence the operators holds, even if the piece of equipment is capable of operating in are certain spectrum segments not available in Australia.

Foundation Licence

Essentially, the Foundation Licence is an operator licence that requires a minimum of technical knowledge that will allow safe operation of a Foundation amateur station.

A radio amateur with a foundation licence can only operate commercially manufactured equipment. And is restricted to defined frequency bands, emission modes and limited to 10 watts transmitter output power. These requirements are contained in Part 6 of the LCD.

Allowed Equipment for Standard and Advanced

The amateur has a licence, the presumption is that the possession is for the purpose of operation, but if the piece of equipment can be operated in accordance with the licence or modified to operate in accordance with the licence, the possession cannot be unlawful, in the absence of other evidence.

An Advance or Standard licensee, may modify a transmitter that is subject to a “Standard” but in doing so the equipment becomes what is known as “Non Standard” and therefore cannot legally be used outside amateur spectrum. Modification means removing or altering components, including the microphone, changing firmware or software features that existed went the device complied with the Standard.

Prohibited Equipment

It is unlawful to be in possession of a radio transmitter that by applying power and pressing the PTT or transmit switch will transmit on a commercial frequency that the person concerned does not have a valid radio communications licence. This also includes a transmitter designed to comply with a Class Licence, where the conditions requires only equipment complying with the “Standard” can be used.

Equipment manufactured for the amateur market cannot be modified to operate outside amateur spectrum. For example, amateur equipment modified or not, cannot lawfully be operated on the Citizens Bands, or Maritime Bands as equipment used in these Services are required to comply with Australian equipment Standards.


It is expected that all amateur will act in a responsible matter (behavior), and comply with there individual licence conditions.

If you have any questions or queries on the use of radio equipment on the amateur bands please send an email the address setting out your question or concerns.

Last update 09/05/2014

Sherbrooke Community Radio Club Inc “VK3KID”

Established 2007

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