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Australia Ends Higher Power Trial for Radio Amateurs

08/26/2013

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has ended an 18-month trial that allowed participating Advanced licensees in that country to run up to 1 kW on the HF bands. Advanced licensees Down Under are limited to 400 W PEP. ACMA reached its decision earlier this month following a detailed assessment begun last March.

“After taking into consideration all the data obtained as part of the assessment process, the ACMA is of the view that the arrangements put in place for the trial should not continue,” the regulatory agency said in terminating the arrangement.

ACMA pointed out that slightly less than 3 percent of the 10,690 eligible licensees — 297 in all — took advantage of the trial. Operators had to apply for permission to participate in the trial.

“Of the 297 that did obtain the authorization, the ACMA was advised by some participants that they had not used higher power,” the agency said in its decision. ACMA said participant comments it received via the Wireless Institute of Australia (WIA) indicated that the benefits of running higher power “were confined to those respondents and do not demonstrate broader benefits to the wider community.”

ACMA also said some participants’ knowledge and awareness of Australia’s RF exposure regulations “did not meet ACMA expectations.”

ACMA said that while it’s aware that some countries do permit higher transmitter power output levels than Australia does, “these countries are likely to have different and unique regulatory arrangements and policy considerations.” The regulatory agency said it must base its decision “on the data collected during the assessment process and the requirements of the domestic legislative environment.” Authorization to operate at higher power output expires August 31.

The WIA for some time has been pushing for higher power limits for Advanced licensees, who feel the current 400 W power limit puts them at a disadvantage, especially in contests, while other countries permit 1 kW or more. After the New Zealand Association of Radio Transmitters (NZART) was able to convince regulators in that country to raise the power limit on similar grounds, the WIA was encouraged to again pursue the matter. After the WIA was informed of ACMA’s decision to end the trial, and, following talks, it was decided that the ACMA would revisit the issue next year. — ACMA, WIA, Jim Linton VK3PC

 



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