New Zealand’s Radio Spectrum Management Cites Ham for Transmitting 3100 W
Last month, New Zealand’s Radio Spectrum Management (RSM) -- that country’s equivalent of the FCC -- charged and fined Alan Potter, ZL3II, of Christchurch, for transmitting outside the terms and conditions of the General User Radio License for Amateur Radio Operators. Potter was charged in the Christchurch District Court on April 14 and found guilty of breaching Section 113 of the Radiocommunications Act 1989. Section 113 deals with those who “commit an offence under this Act who transmit radio waves.”
Potter was found in possession of radio transmitting equipment that was capable of operating at a significantly higher power than the Amateur Radio Operators General License allows. He was fined $1750 ($1164 USD) and $130 ($86 USD) for costs. Potter was also required to forfeit his radio equipment. Section 114 of the Radiocommunications Act of 1989 references Section 113 and presumes that “any person who erects, constructs, establishes, maintains, or is in possession of any radio transmitter is presumed to have used the radio transmitter.”
According to news reports, RSM was alerted to a video that Potter posted on YouTube (the video has since been removed), showing showed his transmitter operating at 3100 W. Operating at such high transmitting power is likely to cause interference to, and disruption of, a range of other licensed radio services in the local area. New Zealand amateurs are restricted to no more than 500 W PEP.
“The New Zealand regulatory authority, the Ministry for Economic Development, has for some time now been enforcing a requirement for compliance with the terms and conditions of the New Zealand General User Radio License (Amateur) which defines what ZL amateurs can and cannot do,” New Zealand Association of Radio Transmitters (NZART) President Roy Symon, ZL2KH, told the ARRL; NZART is New Zealand’s IARU Member-Society. “NZART does not condone operation outside the terms and conditions of the general user radio license.”
All Amateur Radio operators in New Zealand are required to gain a qualification that covers the risks and harmful effects of interference from their transmitting equipment, including the risks associated with transmitting at high power levels. “As a qualified amateur operator, Mr Potter is well aware of the risks but has chosen to ignore them,” said Chris Brennan, the Compliance Manager for Radio Spectrum Management. “This behavior is unacceptable. Radio Spectrum Management are serious about protecting the radio spectrum for all users; we are continually monitoring and enforcing radio spectrum compliance, which includes prosecution when necessary.” Radio Spectrum Management’s role is to protect the public good by ensuring equipment capable of transmitting radio waves complies with the terms, conditions and restrictions of radio licenses and International standards applicable in New Zealand.