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Radio quiet regulation

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Licences for radiocommunications transmitters

Using a radio transmitter in Australia legally requires one of three types of licences.  Within the radio quiet zone these licences are regulated as follows:

Apparatus licences

Apparatus licences are required for most commercial or large radio installations, including satellite earth stations, television or radio broadcast towers, point-to-point radio links, radar, amateur radio, and maritime and aeronautical radiocommunications.

Applicants for apparatus licences in the radio quiet zone are required to consult with the MRO Entity (observatory site manager) about the impact of their proposed transmitter on radio astronomy. If interference from a proposed transmitter in the coexistence zone would exceed thresholds specified in the regulations, the applicant is required to undertake measures to reduce interference.

The relevant procedures and interference thresholds are set out in the Radiocommunications (Mid West Radio Quiet Zone) Frequency Band Plan 2011 and the Radiocommunications Assignment and Licensing Instruction (RALI) MS32.

Class licences

Common low power radio devices such as CB radios, satellite phones, wireless monitoring systems and most consumer devices such as WiFi and Bluetooth are automatically covered by a class licence. The relevant class licences contain special conditions applicable to the radio astronomy Inner Zone to prevent interference to radio astronomy.

Spectrum licences

Spectrum licences typically apply to a group of transmitters operated by service providers such as mobile telephone companies rather than individual installations. The ACMA has placed conditions on relevant spectrum licences to limit interference to radio astronomy.

For more information contact the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

Mining and exploration

Exploration within the 70km radius Inner Zone must be conducted according to an approved Radio Emissions Management Plan that demonstrates that the proposed operation will be consistent with radio astronomy requirements.

Within the Radio Quiet Zone there are also two areas of land reserved under Section 19 of the Mining Act (WA), which are exempt from the granting of mining tenements.

For more information contact the Department of Mines and Petroleum.

Zone names in regulations

The following table identifies how the main areas of the radio quiet zone are referred to in the regulations.

Distance ​Main areas of zone​Zone names in regulations ​Administering authority
​0-70km  ​ ​Inner Zone   ​ ​

​Radiocommunications (Mid West Radio Quiet Zone) Frequency Band Plan 2011

• 70km radius Inner Zone ACMA

​ACMA ​

​Radiocommunications Assignment and Licensing Instruction (RALI) MS32

• 70km radius Inner Zone 

​Radio Telescope Mineral Resource Management Area (RTMRMA)

• 70km radius area depicted as File Notation Area 7618 in Tengraph 

​DMP
​​70-150km​Outer zone

​Radiocommunications (Mid West Radio Quiet Zone) Frequency Band Plan 2011

• 150km radius Outer Zone 

​ACMA
Up to 260km ​Coordination Zones 

​Radiocommunications Assignment and Licensing Instruction (RALI) MS32

• ‘coordination radii’ vary from 70km to 260km, depending on frequency 

ACMA