ACMA search, seizure and enforcement

A man finds himself the subject of allegations and seizure of equipment by the Australian Communications and Media Authority following a recent visit to his home.

What is to be alleged are breaches of the Radiocommunications Act 1992. The raid, in Melbourne’s west, follows a prolonged investigation into interference being experienced by radio amateurs on two repeater systems.

The ACMA successfully applied under Section 269 of the Act for a search warrant issued through the Melbourne Magistrates Court.

The ACMA has gone quiet since the raid on September 14, while its investigation in ongoing. A court hearing is yet to be set.

In June this year the ACMA reported how it invoked search warrants and prosecuted two people in Melbourne who used encrypted communications for their own communications.

The ACMA found seven radios programmed on the channel suffering interference worth $5000 and these were surrendered to it during the court hearing. One offender with a Foundation Licence had it suspended for three months, while the other was unlicensed.

Any thought that the ACMA had become a toothless tiger not caring of the Amateur Service were put to rest when it cancelled a licence and callsign.

The cancellation 18-months ago came after the ACMA had investigated interference to other stations, failure to use a callsign and transmitting an unmodulated carrier.

Prior to that every effort had been made to assist, encourage and educate the individual to understand the importance of licence conditions.

In a further case earlier this year, it was alleged to the ACMA that anti-social behaviour had occurred involving two men on a repeater.

One complainant claimed their use of language, subject manner and general behaviour was out of step with the principals of the Amateur Radio Service and its regulations. Both were to have been visited by ACMA field staff, undergone a re-education program.

This week the ACMA closed a pirate radio station in Melbourne’s southeast Chadstone, which could be heard up to 10km away on a frequency of 1485 kHz AM.

It was rebroadcasting a digital only commercial station MyMP most evenings from 25 September until October 5 until, acting on a complaint, the transmitter was found and silenced by the ACMA.

Investigations are continuing and unlicensed station operators usually face penalties or prosecution.

The ACMA has a range of powers under the Radiocommunications Act. It considers the severity of the interference and the risk to licensed users of the radiofrequency spectrum before deciding on the most appropriate response.


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