Standards for Radiocommunications:
of the Australian requirements for radio transmitting devices brings
clarity but also demands more for some approvals.
by TAISHA PAYTON
Australian Communications Authority (ACA), on September 1, 2004,
updated a number of its radiocommunications standards. The changes
have introduced a new approach to the regulation of various radio
issued in new editions with requirements that have been updated
(Short Range Devices) Standard 2004, which revokes standards AS
4268.1 and AS 4268.2 and replaces them with AS/NZS 4268:2003.
(VHF Radiotelephone Equipment—Maritime Mobile Service) Standard
2004, which revokes AS/NZS 4415 and replaces it with AS/NZS 4415.1:2003
and AS/NZS 4415.2:2003.
(UHF CB Radio Equipment) Standard 2004, which revokes AS/NZS 4365:1996
and replaces it with AS/NZS 4365:2002.
1, 2004, all new radio transmitting products marketed in Australia
have had to satisfy these new standards.
approved to the old standards that are still being sold need to
be checked to determine whether they conform to the new standards.
For example, the updated VHF marine standard has introduced new
channel frequency allocations.
being sold in Australia now need to be kept up-to-date with the
current standard in a manner similar to that in effect in Europe.
As technology advances, radio equipment at the leading edge will
be in step with the latest version of the applicable standard.
Most of the
changes that have been made are minor, however. For example:
VHF channels 87 and 88 have reverted from duplex to simplex channels.
new marine VHF channels, AIS1 and AIS2, have been introduced for
use in automatic ship identification and surveillance systems.
new Short Range Devices standard introduces testing at high and
low temperatures, along with requirements for devices that operate
in the 433–434 MHz band.
new UHF CB Radio standard introduces telecontrol and telemetry requirements
for channels 22 and 23, and also tone-calling requirements that
are not detailed in AS/NZS 4365:2002.
The UHF CB
Radio standard does allow equipment previously approved to the old
UHF CB Radio standard to continue to be sold, provided that it continues
to comply with the earlier standard.
included in these radiocommunications standards is that new standards
are automatically adopted within one year of an amendment to or
the printing of a new version of a standard by Standards New Zealand
and Standards Australia. In the past, the adoption of an amendment
or a new version could be achieved only after a new radiocommunications
standard was printed, which often led to long lags between the standards-setting
process and the legislative process.
Device (Compliance Labelling) Notice 2003 also has been updated.
The content of this document has been modified to more closely align
the New Zealand and Australian radio frameworks.
change involves the application of measurement uncertainties relating
to radio testing, which had been open to interpretation. ACA now
states, in this document, that when a radio device is tested to
a radiocommunications standard, it must meet the limit less the
uncertainty. This requirement does not apply to radiated measurements
and it does not apply to electromagnetic compatibility measurements.
As an example,
if the power limit in the standard is 10 dBm and the measurement
uncertainty is 2.0 dB, then, to comply, the measured power from
the device must not exceed 8 dBm.
10, 2004, the Radiocommunications (Data Transmission Equipment Using
Spread Spectrum Modulation Techniques) Standard 2003 was mandated.
From that date, the old Spread Spectrum Class License was revoked
and this new radiocommunications standard became mandatory. The
new standard calls up AS/NZS 4771:2000.
In order to
apply this reference standard successfully, the manufacturer needs
to read the annexes, amendments to the standard, and the radiocommunications
standard all together and apply them collectively. Data transmission
devices need to meet compliance level 2.
Communications Commission (FCC) Part 15 test reports are acceptable,
but there is a big condition: they must show compliance with the
Australian requirements. Several differences between the FCC and
Australian requirements need to be considered.
States allows operation over the range of 902–928 MHz. Australia
allows only operation between 915 and 928 MHz.
devices in Australia require a minimum of 50 channels between 915
and 928 MHz. This means a channel bandwidth of only 250 kHz. The
FCC requirement is for a minimum of 50 channels between 902 and
928 MHz. Typically, FCC devices use either 250- or 500-kHz channel
spacing. A 500-kHz-channel-spacing device could not be approved
in Australia as it would provide only 26 channels at most between
915 and 928 MHz.
Not all FCC-approved
spread-spectrum devices can be approved for use in Australia. Having
an approved FCC device and a test report is not enough. A technical
check of the documentation and the device is required to ensure
compliance with the new standard. FCC-approved devices have to be
able to demonstrate compliance with this radiocommunications standard
under compliance level 2.
folders containing declarations of conformity, product descriptions,
and appropriate test data have to be assembled before the device
can be C-ticked and released onto the market.
currently being made to transfer the requirements for spread-spectrum
devices from AS/NZS 4771 to AS/NZS 4268, the standard for short-range
ACA has also
released a discussion document that will revoke the Spread Spectrum
Devices Class License 2002 and merge the requirements of this class
license into the Short Range Devices Class License 2000. A draft
amendment to AS/NZS 4268:2003 has been released, with comments having
closed June 16, 2005.
The new amendment
will change a number of things, including the expansion of the 2.4
GHz band for general products from 2400–2463 MHz to 2400–2483.5
MHz. It will introduce a technical requirement for indoor radio
local-area networks operating in the bands of 5150–5250 MHz,
5230–5350 MHz, and 5470–5725 MHz, which is dynamic frequency
selection (DFS). DFS has been a European requirement for several
this requirement will be mandatory from early 2006. It has been
introduced to enable these devices to operate in the presence of
high-powered military radar that also operate in these bands. Testing
will be to EN 301 893 or FCC Part 15.
With all radio
transmitting devices, an aspect that can often be overlooked is
a declaration of conformity relating to the electromagnetic radiation
(EMR) from the transmitter. This commonly can be produced following
a simple evaluation of the device based upon the transmitter power.
However, for devices that are held close to the body, the only way
of determining whether the transmitter meets the EMR requirements
is to take near-field measurements that are known as specific absorption
rationalization of the Australian requirements for radio transmitting
devices brings some clarity to manufacturers, it also demands more
to attain certain approvals.
ACA has updated
a number of its radiocommunications standards. The changes have
introduced a new approach to the regulation of various radio transmitters.
Radio products being sold in Australia must be kept up-to-date with
the current standard, in a manner similar to that in effect in Europe.
Cutler is the general manager of EMC Technologies NZ Ltd. (Auckland,
New Zealand), one of a group of EMC Technologies companies that
provide accredited testing of radio products. He can be reached