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40-CHANNEL CBs REMAIN LEGAL

The Government has changed its mind...again - April 2017

In February 2017, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) very quietly reversed its decision to make 40-channel UHF radios illegal from June 2017. When the 80-channel spectrum was gazetted, 40-channel radios were banned from sale and were to be phased out. Now they're not.

 

It is estimated there are thousands of UHF, or citizens band (CB) radios on farms and in trucks, caravans and businesses throughout Australia and upgrading to 80-channel radios was going to cost some businesses tens of thousands of dollars.

The manager of spectrum licencing policy at ACMA, Dominic Byrne, said the two systems are working well alongside each other, so the Authority had decided to remove the requirement for all users to upgrade to 80-channel UHF sets.

"These changes were introduced to manage congestion and interference in the CB radio channels," he said.

"Based on both some dialogue we've had with CB users and some monitoring of the CB channels we've been doing ... we don't think that there's any harm from the continued operation of the 40 channel units."

Many UHF CB users were upset by the original decision to make 40-channel radios illegal and many more were completely unaware of the need for the change to 80-channel units.

A key trucking industry association has expressed concern over a lack of communication about the revised law from ACMA. The president of the National Road Freighters Association, Tony Hopkins, runs a large firm in Queensland involving 50 trucks.

It would have cost Mr Hopkins' company $40,000 to buy new communications equipment and he said he could not substantiate the need.

He said he became aware of the changed legislation in March 2017 and he advised his members then.

"We got a response from a lot of the trucking community," he said. "They were outraged and couldn't believe something like this was happening."

"The bottom 40 of an 80 channel radio is exactly the same," he said.

Mr Hopkins said making 40 channel UHF radios illegal was done without consultation with his industry, but Mr Byrne from ACMA said there had been consultation over a long period.

"This is the product of a review we conducted some years ago and there was an extensive consultation process leading up to these changes in 2011," he said.

"We've also made a statement on our website."

However, OTA agrees with Tony Hopkins on the point that the changed rules were poorly communicated to the CB-using community.

 

 


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