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VHF transmitter licensing
Rev. 12a — page content was last updated 28 April 2011
The Australian Communications and Media Authority provides a class licence which authorises a person to operate an aircraft station or aeronautical mobile station if the person complies with the conditions in the class licence. The recreational aviation administration organisations (RAAO) VHF radio operator endorsements* are a certification that the person has demonstrated that he/she has reached the qualification standard acceptable to the Authority for operation of a VHF aircraft station or aeronautical mobile station.
*Note: the RAAOs cannot issue endorsements for operation of HF transceivers and a person must hold a CASA flight radiotelephone operator licence, granted under Part 5 Division 3 of CAR 1988, if he or she makes airborne radio transmissions on any of the 16 aviation HF frequencies. Australian Communications and Media Authority [ACMA]. To avoid the need to license individual VHF and HF aviation radiotelephony transceivers (and other transmitters carried in aircraft such as transponders or radio distress beacons) the ACMA issues a class licence. The current Radiocommunications (Aircraft and Aeronautical Mobile Stations) Class Licence 2006 [CL2006] replaced the Radiocommunications (Aircraft Station) Class Licence 2001.
CL2006 authorises the operation — by qualified operators — of a range of aeronautical radiocommunications and radionavigation equipment fixed to, or carried on board, all aircraft including recreational aircraft. It also authorises most ground-based aeronautical mobile radiocommunications equipment operating on the common group of aviation frequencies.
An aircraft station may only be operated (i.e. transmitting) when it is on board an aircraft, thus you cannot operate your hand-held transceiver as an aircraft station unless you are in an aircraft and identify yourself with that aircraft's station call sign. If any condition of CL2006 is breached (for example, transmitting on a frequency not encompassed by the class licence) the operator is no longer authorised to operate under the class licence. In this instance, the operator would be liable for prosecution by the ACMA.
An aeronautical mobile station (and an aircraft station) may only be used for communications that relate to:
Equipment standardsVarious equipment compliance requirements, specifications and mandatory technical standards apply to radiotelephony equipment intended to equip an aircraft station under the class licence. If it is a fixed installation only Civil Aviation Safety Authority [CASA] approved apparatus may be used; refer to AIP GEN 1.5 para 1.1.
An ACMA approved and licensed hand-held (or demountable) VHF aviation band radiotelephone may be used by pilots of recreational aircraft operating in Class G airspace, provided that the equipment is able to be operated without adversely affecting the safety of the aircraft. Refer to AIP GEN 1.5 para 1.5.
Recreational aircraft operating in Class E airspace must be equipped with a serviceable VHF communications system. The AIP Book is perhaps at variance with the CARs and CAOs so it is not absolutely clear that ACMA approved hand-held units are acceptable in Class E or other controlled airspace.
The standard for hand-held equipment performance is that set out in the Australia/New Zealand Standard 4583:1999 (and later).
The call-signs (where 'a' represents an alphabetic character and 'n' a numeric character) for recreational aircraft are:
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A person may operate an aircraft station to communicate with another aircraft station, aeronautical station or aeronautical mobile station only if the communication relates to:
A person who is a member of an aero club, flying school or parachute club may operate an aeronautical mobile station to communicate with an aircraft station for the particular activity only if:
From the above, it is evident that an aircraft station may not transmit private or personal messages; i.e. information not pertaining to operational requirements. Nor can an unallocated frequency within the aviation VHF band be used for communications. In addition, all transmissions must be in the English language, use standard phraseology and a phonetic alphabet, and may not include:
CL2006 holders are legally bound not to divulge, without authority, the content of any radiotelephony message sent or received.
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May – June 2009 issue of Flight Safety Australia.)
There is a dedicated aviation VHF band from 108.1 to 117.975 MHz for operation of navigation facilities, such as VOR systems. This is the 'NAV band' while the full aviation VHF band from 108.00 to 136.975 MHz is the 'NAV/COM band'.
Some specific aviation operational frequencies are:
Within Class G airspace are some areas, surrounding all reasonably active airfields where, to maintain safe separation, pilots are required to exercise particular monitoring and reporting procedures between each other; and to self-administer movement priorities where appropriate.
These are common traffic advisory frequency [CTAF] areas, and the VHF frequency to be used at particular CTAFs is specified in ERSA and VNC, VTC, PCA and ERC-L charts. Some CTAF airfields may have a private ground-based 'Unicom' information service, the operating frequency of which is the same as the airfield VHF frequency specified in ERSA.
For further information on operations at, or in the vicinity of, airfields in Class G airspace see Radiotelephony communications and procedures in Class G airspace.
Inter-pilot air-to-air communication frequencies en route
Interpilot air-to-air communications can be conducted on frequency 123.45 MHz.
When aircraft are operating in remote areas out of range of VHF ground stations, then 123.45 MHz is the regional air-to-air channel.
Communications between aircraft on 123.45 MHz are restricted to the exchange of information relating to aircraft operations and only the proper call-signs may be used.
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A person may operate an aircraft station or an aeronautical mobile station only if the person is qualified to operate the station in accordance with the Civil Aviation Regulations and the relevant Civil Aviation Orders.
The Chief Flying Instructor of an approved flight training facility may recommend issue of the radio operator's endorsement after evaluation of the applicant's demonstrated performance during flight operations and in an oral or written examination. The examination will cover the syllabus listed in the RAAOs manuals. For example see the RA-Aus Operations Manual section 3.08.
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Groundschool – VHF Radiocommunications Guide
| Guide content | Abbreviations and acronyms |
| [1. Transmitter licensing] | 2. R/T phrasing | 3. VHF characteristics and radio operation |
| 4. Microair 760 transceiver | 5. R/T procedures | 6. Safety and emergency procedures |
| 7. Aviation Distress Beacons | 8. Understanding SAR services |
|The next section of the VHF radiocommunications guide outlines radiotelephony phrasing — aviation English|
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