27 June, 2014
10:28 AM


RSS Feed


Using unlicensed radios a costly exercise

By Umair Jilani

Two Melbourne-based security companies have received combined penalties in excess of $10,000 for allegedly using and possessing unlicensed radiocommunications devices. An ACMA investigation found that the companies were operating unlicensed radiocommunications devices in the 400 MHz band on frequencies used by emergency service organisations. 

The companies have paid penalties in lieu of prosecution (section 315 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992) for alleged contraventions of sections 46 and 47 of the Act. 

The ACMA has been looking closely at activity in the 400 MHz band to check that the changes arising from our recent review are implemented smoothly. These changes include:

  • adopting 12.5 kHz channels throughout the narrowband channel raster (with advice on channel-splitting for 6.25 kHz if required)
  • realigning segment boundaries
  • restructuring 450–470 MHz to accommodate a 10 MHz duplex frequency split. 

Segments were also set aside to be used exclusively for federal, state and territory government purposes. More information is available here.

A person must only operate a radiocommunications device as authorised under a class, apparatus or spectrum licence. Vital services can be adversely affected by harmful interference if a device is operated on an incorrect frequency. Maximum penalties that a court can impose for the unlicensed operation or possession of a radiocommunications device are significant. Individuals face up to two years imprisonment and companies can be fined up to $255,000 (sections 46 and 47 of the Act).

The ACMA actively monitors the 400 MHz band and take issues of non-compliance seriously.


Add your comments
  • Evan Longworth

    30/06/2014 11:40:57 PM

    ACMA, please come to the Hunter Valley and bust some of the people that are using the 5/35 Emergency repeaters in this area.
    • In reply to Evan Longworth

      Arthur Thompson

      29/07/2014 4:26:07 PM

      5/35 is also abused here in Perth, along with other repeaters by commercial operators...
  • James Kelly

    11/11/2014 12:28:58 PM

    Can businesses like security companies, night club security, hotels and indeed my local councils use the free of licence CB Citizen Band frequencies for conducting there day to day business activities?
    This seems to be a grey area that needs immediate attention.
    These businesses seem to be under the misapprehension that the DCS or CTCSS tones they program into their CB radios gives them a level of "privacy," when this is clearly not the case.
    I am worried that anyone can be listening in on their communications and indeed giving them misinformation.
    Not what I want when my teenage children are attending and working in their establishments.
    Who do I talk to about this problem.
    • In reply to James Kelly

      The ACMA

      13/11/2014 10:42:01 AM

      There is no prohibition on anyone using CB Radio so long as they comply with the class licence conditions. For more information, see:
    • In reply to James Kelly


      7/07/2016 7:54:58 PM

      yes they can , but only in a type approved radio , although it would be nice if the acma followed there own rules , and busted some of these companies around using illegal radios , it has come to my attention half the traffic management crews are using baofengs 
      • In reply to JOHN

        The ACMA

        11/07/2016 11:09:32 AM

        Hi John,
        We are aware of these non-standard devices and actively target their operation. We would welcome any report you would like to submit on their illegal operation. You can do so by e-mailing the ACMA’s Customer Service Centre at or calling on 1300 850 115.
  • Scott

    8/12/2014 4:05:17 PM

    I am having trouble finding information regarding the use of Long Range Radio systems. I have a person in my area that has 4 antennas for this. I can sometimes hear robot like voices through my TV Stereo unit, and I have lost good phone reception since they were installed. I have advised him about the TV and they gave me Lead rings to put around the stereo cables but it still happens. Where can I make a complaint as I don't think he has a licence for this type of activity.

    15/12/2014 2:02:38 PM

    What about CB? There's security companies I listen to that sit on CB and their whole shopping center security, cleaning staff and maintenance crews are using CB for commercial use? Chatswood is a classic sitting on Channel 14 with a subtone of I think 236hz (if memory serves).
    Isn't this illegal?
  • Rob Ayre

    30/12/2014 9:13:42 PM

     ACMA .I have heard some activity on 477.800 and these people are uhf cb operators .When they are questioned on Newcastle cb channel 6 about why they are there they threaten people ,multiple people have complained to Gencom Newcastle and they just don't care .I do believe that the frequency that they are talking on is a commercial part of the band and not for public use I have video evidence of this breach could you please investigate this matter . Thank you 
  • Harry Call

    31/12/2014 8:20:03 AM

    When there is any railway work around Sydney there are many workers using TH-F8 TYT radios. I spoke to a few of them and they have UHF CB and 450.050Mhz programmed into these. They have also popped up on other freq in the 70cm band. The main company that are using these is MCR, they are Rail Safety workers and need to have safe and reliable communications.
  • Elia

    12/10/2015 7:39:12 PM

    To Whom it may concern a ch3 uhf cb repeater was put up on MT Melville Albany on the 10th of October, This repeater is doing 7 watts when it should be doing 5 watts, it is causing interference on other channels we have told the owner who lives 500 kilometres from the repeater but he is refusing to come to Albany to fix the problem, if someone could please tell me what could possibly be done to fix the problem it would be much appreciated as their are other repeaters that it is interfering with, sincerely scanner user.......  
    • In reply to Elia

      The ACMA

      14/10/2015 12:10:41 PM

      Hi Elia, to make a formal complaint about interference issues please e-mail and include accompanying evidence and information.
    • In reply to Elia


      28/07/2017 10:47:25 AM

      are you sure about that Fosters 351 didn't clay from acma check everyone's gear ?
  • Ben Broeder

    25/10/2016 6:37:40 PM

    It would be worth checking out most mining operations in regional WA around that are using illegal CB repeaters despite being advised not to.
  • clinton cann

    28/07/2017 10:39:30 AM

    acma is there any chance of any part of the old vhf tv spectrum being allocated by acma for citizen band use under an apparartis licence in  your future spectrum allocation it's unfair that amateurs / the wia are applying for another band mainly the old channel 3 to whilst cb users miss out.
  • NRA747

    13/08/2017 3:36:53 PM

    acma a few repeater users were wondering if we could get clay or another radio inspector to pay a local repeater pest visit . the pest who troll's the 63 cm uhf cb band and uses high power amateur or commercial radio gear to jam local repeaters. the radio pest follows people from channel to channel jamming communications with non type approved equipment. ps on another note if i pass my foundation licence how long dose it take for the acma and wia to process a new licence before i can get on air cheers and thanks from Clinton  NRA 747.
    • In reply to NRA747

      The ACMA

      16/08/2017 3:34:28 PM

      Hi Clinton, 
      The most effective way to let us know about any compliance concerns you may have or to ask for information about the ACMA’s operations is to contact  
      As you may be aware, CB radios are authorised under the Radiocommunications (Citizen Band Radio Stations) Class Licence 2015. Under a class licence, all users operate in the same spectrum segment on a shared basis and are subject to the same licence conditions. Class licences automatically authorise anyone to use complying devices, however on a no interference/no protection basis within the band.
      With regards to your query about the foundation licence, please contact the ACMA's customer service centre directly (1300 850 115 or as they manage all licencing queries.
Back to top