Beware the Baofeng – non type-approved radios draw ire from ACMA

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) have put operators on notice regarding the proliferation of non type-approved radios being used on the UHF CB band.

Recent years have seen large swathes of non type-approved radios brought to market, predominantly from Chinese vendors selling on online auction sites such as eBay, Aliexpress and Taobao. Whilst the low price point of these radios makes them appealing, especially for users beginning in the hobby, the ACMA has warned that use of these radios can potentially intefere with commercial and emergency radio users, resulting in fines and possible jail time.

All radiocommunication devices operating in Australia must bear the RCM mark – a logo which indicates to operators that the device has been certified for use in Australia. The RCM mark replaces the “C-Tick” and “A-Tick”, which were previously used to indicate radiocommunications compliance.

C-Tick, A-Tick and RCM mark

In addition to the RCM mark, any device which operates on the CB radio spectrum must also be type approved for use on the CB radio bands. Whilst there is no marking to confirm type approval, Australian suppliers should be able to provide documentation which substantiates their claims of in this regard. Alternatively, you can contact the ACMA’s Customer Service Centre on 1300 850 115 or via email at info@acma.gov.au.

The ACMA has provided the following guidance on how to avoid purchasing a non type-approved radio:

1. Buy from a reputable supplier, preferably based in Australia Before an Australian supplier can sell a two-way radio, that company or individual must meet a range of compliance requirements, including record-keeping, labelling and ensuring the device complies with ACMA-mandated technical standards.

2. Make sure you have the right radiocommunications licence You can’t operate a two-way radio without an appropriate licence, so check you understand and meet your radiocommunications licensing requirements.

3. Hire through a short- or long-term rental company Companies all over Australia hire two-way radios. This can be quicker and easier because the company does the leg work to ensure the device can be lawfully operated in Australia, and they can also take care of any radiocommunications licensing requirements.

Details of the CB radio class licence can be found on the Federal Register of Legislation at https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2017C00476.

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