I have asked myself that question many times. I don't have much experience with repeaters or licensing, so I have always wondered at which point do I need a repeater license?

I'm no expert or bush lawyer but I did get an authoritative answer today by talking to the WIA: Anyone operating a transmitter unattended requires a repeater license.

Whilst there may be some discussion about wether this is the right or not (in a legal sense), the WIA advised that ACMA views unattended transmissions from an Amateur station as a violation of the LCD as such transmissions require a repeater license. Someone with time and money on their hands may choose to argue this case in court, but for the rest of us a repeater license solves the problem.

Looking at the Amateur License Determination (LCD) - section 9 states:

Control of equipment at an amateur station
The licensee must ensure that an amateur station is operated at all times by a qualified operator or qualified person in attendance at the amateur station unless the station is an amateur repeater station ...

Operate means ....  a station which receives signals through a public telecommunications network from a second amateur station and automatically retransmits those signals by radio

I believe that section causes the problem.

I could not find any reference to output power, so theoretically a 10mW DVAP which retransmits while the qualified operator is not in "attendance" (no definition found in the LCD) would violate the LCD.

A full copy of the LCD and other document can be found via this link

WIA information on repeater licensing: link is here.

Note: This article is applicable to Australian (VK) stations only!

Comments   

+1 #2 Tony 2014-09-26 10:38
Further to my previous comment, there's certainly no harm in getting a repeater licence. Or do what I did, go the whole hog and put up a repeater. Not only will you need a licence for technical reasons, D-STAR repeaters will need the repeater callsign for technical reasons, if on USTRUST or ircDDB.
+1 #1 Tony 2014-09-26 10:35
It's actually not that clear cut. If you read the LCD closely, you will see that one of the exceptions to the rule about unattended stations is "... when teletype or a computer controlled mode is in use...". Back when that was written, only data modes were computer controlled, but these days, given that a computer controls most hotspots, there is a huge grey area.

There are two schools of thought on this one. One is that the original intent was to allow unattended operation of data modes, such as RTTY and packet. The other is that there is a computer in the loop to handle ID and channel management functions - this latter definition could include D-STAR hotspots and IRLP/Echolink.

In the last 13 years, since this issue first came up, there has been no real clarification of this definition, and opinions vary from state to state (VK3 typically taking the more restrictive interpretation).

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