2022 is running hot already

Radio Frequency Users Association of New Zealand (RFUANZ)

By John Laughton, Chairman Radio Frequency Users Association of New Zealand
Tuesday, 01 March, 2022

2022 is running hot already

This far into the year it seems strange that I’m commenting on the December 2021 Business Update from Radio Spectrum Management. Several topics were raised that RFUANZ have taken a keen interest in, the first of which is a rather good step into the future with the RRF project coming to an end.

The new online system will provide a good modern interactive portal for spectrum users to manage their licences. The existing SMART system has come to the end of its life and the replacement will be announced by RSM soon. It may well have been before this article makes it to print.

RSM requested consultation on a five-year spectrum outlook, which members have been keen to become involved with as a prominent topic that needs much discussion. The RFUANZ committee met face to face for some and via zoom for those unable to travel in February.

Heated discussion around the table saw us dissect these topics to the core, ensuring all parts of our industry will not be left wanting. Justin Wonderlick, our in-house ARE, was invaluable to discussions taking the lead as we raised a number of spectrum questions.

An interesting question raised by RSM: “Did the document cover everything needed by the industry?” Simple answer: “No”! Members have already raised with RFUANZ what was missing.

As the elected representatives from the radio community we engage with RSM on a regular basis and have submitted a response.

As we have said time and time again LMR is here to stay as it continues to become more reliable in emergency and critical communication events. My team at Downer proved this six years ago with the disaster response for the Kaikoura earthquake.

Critical communications in its very nature is required communications for critical business and emergency situations. This falls short where all but the most rugged, reliable and hardened infrastructure is not capable of withstanding the violent and rapid requirements of a natural disaster. I have this discussion all the time as an active member of NZDF and having friends and customers in CD, FENZ and land/sea SAR.

Satellite phones are all very well if you have one! Cell phones are the first thing to drop out.

Coverage can be very sketchy in a large amount of the NZ wilderness. PLBs? Yes, for emergency but not good for disaster.

Recently, we lost contact with Tonga; however, communications were quickly re-established with sat linking.

LMR networks can be rugged and off grid, they require minimal infrastructure and are built for purpose. Radio communication is the granddaddy of all the technology we have today; when all is said and done it is still the most reliable way to communicate over distance and it is not going anywhere.

The RFUANZ committee aim to make ours and our members’ words heard and protect what we know is important.

In closing I would like to remind you all that next month the Annual Industry Awards and Gala Dinner will be held. This year we have travelled to the South Island and will be hosting at Te Pae, Christchurch’s brand-new Convention Centre.

Te Pae Maunga is Mountain Views, Te Pae whenua is the vast plains we inhabit and Te Pae Tangata is a place to meet and converse — it is a gathering place where we can network as a radio communications industry and acknowledge and celebrate what we do best in this industry.

There is still time to join and be a part of the Gala Dinner and the conversations that will be had. Register now and we will see you there.

For further information: https://rfuanz.org.nz/gala-dinner/.

John Laughton


Radio Frequency Users Association New Zealand

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