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VK, hoax calls: Media response.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2016 11:39 am
by m0lsx
The Australian media's response to the hoax calls etc on airband, has been in part to point out the stupidity of the law which allows people to legally own radios they cannot legally use.
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ANYONE can walk off the street and buy a radio transceiver to illegally communicate with commercial aircraft and potentially cause a major catastrophe, it has emerged.

In a Herald Sun investigation, a radio transceiver was bought for $400 without the need to fill out paperwork, or show identification.

Transceivers are legal to own and listen to but using them to interfere with aircraft is illegal, the Australian Communication Media Authority said.

Those caught communicating with aircraft can face up to 20 years in jail.

It comes after the Australian Federal Police launched an investigation into 15 reported incidents in recent weeks of unauthorised radio transmissions to aircraft at Melbourne and Avalon airports. In the wrong hands, a transceiver can be used to communicate with the cockpit of a plane and potentially divert a plane to land and another take off at the same time.

Lincoln Robinson who has an extensive background in various sectors of the industry, including avionics, said the potential was for a “deadly disaster”.

“Worst-case scenario, a person could tell an aircraft to land and another to take off at the same time and on intersecting runways,” Mr Robinson said.

“You don’t need to be an expert to work out what the outcome would be.

“I understand some people are fascinated by planes or have an interest in aircraft, that’s fine, but invest in a scanner.

“Why do you need a transceiver that gives you the ability to communicate with aircraft?

“People who buy transceivers are buying them to cause trouble and interfere with aircraft and there needs to be more security around them.”

Air traffic controllers union Civil Air president Tom McRobert urged authorities to secure the radio frequency.

“Maybe a look needs to be taken at making the frequencies used by air traffic controllers more secure or at least more difficult to hijack,” he said.

Mr McRobert also wants people buying transceivers to be required to produce identification.

Senator Nick Xenophon described anyone who made hoax calls with the intention of disrupting the aviation industry as “scum”. “This is not a harmless prank and I think the penalties need to be reviewed because of the lives that can be put at risk,” Senator Xenophon said yesterday.

“These hoax calls could have the same consequences as a terrorist crash, and could easily turn into a weapon of destruction.”

The AFP’s Head of Crime Operation, Acting Assistant Commissioner Chris Sheehan, said Airservices Australia and the AFP were “treating this matter extremely seriously.”

Re: VK, hoax calls: Media response.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2016 3:47 pm
by G4RMT
I have 3 Airband VHF hand-helds in my hire stock. I have about 10 VHF marine sets too. As for other radios that can operate in different bands - 60 or so.

I can't get an airband license - but as I just don't use them personally, only hire them out to people who do have the right license - why would it be fair to ban me from buying them. Marine I do have a license for, but never get any value from at all, as I don't do boats!

Amateur radios do non-amateur bands, and business bands can do ham bands.

We've never had a license before buying system in the UK, and the number of incidents is in reality - small. One idiot who wants to talk to aeroplanes isn't a good enough reason to change things, world wide. License possession means very little. I think you should have one for guns too, but we know how well that works!

Stupid people do stupid things.

Re: VK, hoax calls: Media response.

PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2016 10:22 am
by m0lsx
The strange thing is, if you look at the individuals who create issues via radios, the real problems never seem to be with those who have a licence of some sort. It's predominately with people who have no licence at all.

Re: VK, hoax calls: Media response.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2016 10:22 am
by G4RMT
Just a thought - but this is going to get worse worldwide very soon. The date for having a 8.33KHz capable radio is approaching fast, and old aircraft radios are starting to appear - and idiots are going to buy these and start to use them. Handhelds are still expensive enough to put off the idiots, but there's an old aircraft panel radio in fully working order on ebay now for £10. Connect a mic and speaker and you have your own air traffic control don't you? As the dates approach the old ones are going to become very common on ebay. I guess the need to solder and read tec specs puts a few off - but maybe the CAA should be worrying.

Re: VK, hoax calls: Media response.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2016 11:09 am
by m0lsx
My first 19 set, which I brought from a dealer who advertised in Practical Wireless had the VHF module & that covered part of the Military Airband, which was not good living on the coast of the Wash, where at the time there were two very active bombing ranges. But even though I was reasonably new to the hobby I knew sufficient to know it was not good for my privacy to use it.
I only paid about £30 for my airband handheld off ebay as it needed a new antenna, which probably shows you the level of those who normally buy these radios.