$2250 fine for using illegal radio transmitter on police channels

A Tauranga man was fined $2250 in the Tauranga District Court for offences relating to the possession and use of unlicensed radiocommunication equipment.

On 24 of August 2018 Mr Elvis Johnstone was stopped by Police in the Whangarei area.  On search of Mr Johnstone’s car, police located a Baofeng UV-5R two way radio. When switched on the device was set to the same frequency as the Northland Police channel.

Charges were laid by Radio Spectrum Management (RSM) under sections 113 and 114 of the Radiocommunications Act 1989. Judge Harding imposed a fine of $3000, discounted by 25% for early guilty plea resulting in a fine of $2250 plus court costs.

National Manager for Radio Spectrum Management Fadia Mudafar says that disregard of the licensing framework has the potential to cause serious harm to radio communications.

“It is particularly important that Radio Spectrum Management protects safety and enforcement agencies’ communication networks. Malicious and harmful interference by unlicensed transmitters is very serious and we hope that this prosecution highlights the consequences of not following rules.”

Since this event, Radio Spectrum Management has taken further steps to stop unlicensed radio use. In October 2018 the Radiocommunications Regulations (Prohibited Equipment – Unrestricted Two Way Radio) Notice 2018 was introduced. This notice prohibits the import, sale, and distribution of unrestricted two-way radio equipment, other than by a permitted person.

 Radiocommunications Regulations (Prohibited Equipment – Unrestricted Two Way Radio) Notice 2018(external link)