No, we don’t mean your drivers licence, although to lose that could cause some serious headaches in performing your job as a turf professional. But what about your radio licence? Do you even know you have one? Or when it is due for renewal?
Many of today's irrigation systems rely on radio for communication between the computer and the satellite controllers. Radio is a popular choice for retrofitting old systems as it doesn’t require the installation of in ground data cables. Radio control was also a popular method of remote control of irrigation, and although this has largely been replaced with the Toro Lynx phone apps, there are still many users of these legacy radio systems. So there is a good chance you are using radio in your irrigation system.
The radio channels we use are tightly controlled by government legislation and administered by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). From mobile phones to free to air TV there is a big demand for radio spectrum. For our irrigation systems to be completely reliable and free from interference we are granted the exclusive use of a channel in our local area, and we pay for and receive a licence from ACMA. Just like your car registration that licence needs to be renewed every year and just like your car registration it is illegal to use your radio without it.
It is also illegal for an equipment supplier to sell you radio products if you don’t have a licence to use them. That’s why whenever you order a replacement part with a radio in it you will be asked for your current radio licence. Every year at Toro we come across customers ordering spare parts who don’t have a licence.
If you don’t renew your licence you lose it. ACMA will send a renewal notice every year but if you don’t act on it they will just assume you don’t want it any more.
Losing your licence can be a costly mistake. With the high demand and limited supply for radio frequencies in urban areas you may find your frequency has already been re-sold to someone else. Applying for a new licence has significant administrative costs and waiting time and if you can’t get your old frequency back, at best you will have to have all your equipment reprogrammed and it may force you into that upgrade you hadn’t budgeted for this year. Meanwhile you still don’t have the replacement part that prompted the investigation in the first place.
Your radio licence is an important part of your maintenance records and you should know where it is and when it expires. If you have radio equipment and don’t have a copy of your licence on hand you can search for and download a copy here: https://web.acma.gov.au/pls/radcom/register_search.main_page
If you can’t find your licence using the search function please reach out to your local Toro Tech Team for further assistance.