The Australian and Western Australian Governments have established a radio quiet zone to protect radio astronomy while allowing for opportunities for coexistence with other activities in the Mid West region.
Centred on the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO), the radio quiet zone comprises:
- a 70km radius Inner Zone in which radio astronomy has primacy;
- an Outer Zone from a 70km to 150km radius; and
- Coordination Zones up to a 260km radius (depending on frequency).
Radio astronomy Inner Zone (0-70km)
The governments have agreed that radio astronomy is the primary use of spectrum within the 70km radius Inner Zone, with other activities considered secondary.
This is reflected in legislative, regulatory and policy instruments put in place by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and the Western Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP).
Radio astronomy Outer Zone (70-150km)
Within the Outer Zone (70 – 150km radius) the governments endeavour to maximise opportunities for coexistence between radio astronomy and other activities such as mining and pastoralism.
This is consistent with the legislative and regulatory instruments put in place by the ACMA.
Radio astronomy Coordination Zones (up to 260km radius)
A number of Coordination Zones extend the radio quiet zone up to a 260km radius (depending on frequency), as specified under the ACMA Radiocommunications Assignment and Licensing Instruction (RALI) MS32.
The zones are measured from the centre point of the radio quiet zone at latitude 26○42’15’’ South, longitude 116 39’ 32” East (GDA94 datum), about 350km north-east of Geraldton.
For more information see Radio quiet regulation.