Glossary of terms

The Australian Communications and Media Authority is the regulator for RF EME used for communications purposes in Australia. Their website is
ARPANSA Standard
For mobile telecommunications frequencies, the relevant standard enforced in Australia is the Radiation Protection Standard for Maximum Exposure Levels to Radiofrequency Fields – 3kHz to 300GHz (also called RPS3 or simply the ARPANSA Standard). The ARPANSA Standard specifies different exposure limits for ordinary people (general public) and for RF workers (occupational). It also has separate limits for brief (instantaneous) and continuous (time-averaged) exposures. The ARPANSA Standard contains Basic Restrictions and Reference Levels. Basic Restrictions are mandatory limiting values of exposure that are expressed in quantities relevant to the interaction between RF and living tissue. It is generally difficult to measure the quantities used to define the Basic Restrictions. The Reference Levels are derived from the Basic Restrictions, but are expressed in more easily measurable quantities. The Reference Levels may be used as surrogate values for the Basic Restrictions in order to demonstrate compliance with the limits.
Broadband (measurement)
This term indicates the monitoring of a range of frequencies all at once. In this context it means recording a single value for the total RF level from a range of frequencies which may include many different sources. For example an entire mobile phone downlink frequency band could be measured and a single number reported that includes contributions from all base stations, network operators and services.
Code Division Multiple Access. A technique to allow several transmitters to simultaneously transmit using the same communication channel. Two variations of this technique have been implemented for use by mobile phone systems in Australia, narrowband CDMA and wideband CDMA (denoted WCDMA and also referred to as UMTS).
Control Channel
In the GSM system a range of frequencies used to control the interaction between a mobile phone handset and the base station. Typically, a base station antenna uses one specified radiofrequency channel as a control channel and the remaining channels for traffic.
The RF EME communication from a mobile phone base station antenna to a mobile phone handset. The reverse path, a phone sending messages to a base station, is referred to as the uplink.
Environmental EME Report
Before mobile phone base stations are built or upgraded, the network operator is required to produce a report that shows the predicted levels of electromagnetic energy (EME) around the new or upgraded facility. These documents are referred to as an Environmental EME Report. Copies of the reports are available online from the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) through the Mobile Site Safety website and mobile device app.
Full Power [ mW/m²]
The range of values expected at the Location for the specified Operator and Service if the base station was operating at full capacity. The measured control channel or pilot signal values are multiplied by a factor to simulate the base station operating at full power (handling as many calls as possible). It is expressed here in units of milliwatts per square metre.
Global System for Mobile communications. This is a mobile phone standard that describes a communication protocol between mobile phone handsets and base stations. Links to detailed technical information about the GSM system can be found on the website of the GSM Association at
The ARPANSA Standard sets the limits for time averaged general public exposure to RF EME. These limits have been determined on the basis of established health effects and include safety margins. They are designed to protect all members of the public including those sometimes thought to be particularly vulnerable (the elderly, the infirm, pregnant women and children). It is expressed here in units of milliwatts per square metre.
A place where measurements of RF EME levels were recorded. In the ARPANSA measurement protocol there are five measurement locations for each base station site. In the result tables, the Location value indicates where the average of the seven position measurements was largest. It may vary for each of the services and operators because the antennas providing each service may be pointing in different directions or mounted at different heights.
Low Power [ mW/m²]
The range of measured control channel or pilot signal values at the Location for the specified Operator and Service at this Site. These signals are transmitted at a constant power by the antennas regardless of the number of calls being made through the base station. These values can be considered to be the minimum level of RF EME present when no calls are being made via this base station. It is expressed here in units of milliwatts per square metre.
Long-Term Evolution. This is a wireless communication standard designed to be capable of high-speed data transfer. It is sometimes marketed as a fourth generation or 4G technology. Links to detailed technical information about the LTE system can be found on the website of the 3GPP Association at
The Mobile Carriers Forum Radiofrequency National Site Archive is an internet archive of mobile telephone base stations and radio communication facilities in Australia. Environmental EME Reports may be accessed (for free) via this website, the address is It is maintained by the Mobile Carriers Forum (MCF), a division of the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) the peak industry body for the telecommunications industry. Since late 2013 this information is also available from the Mobile Site Safety website and mobile device app.
The National Association of Testing Authorities is Australia's national laboratory accreditation authority. Their website is
Operator or Network Operator
The name of the telecommunications company that uses the antenna and transmitting equipment at the Site to provide a mobile phone Service. Over the period of this survey there were four mobile phone network operators in Australia: Hutchison, Optus, Telstra and Vodafone. Hutchison and Telstra jointly run a UMTS Service under the name 3GIS. Optus and Vodafone have installed some services in collaboration under the name Optus Vodafone Joint Venture (OVJV). Hutchison and Vodafone have merged their business in Australia and now provide some WCDMA services as Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA).
Percentage of Limit
The range of values expressed as a percentage of the time averaged general public exposure limit for the given frequency band.
Pilot Signal
A signal used in spread spectrum systems (CDMA or UMTS) to control the interaction between a mobile phone handset and the base station. In simple terms it is the base station announcing itself to nearby handsets indicating how to make a connection.
Power Flux Density
This is the quantity that is reported when assessing RF EME. It is usually not measured directly but can be derived from measurements of the electric or magnetic field strengths. It is defined as the rate of flow of RF energy through an area. It is usually reported in units of watts per square metre (W/m²), but when dealing with small values it may be expressed as milliwatts per square metre (1 mW/m² = 0.001 W/m2) or even microwatts per square metre (1 mW/m² = 0.001 mW/m² = 0.000001 W/m².
Power in band
Range of seven position measurements of all signals (this includes traffic channels) in each mobile phone downlink band at location 1.
Radiofrequency electromagnetic energy. Sometimes also referred to as radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation (RF EMR).
The type of mobile phone technology being provided at the site by this antenna. Sometimes a single antenna may be used to provide multiple Services, or be used by multiple Operators.
Traffic Channel
A range of frequencies used for transmitting call information between a mobile phone handset and a base station antenna (voice, data, SMS, etc.).
Universal Mobile Telecommunications System. This is a third generation mobile phone communication protocol. Links to detailed technical information about UMTS can be found on the UMTS World website at
Wideband Code Division Multiple Access. WCDMA is a spread-spectrum modulation technique used as the radio technology of UMTS. Often the terms WCDMA and UMTS are used interchangeably.