Unit of competency details

DEFCA011 - Operate defence communications equipment (Release 1)


ReleaseStatusRelease date
1 1 (this release)Current 24/Jan/2013

Usage recommendation:
Supersedes and is equivalent to DEFCA005B - Operate communications equipmentChange in Title Clarified Unit Descriptor Application added Minor Range Statement change Evidence Guide updated 23/Jan/2013
Is superseded by and equivalent to DEFMIL025 - Operate Defence communications equipmentUnit code updated. Content and formatting updated to comply with the new standards. All PC transitioned from passive to active voice. PC 2.1 removed. Elements 1 & 2 merged. Assessment Requirements created drawing upon specified assessment information from superseded unit. 21/Oct/2015

Training packages that include this unit


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 031309 Communications Equipment Installation And Maintenance  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 031309 Communications Equipment Installation And Maintenance  06/May/2013 
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Modification History


TP Version 



DEF12 V2

Primary release. Supersedes and is equivalent to DEFCA005B Operate communications equipment

Unit Descriptor

This unit covers the competency required to select, set up, operate and maintain communications equipment.

The individual will be responsible for inspecting the communications equipment prior to deployment and once in location, establishing and maintaining communications.

Compliance with radio telephone procedure, including authentication procedures, is an essential part of this unit. The unit also covers the ability to manage contingencies such as lost communications, jamming and interference, and implementing the necessary protocols to maintain or re establish communications.

No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of publication. In a Defence context, this means that there is no civilian need to hold this unit in order to meet licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements.

Application of the Unit

This competency was developed for combat arms personnel required to operate communications equipment in a deployed operational environment but is applicable to any individual in this field of work.

Typically, operators work independently and as part of a team under direct and/or indirect supervision, use discretion and judgement, and take responsibility for the quality of their outputs. All activities are carried out in accordance with relevant organisational policies and procedures.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

Not applicable.


Not applicable.

Employability Skills Information

This unit contains employability skills.

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a Unit of Competency.

Performance Criteria describe the required performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised  text is used, further information is detailed in the Range Statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the Evidence Guide.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Use communications systems and equipment 

1.1 Communication equipment  appropriate to the task is selected, inspected, tested and faults are reported in accordance with standard procedures. 

1.2 Communication equipment is set up and operated safely using authorised radio telephone procedure  in accordance with standard procedures.

1.3 Appropriate communication systems are utilised to facilitate the transmission and reception of voice and data.

2. Transmit and receive communications 

2.1 Information is transmitted in accordance with standard procedures.

2.2 Contact is acknowledged, communication is confirmed and action is taken as required in accordance with standard procedures.

2.3 Communication faults and deficiencies are managed and alternative communication strategies  are utilised in accordance with standard procedures.

2.4 Communications are processed and recorded in accordance with standard procedures.

3. Maintain communications equipment 

3.1 Fault finding techniques are applied and basic maintenance and routine servicing is conducted in accordance with standard procedures.

3.2 Faulty equipment is identified, noted for repair and documentation is completed in accordance with standard procedures.

Required Skills and Knowledge

This describes the essential skills and knowledge and their level, required for this unit.

Required Skills 

  • clean and service communications equipment
  • employ alternative communications strategies
  • follow instructions/directives and report information
  • handle classified material correctly
  • identify basic equipment faults
  • operate current radio equipment, including secure equipment
  • provide timely and accurate reports
  • read and implement written or verbal orders and procedures
  • report communications faults and deficiencies
  • use radio telephone procedure, including codes
  • utilise communications systems

Required Knowledge 

  • classified material handling procedures
  • communications protocols, policy and procedures relevant to the operation of communications equipment
  • composition of teams and roles and responsibility of team members
  • message formats
  • principles of teamwork and teams, aims and objectives
  • radiation hazard (RADHAZ) awareness
  • radio telephone procedure, including the use of codes
  • range of communications equipment and accessories available
  • security procedures

Evidence Guide

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

Assessment must confirm the ability to:

  • set up and operate the current in-service, secure and insecure, communications equipment
  • utilise correct radio telephone procedure
  • maintain communications using alternative strategies when contact is lost

Consistency in performance 

Competency should be demonstrated over time and across a range of simulated or actual workplace situations.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Context of assessment 

Competency should be assessed in the workplace or in a simulated workplace environment.

Specific resources for assessment 

Access to:

  • Defence communications publications
  • Defence security publications
  • specific workplace operating procedures
  • task specific communications equipment

Range Statement

The Range Statement relates to the Unit of Competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised  wording in the Performance Criteria is detailed below.

Communication equipment  may include:

  • HF, VHF and UHF communications systems, accessories and equipment
  • man-pack and vehicle mounted configurations
  • range of antennas

Standard procedures  may include:

  • communications protocols, policy and procedures
  • manufacturer s handbooks, industry specifications and technical instructions
  • procedures manuals, job guides, communications pamphlets and other publications
  • written and verbal orders and instructions

Radio telephone procedure  may include:

  • call signs
  • emergency procedures
  • phonetic alphabet
  • submission of routine reports and returns
  • use of abbreviations
  • use of codes
  • voice procedure

Alternative communication strategies  may include:

  • changing aerials
  • changing equipment
  • changing frequencies
  • transmitting on another band or frequency
  • use of landline

Unit Sector(s)

Not applicable.

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