Karoo Radio Frequency Ban to Avoid QRM

The Square Kilometre Array or SKA, an International science project located in South Africa and Australia, will be the world's most powerful radio telescope once completed, comprising 3,000 dishes.


The project, dubbed the greatest scientific project of the 21st Century is currently in design phase, with scientists mapping out the size and shape of land required for the site, away from radio frequency interference. The team will need a site of 131,500 hectares free of interference,

As a result, radio frequencies in the spectrum 100 MHz to 25,5 GHz could be banned from a large portion of the Karoo.

A possible ban of certain radio frequencies in the Karoo because of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project could see aircraft flying the Johannesburg to Cape Town route being redirected via Port Elizabeth, the Atlantic Ocean or over Upington. Anyone who contravenes these regulations could face a fine up to one million rand or even imprisonment.

The SKA radio frequency ban excludes aviation and safety services.

The net result of these draft regulations is that commercial air traffic would not be affected. As low-level flight directly over the SKA could damage the sensitive SKA equipment, we will continue to engage with the CAA to ensure that this does not happen
— SKA SA project director Rob Adam, Astronomy Management Authority