Airways Museum, Essendon Airport.

200 MHz Distance Measuring Equipment (DME) beacon

DCA type DM-3. Comprises a single beacon, test equipment trolley, antenna, remote control unit, antenna test box.

Manufactured by AWA, with each sub-unit being assigned a separate number.

The equipment originally had 12 channels, but was converted to 48 channel operation (and partly transistorized) in the mid-1960s.


The Australian 200 MHz DME was the first such beacon for domestic (as distinct from international) use in the world. The design was developed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) – the forerunner of the CSIRO – in the late 1940s.

The ground-based and airborne equipment was designed and manufactured by AWA, working in conjunction with DCA. The carriage of DME in all regular public transport aircraft (RPT) was mandatory between 1955 and 1995. There were approximately 105 beacons in operation in Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Provenance: DCA Technical Training School, Melbourne