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The selection of optimum frequency channels by cognitive radio devices is considered challenging, particularly when such devices have to mutually co-exist and also take account of existing users of the spectrum. In addition to the problem of accurate spectrum sensing, there are additional considerations that result because of the dynamic capabilities of the terminals. Particular problems include that of allowing terminals to discover each other when they may be tuned to different frequencies, operating without a common control channel. This work has developed a spectrum access algorithm by which cognitive radio terminals monitor the available spectrum, discover each others' presence and collaborate to select the optimum communications channel. This is achieved while avoiding interference to incumbent users. In contrast to previous work in this area, the proposed algorithm is of low complexity, requiring the terminals neither to dedicate part of their operational time to spectrum sensing, nor to periodically switch to a control channel. It is thus suitable for implementation in simple terminals. A simulation tool, which models the interaction and behaviour of the terminals, has been produced and used to test the performance of the algorithm in a demanding environment. It was shown that the algorithm permits a high level of data throughput, with protection for incumbent spectrum users.