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Amateur MF Allocation Moves a Step Closer

02/24/2011

Amateur Radio has moved a step closer to a medium frequency (MF) allocation below the AM broadcast band. During the first week of the Conference Preparatory Meeting (CPM) for the 2012 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-12) of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), held in Geneva February 14-25, delegates completed the drafting of nine pages of analysis of the technical and regulatory issues related to WRC-12 Agenda Item 1.23: consideration of a possible secondary allocation to the Amateur Service of about 15 kHz somewhere between 415 and 526.5 kHz. Two possible methods of satisfying the agenda item, along with the possibility of there being no change (and therefore no allocation), are set out in the CPM Report, along with the advantages and disadvantages of each.

What is now called Method A envisions an allocation of up to 15 kHz between 472 and 487 kHz. Method B calls for allocations of 461-469 kHz and 471-478 kHz. Another Method that had been developed at earlier meetings of Working Party 5A of the ITU Radiocommunication Sector, for an allocation of about 15 kHz between 493 and 510 kHz, was dropped from the draft CPM Report because no support for this approach had developed among the administrations participating in the preparatory process. A new digital system centered on 500 kHz is being developed by the maritime radio community, and an amateur allocation, even on a secondary, not-to-interfere basis, was found to be incompatible with the planned system.

“The hard work of a team of radio amateurs led by the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) -- and with considerable help from friendly administrations -- has gotten us to this point,” said ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, who attended the first half of the CPM on behalf of the IARU. “While more support will need to be developed among other administrations if we are to achieve an allocation at WRC-12, our prospects are better now than they were a week ago.” He gave particular credit to Ken Pulfer, VE3PU, who has coordinated the IARU effort and gained valuable support from the Canadian administration. “Ken and the IARU team have been working on this issue for three years,” Sumner said.

ARRL Chief Technology Officer Brennan Price, N4QX attended the CPM as a member of the United States delegation. The US supports what is now called Method B, which also has sufficient support among other administrations in the Americas to have become an Inter-American Proposal of the Inter-American Telecommunication Commission (CITEL) [see this article for more information]. At this stage, what is now called Method A has support from several administrations in Europe, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

WRC-12 will be held in Geneva next year from January 23 to February 17.



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