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ARRL Concurs with Two FCC World Radiocommunication Conference Advisory Committee Draft Positions

10/27/2021

ARRL has told the FCC that it agrees with two World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) Advisory Committee (WAC) draft positions on WRC-23 agenda items, but with conditions. ARRL based its support on provisions that amateur radio allocations are protected and amateur operations are not constrained. The two items consider spectrum requirements for the Earth Exploration-Satellite Service (Active), and the results of studies relating to space weather sensors.

The FCC International Bureau issued a call for comments on the two draft recommendations on September 30. ARRL Technical Relations Specialist Jon Siverling, WB3ERA, represents ARRL on the WAC and is actively participating in its work to prepare US positions for WRC-23.

ARRL supported the agenda item 1.12 WAC draft recommendation that the US support studies and possible consideration of a new allocation to the Earth Exploration-Satellite Service (Active) on a secondary basis within the frequency range 40 – 50 MHz for spaceborne radar sounders. The committee draft includes a statement recognizing the need to protect and not impose constraints on incumbent services in adjacent frequency bands.

“Our support for the draft recommendation is conditioned on explicitly including in the recommendation the need to provide protection and to not impose constraints on incumbent services in adjacent frequency bands,” ARRL said in its comments. “Our expectation is that such studies will identify the capability and adequate means to protect the weak signal operations of the Amateur Radio Service on the adjacent 50 – 54 MHz band without imposing any restraint on those operations, if the need to use this spectrum for spaceborne radar sounders is confirmed.”

ARRL noted that use of 50 – 54 MHz by radio amateurs was recently studied and documented in ITU-Radiocommunication Report M.2478-0.

ARRL also expressed its support for the WAC’s draft recommendation regarding Agenda Item 9.1 Topic A, concerning Space Weather Sensors. The WAC draft recommendation said the US view should be that changes to the Radio Regulations are outside the scope of Agenda Item 9.1 and called on the US to express its support for “conducting the studies called for in Resolution 657 (Rev. WRC-19)” and commit to contributing “to the work required under the Resolution.”

ARRL noted the extremely broad scope of Resolution 657, which covers frequencies from 13 kHz through at least 15 GHz, potentially impacting virtually all radio amateur operation. ARRL further stated that ITU-R has undertaken studies relating to the technical and operational characteristics and spectrum requirements of space weather sensors and that completion “and consideration of these studies are essential to achieving the desired objective of not placing any additional constraints on incumbent services.”

“Radio amateurs have a significant interest in space weather and its impacts,” ARRL said, citing NASA and NSF grants to fund amateur radio-related space weather projects. One such project includes developing “an empirical model for predicting traveling ionospheric disturbances (TIDs)” at HF using data collected over an 11-year solar cycle using “automated, global-scale radio communications networks operated by the amateur radio community.” The referenced networks are known to amateurs worldwide as WSPR, RBN, and PSKreporter.

Another project involves developing two ground-based space weather stations.  One is being developed by Tuscon Amateur Packet Radio, Inc. (TAPR), and is code-named “Tangerine.”  The other is being developed by Case Western University and the Case Amateur Radio Club (W8EDU) and is code-named “Grape.”

HamSCI founder and Scranton University professor Nathaniel Frissell, W2NAF, is leading both space weather efforts. 

ARRL represents the interests of radio amateurs through its participation on World Radiocommunications Conference and FCC advisory committees.

 



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