FCC Opens Brief Window for Comments on WRC-2015 Draft Recommendations
The FCC has invited comments by February 18 on the latest batch of draft recommendations of its Advisory Committee for World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 (WRC-2015). At its January 27 meeting, the Advisory Committee (WAC) approved draft recommendations on a number of issues that will be considered by WRC-2015. Some items, including one which could possibly lead to changes to 60 meters in the long term, could affect the Amateur and Amateur-Satellite services. ARRL Chief Technology Officer Brennan Price, N4QX, is a member of the WAC, which is chartered to allow non-federal government entities to “provide to the [FCC] advice, technical support, and recommended proposals for the 2015 World Radiocommunication Conference.”
“Based upon an initial review of the draft recommendations forwarded to the Commission, the International Bureau, in coordination with other Commission Bureaus and Offices, tentatively concludes that we can generally support most of the attached WRC-15 Advisory Committee draft recommendations,” the Commission said in a January 28 Public Notice.
The FCC also seeks comment on draft proposals from the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) as well as on the International Bureau’s initial conclusions with regard to the WRC-15 Advisory Committee draft recommendations.
WRC-2012 Resolution 649 invited WRC-2015, to consider allocating “an appropriate amount of spectrum, not necessarily contiguous,” to the Amateur Service on a secondary basis within the band 5250 to 5450 kHz. “In order to maintain effective and reliable communications capability throughout the sunspot cycle, allocations at regular intervals are desirable, in order to permit operation as close to the maximum usable frequency as possible,” the WAC said in its draft recommendations. Incumbent services in the 5250 to 5450 kHz range include fixed, mobile, and radiolocation services.
“A secondary allocation from 5275 to 5450 kHz avoids the unsuitable segment allocated to the Radiolocation Service, reduces the interval between HF amateur allocations below 10 MHz to permit reliable operation throughout the sunspot cycle, and maximizes the flexibility of Amateur Service stations to effectively communicate within the secondary allocation and fulfills their obligations to avoid harmful interference to primary services,” the WAC concluded.
WRC-2015 will also consider a number of issues that could impact amateur allocations above 420 MHz, including a possible extension of the current worldwide allocation to the Earth Exploration-Satellite service in the band 9300 to 9900 MHz by up to 600 MHz “within the frequency bands 8700 to 9300 MHz and/or 9900 to 10,500 MHz” Incumbent services in the 9900 to 10,500 MHz range include the Radiolocation, Fixed, Mobile, Amateur, and Amateur-Satellite services.
The Amateur Service is secondary at 10,000 to 10,500 MHz worldwide, and the Amateur-Satellite Service is secondary at 10,450 to 10,500 MHz worldwide.
The FCC said comments provided by interested parties will assist it in its consultations with the US Department of State and NTIA in the development of US positions for WRC-2015. “The recommendations…may evolve in the course of interagency discussions as we approach WRC-15 and, therefore, do not constitute a final US Government position on any issue,” the FCC Public Notice stressed.
Comments should reference IB Docket 04-286 and specific recommendations by WAC document number. Interested parties may file comments via the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS). The ARRL plans to file comments in this proceeding.