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IARU Reports Early Progress, Contention on Difficult Issues Mark First Week of WRC


The first week of World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19) saw agreement reached on several issues on which discussions prior to the conference had revealed consensus. Those were the easy ones; the rest will be more difficult, the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) said. The conference is under way in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. The IARU said the early agreements were only possible because of countless hours of work conducted within the ITU Radiocommunication Sector and the six regional telecommunications organizations (RTOs) since WRC-15. Three of those decisions were on issues of interest to the IARU.

The band 47.0 – 47.2 GHz was allocated solely to the Amateur and Amateur Satellite Services by the 1979 World Administrative Radio Conference (WARC-79). Commercial wireless broadband interests had expressed some interest in the band being designated for International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT), and there was some concern that such a proposal might be made at WRC-19. The fact that none was forthcoming was due in part to the work of the IARU at the Conference Preparatory Meeting earlier this year and in the RTOs. The WRC has agreed to “no change” (NOC) at 47.0 – 47.2 GHz.

Another NOC decision that avoided impact on the Amateur Service applies to the band 5850 – 5925 MHz, an amateur secondary allocation in Region 2. Consideration of proposals involving other parts of spectrum in the 5 GHz range will take much longer, according to the IARU.

The WRC has agreed to make no frequency allocations or other changes to the Radio Regulations to accommodate wireless power transmission for electric vehicles (WPT-EV). “Much more work remains to be done on an urgent basis in the ITU and other standards organizations if radiocommunication services are to be adequately protected from harmful interference that may be generated by WPT-EV, both at the fundamental frequency and from unwanted emissions,” the IARU said.

Consideration of a 50 MHz allocation in ITU Region 1 (Europe, Africa, and the Mideast) to harmonize the allocations in the three regions was the subject of spirited debate in a Sub Working Group chaired by Dale Hughes, VK1DSH, of the Australian delegation. The four RTOs in Region 1 made disparate proposals to the conference, and a small group of administrations proposed no change. For 3 days, there was no progress toward a consensus, solution but that changed on Friday morning. An agreement was made, subject to confirmation by the regional groups, that will provide administrations in Region 1 with flexibility in how to accommodate their radio amateurs.

One of the most difficult issues facing WRC-19 is to develop an agenda for WRC-23. Dozens of proposals for agenda items have been suggested, and they cannot all be accommodated within available ITU resources. The substantive work of considering these proposals began last week and must be completed over the next 2 weeks.

Some meetings on the more difficult issues were scheduled to be held over the weekend, and delegates have been warned to expect more intensive use of weekend and evening hours as the conference proceeds toward its conclusion on November 22. — Thanks to the IARU