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International Amateur Radio Union Preparing for WRC-23


Preparations continue on the part of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) to represent the interests of the amateur and amateur-satellite services at World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 (WRC-23). The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) sponsors WRCs, typically every 4 years, to consider revisions to the international Radio Regulations that define frequency allocations for various radio services.

“As an incumbent radio service with allocations at intervals throughout the radio spectrum, the amateur service faces challenges at every WRC,” IARU Secretary David Sumner, K1ZZ, said. “Successfully defending our existing access to the spectrum is a significant accomplishment at any WRC, but sometimes it is possible also to improve our existing allocations. WRC-19 resulted in major improvements in 50 MHz allocations in Region 1. Without any doubt, this could not have happened without the concerted efforts of dozens of IARU volunteers over the course of several years.”

The next WRC is expected to be held in 2023. Under the direction of IARU Vice President Ole Garpestad, LA2RR, 20 IARU volunteers have been participating in virtual meetings of ITU working parties and preparatory committees of regional telecommunications organizations (RTOs) as they address WRC-23 agenda items of particular concern to amateur radio. Potentially affected bands are 50 – 54 MHz (a new service has been proposed in an adjacent band); 1240 – 1300 MHz; 3300 – 3400 MHz; 10.0 – 10.5 GHz, and 241 – 250 GHz. In addition, studies are being conducted to identify protection requirements for space weather sensors that operate in frequency bands from 13 kHz to at least 15 GHz.

The participation of IARU member-societies in preparations at the national level is an important contribution to amateur radio’s eventual success at a WRC, Sumner said.

The IARU Administrative Council has chosen “Amateur Radio: Home but Never Alone” as the theme for World Amateur Radio Day on Sunday, April 18, 2021. With the pandemic driving adoption of extreme physical isolation to reduce the spread of the virus, the worldwide amateur radio community has responded positively to overcome the resulting social isolation.

Local “wellness nets” have provided friendly voices and regular status checks to those, especially the elderly, who are confined to their homes. “Stay safe” special event stations in dozens of countries served as a reminder of the importance to limit the spread of the virus. On-air activity was at an unprecedented level throughout the remainder of 2020, with record-breaking numbers of entries in the major contests.

“While the development of effective vaccines offers hope for a return to some semblance of normality later in 2021, the pandemic will still be with us when we mark World Amateur Radio Day 2021,” Sumner said. “This theme offers the opportunity for our member-societies to tailor meaningful messages to the general public about the values of the global amateur radio community.” 



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