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Potential 15 kHz-Wide 60 Meter Band Advances at WRC-15, but Far From a Done Deal

11/11/2015

As World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 (WRC-15) moves into its second week in Geneva, consensus is shaping up around a new, 15 kHz-wide secondary 60 meter allocation, at 5351.5-5366.5 kHz, with amateur stations limited to an effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP) of 15 W. Consideration of an allocation in the vicinity of 5.3 MHz for Amateur Radio is Agenda Item 1.4 at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) conference. ARRL Chief Technology Officer Brennan Price, N4QX, noted that an allocation at 5 MHz has been a long-time objective of Amateur Radio, and that the service now is one step closer to having one, thanks in part to the timely reversal of the initial US “no change” position.

“Once it was clear that the amount of spectrum to be allocated was an amount the US could consider, the US not only came off its previous ‘no change’ position‎ but argued passionately for a power limit in line with our current domestic rules,” said Price, who is a member of the US delegation to WRC-15. “ARRL appreciates the support from FCC and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) staff on the floor. No amount of effort, however, could ultimately sway the clear sense of the room on the power issue.”

While the proposed outcome has passed the first of a series of necessary hurdles, it’s far from a done deal. Agenda Item 1.4 deliberations have been taking place in sub-working group 4B1, chaired by Dale Hughes, VK1DSH, of Australia. While the prevailing sense of deliberations in the sub-working group was to make the allocation as described, some countries have insisted that a “no change” outcome be considered at the next level as well. The issue now moves up the ladder to Working Group 4B — Maritime and Amateur Issues, Committee 4 — Terrestrial Issues, and then to the WRC-15 Plenary for first and second readings. At any of these stages, a “no change” sentiment still could gain momentum, Price explained. “Until four more steps are done, it’s not done.”

The power cut from the current 100 W is “unfortunate,” Price said, but a necessary cost at this time to achieving the allocation and gaining the flexibility of operation now lacking on 60 meters. “An allocation is always a win, and we have a reasonable chance of a win,” he concluded.

ARRL Technical Relations Specialist Jon Siverling, WB3ERA, is also part of the US delegation to WRC-15. 



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