IARU Region 1 Proposal Could Expand List of Countries with 70 MHz Allocations
A proposal has been adopted to modify the European Common Frequency Allocation (ECA) table to allocate 69.9 to 70.5 MHz on a secondary basis to the Amateur Service. International Amateur Radio Union Region 1 (IARU-R1 — Europe, Middle East, and Africa) and five IARU R1 countries submitted the proposal to a meeting of the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) European Communications Committee Frequency Management Working Group, October 6-10 in France. Efforts to place an allocation at 70 MHz in the ECA table have been underway since the 1990s.
“A growing number of administrations are now permitting amateur operation in all or parts of the 70 MHz, and it is proposed that this should be reflected appropriately in the ECA,” the proposal from Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, and IARU Region 1 said.
More than 30 CEPT administrations, including the UK, allow national amateur use on all or part of the 4 meter band, but others have indicated that they require a clear regulatory decision before opening the band to secondary Amateur Radio usage. The proposal would amend the ECA table to include a secondary allocation for Amateur Radio at 69.9 – 70.5 MHz and update existing footnote EU9 to state that CEPT administrations may allocate all or parts of the band to the Amateur Service.
The proposal received the support of more than 10 administrations, with only three countries opposed. Fourteen CEPT administrations have already notified of such usage in the European Communications Office Frequency Information System, and the working group agreed to include the allocation change in the next revision of the ECA table.
The band will not become immediately available in all CEPT countries, however, as the ECA table is not binding on CEPT national regulatory authorities. The proposal does, however, provide a clear basis for IARU Region 1 member societies to seek 4 meter allocations from their national licensing authorities. The ECC formally approves, revises, and publishes the ECA annually, and the revision incorporating the 70 MHz change is expected to occur next summer.
In the US, the FCC earlier this year denied a Petition for Rule Making seeking to add a 4 meter Amateur Radio band at 70-70.5 MHz. In denying the petition, the FCC pointed out that three full-power TV stations, 110 low-power TV stations and translators, and six Class A TV stations still occupy that spectrum. — Thanks to IARU Region 1 via David Court, EI3IO