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Proposed WRC-23 Agenda Items Causing Concern

06/14/2019

Two proposals under discussion in Europe as possible World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 (WRC-23) agenda items “could impact important Amateur Radio frequencies,” IARU Region 1 President Don Beattie, G3BJ, reported this week on the IARU Region 1 website. Included is a proposal from France to consider the 144 – 146 MHz band as a primary allocation to the Aeronautical Mobile service, as part of a broader consideration of spectrum allocated to that service. IARU has cautioned the amateur community against overreacting to the news. France will submit a paper containing a proposal for an agenda item for “new non-safety Aeronautical Mobile applications” at the June 17 – 21 Conference Preparatory Group meeting of the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) in Prague. Beattie pointed out in his account that 144 – 146 MHz is a primary global Amateur and Amateur Satellite allocation.

“This is one of the few primary allocations to the Amateur Service above 29.7 MHz and, as such, is an important and widely used part of the amateur spectrum with a vast installed base of users and operational satellite stations,” Beattie commented. “IARU views with grave concern any proposal to include this band in the proposed study.”

Beattie said IARU will “energetically” promote this viewpoint in Regional Telecommunications Organizations (RTOs) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) “to seek to obtain assurances that the spectrum will remain a primary allocation for the amateur services.”

Another proposal has been raised to study the 23-centimeter amateur allocation, 1240 – 1300 MHz, following reports of interference to the Galileo navigation system — Europe’s GPS system. Beattie said IARU is aware of “a handful of cases” of reported interference to the Galileo E6 signal on 1278.750 MHz. “In all cases, these have been resolved by local action with the full cooperation of the amateur stations concerned,” Beattie said. “IARU does not want the Amateur Service to affect the operation of the Galileo system in any way. Joint studies have been carried out to assess the true vulnerability of the system and, based on these, IARU regards the proposal to initiate an Agenda item for WRC-23 as premature.”

Beattie said it’s IARU’s position that proper technical assessment of the issues involved should be made in the relevant CEPT study group. “Proper account needs to be taken of the operational characteristics of the Amateur Service in order to develop sensible and proportionate measures that will facilitate the continued utility of the band for amateur experimentation whilst respecting the primary status of the GNSS [Galileo] service,” Beattie said, adding that IARU is prepared to cooperate fully in any studies and “shares the objective of reaching a secure and permanent solution to the issues of sharing in this band.”

IARU is asking its member-societies to “refrain at this time from making speculative public comments about the situation until further progress has been made in regulatory discussions,” and said it’s ready to discuss the issue with other non-IARU societies.

One European Amateur Radio organization already has called for radio amateurs to “occupy” 2 meters on June 15 for 1 hour in protest of the French proposal.    



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