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World Radiocommunication Conference 2012 Begins Today in Switzerland, Will Consider Secondary MF Amateur Allocation


The World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-12) opened in Geneva, Switzerland on Monday, January 23. Attendees will review and revise the Radio Regulations, the international treaty governing the use of radio frequency spectrum and satellite orbits. One of the items to be considered at WRC-12 is Agenda Item 1.23: To consider an allocation of about 15 kHz in parts of the band 415-526.5 kHz to the Amateur Service on a secondary basis, taking into account the need to protect existing services.

More than 3000 participants -- representing more than 150 out of the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) 193 Member States -- are expected to attend the four-week conference. About 100 Observers from among the ITU’s 700 private sector members -- along with international organizations, including the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) -- are also in attendance. A number of WRC-12 delegates are radio amateurs.

On the first day of WRC-12, various interests have introduced several ways to implement the proposed MF secondary allocation, while some are not interested in making any changes that would grant it. The European countries, represented by CEPT, offered an 8-kHz-wide band between 472 and 480 kHz. CITEL, which represents the Americas, has proposed the secondary allocation be at 461-469 and 471-478 kHz. Colin Thomas, G3PSM, introduced the CEPT proposal, while ARRL Technical Relations Specialist Jon Siverling, WB3ERA, had the honor of introducing the CITEL proposal to the Conference.

Members of the IARU Team include: IARU President Tim Ellam, VE6SH; IARU Vice President Ole Garpestad, LA2RR; IARU Secretary Rod Stafford, W6ROD; IARU Region 1 President Hans Blondeel Timmerman, PB2T; IARU Region 2 President Reinaldo Leandro, YV5AM; IARU Technical Representative Ken Pulfer, VE3PU, and ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ. ARRL Chief Technology Officer Brennan Price, N4QX, and Siverling are serving as members of the US delegation. Price is serving as Chairman of the sub-committee that will consider Agenda Item 1.23.

Ellam has been using Twitter to keep interested radio amateurs apprised of what is happening at WRC-12. According to his tweets, the African Telecommunications Union (ATU), the East African Community (EAC), the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT) and the South African Development Community (SADC) also support an MF secondary allocation to the Amateur Service. The Regional Commonwealth in the Field of Communications (RCC), which represents Russia, has proposed no change to the current frequency allocations, aligning themselves with the Arab States, China, Iran and the International Maritime Organization. You can follow Ellam on Twitter at

According to the ITU, WRC-12 will address the changes required to the regulation of orbit/spectrum resources in the interest of the users of these scarce resources, with global implications for policy-makers, regulators, the telecommunications industry as well as end-users.

“The World Radiocommunication Conference will review and modify global spectrum regulations to ensure that this most precious resource is used effectively to benefit all players,” said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré, HB9EHT. “The aim is to ensure reliable radio services are available everywhere and at any time, enabling people to live and travel safely while enjoying high performance radiocommunications.”

ITU Radiocommunication Bureau Director François Rancy concurred: “The decisions taken by the ITU Membership during WRC-12 will play a vital role in contributing toward improved access and development of information and communication technologies (ICT) wireless infrastructure, in particular in meeting the challenges of mobile broadband and ensuring that ICTs work for the benefit of all the world’s people. The objective is to enable the introduction of the latest technological developments, while protecting investments and favoring economies of scale.”

Fuelled by rapid technological developments in ICT, along with increasing convergence of radiocommunication services in today’s communication devices, there is an urgent need to ensure the best efficiencies in the use of spectrum, a finite resource. WRC-12 will examine the technical, regulatory and operational aspects to address frequency allocation and frequency sharing to ensure the high quality of radiocommunication services for maritime and aeronautical transport, as well as for scientific purposes related to the environment, meteorology and climatology, and disaster prediction, mitigation and relief.

The management of satellite orbital slots and associated spectrum resources will be a key area of focus for WRC-12.The Conference goal will be to ensure that the modifications made to the international procedures for the coordination and registration of satellite systems provide for equitable and efficient use of these resources. WRC-12 will also advance the introduction of mobile broadband and other advanced technologies such as the development of Ultra High Definition Television (UHDTV), promote the use of the digital dividend resulting from the switch over to digital TV, as well as consider the potential for radiocommunications to act as a catalyst to reduce the impact of human activity on the environment.

During WRC-12, 4U1ITU -- the ITU HQ station -- will be the ITU HQ station, will be signing 4U1WRC. The station will revert back to 4U1ITU just in time for the ARRL International DX CW Contest, scheduled for February 18-19. According to Sumner, the station is in really good shape, with two operating positions capable of going on any two bands at the same time.

The agenda for WRC-12 was set at the last WRC meeting, held in 2007. WRC-12 participants will be tasked with preparing the agenda for the next WRC, scheduled for 2015. WRC-12 runs through February 17.  -- Thanks to the ITU for some information



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