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World Radiocommunication Conference 2015: The Deliberations Have Begun


The more than 3000 delegates and observers attending World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 (WRC-15) have gathered in a large conference center adjacent to ITU Headquarters in Geneva for the nearly month-long event. WRC-15 officially got under way on November 2. It will close on November 27. Chairing the conference is Festus Daudu of Nigeria, the first African elected to chair a WRC.

Delegations at WRC-15 are considering several issues of importance to the Amateur and Amateur Satellite services. International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) President Tim Ellam, VE6SH/G4HUA, and Vice President Ole Garpestad, LA2RR, are heading the organization’s team. The ITU has acknowledged its close cooperation with the IARU, which was founded in Paris in 1925, and it recognizes that IARU speaks for the Amateur Radio community. Other radio amateurs are parts of national delegations or in observer roles. ARRL Chief Technology Officer Brennan Price, N4QX, and ARRL Technical Relations Specialist Jon Siverling, WB3ERA, are part of the US delegation to WRC-15.

Of prime Amateur Radio interest is Agenda Item 1.4, which calls for allocating an appropriate amount of spectrum to the Amateur Service on a secondary basis within the band 5250-5450 kHz. The IARU has called the new band as “a high priority for the Amateur Service” but is not overly confident of getting the new secondary allocation. Ellam said the IARU team will put forth its best effort toward gaining a possible allocation near 5 MHz and will follow other developments that may impinge on the Amateur and Amateur Satellite services.

The deliberations on agenda item 1.4 are taking place in a sub-working group chaired by Dale Hughes, VK1DSH, of Australia. While more administrations than not have expressed support for some sort of allocation, the methods proposed vary greatly, the opposition to any allocation is spirited, and a number of uncommitted administrations could still sway the prevailing consensus.

An Amateur Radio contact on November 3 between students at the ITU Headquarters club station and two crew members of the International Space Station helped to kick off WRC-15. ITU Amateur Radio club station 4U1ITU is using the call sign 4U1WRC for the duration of the conference. Students from Institut Florimont spoke with astronauts Kjell Lindgren, KO5MOS, and Kimiya Yui, KG5BPH, who were using the Amateur Radio station in the ISSColumbus module, OR4ISS.

The IARU will host a November 10 display of an emergency communications mobile unit. It will be available for viewing November 8-14, with IARU International Coordinator for Emergency Communications, Hans Zimmermann, HB9AQS, attending. The trailer-mounted display will have equipment showing the voice, text and image mode capabilities for emergency communications, plus a mobile antenna.

Emergency Radio Germany supplied the mobile unit for the exhibit. 

Last week’s Radiocommunication Assembly at ITU Headquarters approved a new resolution calling on the ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) to develop appropriate educational materials on the regulatory aspects of small satellites.



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