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World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 Opens in Egypt


World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19) is under way in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. More than 3,500 delegates from 193 member-states around the world are attending the month-long gathering, sponsored by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), which opened today (October 28). WRC-19 delegates will discuss changes to the ITU Radio Regulations. Amateur radio issues are but a small part of the conference agenda. The ITU is characterizing the aim of the conference as forging pathways for future digital communications.

WRC-19 [is] to manage scarce radio-frequency spectrum for rapidly evolving terrestrial and space-based communication technologies,” ITU said in a news release, describing WRC-19 as an “international treaty-making conference governing the global management of scarce radio-frequency spectrum as well as geostationary-satellite and non-geostationary-satellite orbits.” UN Secretary-General António Guterres addressed WRC-19 by video.

The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) and its member-societies are representing the Amateur and Amateur Satellite services with a team of 14 people from 10 countries. Agenda Items of particular interest to IARU are:

  • Agenda Item 1.1, to allocate spectrum in the 50 – 54 MHz Region in Region 1 to the Amateur Service.

  • Agenda Item 1.13, to consider new spectrum for International Mobile Telecommunications, which could potentially impact amateur spectrum at around 47 GHz.

  • Agenda Item 1.16, which could impact amateur spectrum at 5 GHz.

  • Agenda Item 9.1.6, addressing Wireless Power Transmission (WPT), where harmonics of WPT systems could negatively impact the MF/HF radio spectrum.

  • Agenda item 10, to consider WRC-23 agenda items that could impact the Amateur Service, including the 1240 – 1300 MHz band.

“This meeting is the culmination of 4 years’ work by IARU in ITU and regional telecommunications organizations to protect and enhance Amateur Service frequency allocations,” IARU said.

IARU Secretary David Sumner, K1ZZ, reported on the ITU Radiocommunication Assembly (RA) that took place in Sharm el-Sheikh just ahead of WRC-19.

“Last week, the RA met to approve standards developed during the 2015 – 2019 cycle of work in the ITU Radiocommunication Sector and to begin planning the work for the next 4 years,” Sumner said in a post to the ARRL IARU Group. Sumner said Brazilian delegation member Flavio Archangelo, PY2ZX, with the support of several other administrations, pressed for greater attention to the growing problem of radio noise.

“There is tight security around the conference center and the official hotels,” Sumner reported.