WRC-19 Grinds On Into Third Week


With just 3-1/2 days left for substantive work, delegates at World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19) face a daunting workload as the conferees try to reach consensus on several remaining issues including the agenda for the next WRC. The final session of the conference plenary to approve texts for inclusion in the Final Acts of the conference is set to wrap up at noon on Thursday, November 21.

As of the end of last week, no choices had been made as to which of more than three dozen proposed topics will end up on the agenda for World Radiocommunication Conference 2023. Each proposed agenda item would require studies to be conducted between 2020 and 2023, but International Telecommunication Union (ITU) resources will not accommodate more than about half of the proposals. Some face strong opposition, while others remain ill-defined even at this late stage of the conference.

“The responsible committee is scheduled to complete its work in just one more day,” International Amateur Radio Union Secretary David Sumner, K1ZZ, reported over the weekend. “It will be a long day.”

Short Duration Satellites: No agreement has been reached on how to protect existing services and uses of the uplink frequency band proposed for telemetry, tracking, and command of these “simple” satellites.

5725 – 5850 MHz: This part of the amateur secondary allocation, which includes an amateur-satellite downlink at 5830 – 5850 MHz, is the subject of an unresolved conflict over parameters for wireless access systems, including radio local area networks.

Frequencies above 275 GHz: This upper frequency range is not allocated, but several bands are identified for passive (receive-only) use, and administrations are encouraged to protect them from harmful interference. With that in mind, WRC-19 has identified other bands above 275 GHz for the implementation of land mobile and fixed service applications. The use of these bands for applications in other services, including amateur experimentation, is not precluded.

50 MHz in Region 1 (Europe, Africa, the Mideast): The compromise agreement reported last week survived review at the Working Group and Committee levels and awaits approval in the general conference assembly later this week.

With the 50 MHz issue settled, the IARU team is devoting most of its energy to explaining why the proposed Radionavigation Satellite Service (RNSS) agenda item for 1240 – 1300 MHz is unnecessary and undesirable. The European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) has proposed an agenda item for WRC-23 to study the compatibility of the amateur secondary 1240 – 1300 MHz with the receivers used with the Galileo RNSS (GPS) system. This arose from a single issue of interference between a Galileo Earth station and an amateur video repeater in Germany. The amateur community has advocated that this matter be dealt with through existing ITU processes rather than the 4 years of study that an agenda item would entail.

The Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) said that while the 23-centimeter RNSS (or Galileo) proposal leads its “unwanted list,” six other proposals may also pose concerns, if adopted, “so careful attention is being given to the process, even if it was rather tedious and drawn out.” RSGB said that one bright spot was that the non-safety aeronautical proposal has been kept away from 144 – 146 MHz, “despite pressures on all its other nominated bands.”

IARU President Tim Ellam, VE6SH, departed the conference at the end of the second week, but he remains virtually present in a 6-minute-long video that is being replayed on monitors scattered around the halls of the conference center.




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