ARRL General Bulletin ARLB025 (1997)

ARLB025 ITU concludes pre-WRC-97 talks

ARRL Bulletin 25  ARLB025
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT  May 16, 1997
To all radio amateurs

ARLB025 ITU concludes pre-WRC-97 talks

The ITU Conference Preparatory Meeting (CPM) for WRC 97 has just
concluded two weeks of deliberations in Geneva, Switzerland.  The
work of CPM has resulted in the preparation of a 250+ page book of
combined technical output from the various ITU study groups as well
as the concerns of the member states.

Issues of special interest to radio amateurs that were taken up in
preparation for WRC 97 included the possibility of additional
frequency allocations to the Mobile Satellite Service operating
below 1 GHz--familiar to hams as ''the little LEO issue.''  No
specific frequencies have been identified in the CPM report for
reallocation.  Although the report does address a number of sharing
possibilities, it makes no mention of sharing with the Amateur
Service.  In addition, a new concept of ''broad allocations'' was
introduced.  If adopted, this concept would result in individual
nations being able to identify and allocate frequencies from a broad
pool of service allocations.  This concept, being quite new and
unstudied, only resulted in a call for future studies by the ITU.
However, it will be watched closely by radio amateurs as it might
have the potential of representing a threat to our bands.  It is
likely that any such studies will be prolonged over a multi-year

Of course, the work of WRC 97 will be guided by specific proposals
submitted by individual nations.  At present, countries have not yet
finalized nor submitted their proposals.  Until they do, the amateur
community will not be able to accurately assess the threats to our
bands for this conference.

Unfortunately, the Little LEOs are not the only new service
searching for spectrum.  One newcomer is the Earth Exploration
Satellite Service's use of synthetic aperture radar (EESS active)
for a system of spaceborne sensors designed to collect information
about environmental issues and other similar data.  A variety of
frequencies is being sought, possibly including 430 to 440 MHz.  The
amateur and amateur satellite service status in this band is
somewhat complex, varying by ITU Region and even by individual
country.  So far, studies of sharing possibilities between the
amateur and EESS (active) have not shown them to be compatible
because of the interference level experienced when the two classes
of stations are within line of sight.

There is also a type of EESS (active) which would make use of 1215
to 1300 MHz which is of concern to amateurs.  Studies here show
compatibility with some types of services but still represent a
potential source of interference to amateur operations.

Over the next 90 days, the various member countries of ITU
interested in seeking specific allocations for these services at WRC
97 will be making proposals for the work of the conference.

The ARRL--as the spokesman for Amateur Radio in the US--is actively
participating in the work of the relevant ITU bodies on these
matters along with the IARU.