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ITU Smart Sustainable Development Model Report Touts Amateur Radio’s Advantages


The use of Amateur Radio in disaster preparedness and response was among “best practices” cited in the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Smart Sustainable Development Model Report for 2015. International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) President Tim Ellam, VE6SH/G4HUA, is a member of the Smart Sustainable Development Model Advisory Board, which prepared the report, published in January. The IARU is an ITU sector member.


“I strongly believe that telecommunications and [information and communication technology entities] are critical to saving lives as well as integrating communities and countries into the global economy particularly as we enter the post-2015 development era,” ITU Telecommunication Development Bureau Director Brahima Sanou said in the preface to the report, which deemed Amateur Radio operators “well suited to respond in times of crisis.”

“The resource of the Amateur Radio Service should continue to be utilized as new technologies are developed,” the report said. “However, the best asset the Amateur Radio Service brings to emergency communications transcends technology. It provides skilled people ‘on the ground’ who can communicate using whatever technology is available.”

The report cited trained volunteers and existing allocated spectrum as Amateur Radio’s primary resources. “Amateur Radio services can be used in any area with an active population of radio amateurs, and is uniquely suited to situations in which other communication networks have been disrupted,” the report said, noting that Amateur Radio “involves a community-driven response to disasters.”

The report mentions the Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) and the “weak-signal” digital modes WSJT, WSJT-X, and WSPR developed as open-source software by Nobel Laureate Joe Taylor, K1JT, as “new technologies” that can benefit international disaster responses. “Amateur Eadio operators, while having access to the latest technology, are also able to make do with limited resources, as their equipment and networks are self-owned, but do not generate any income.”

The report said radio amateurs can provide “short-term immediate communication relief until such time as a commercial enterprise, such as a satellite operator, can place appropriate longer-term communications equipment.”

“The use of the spectrum and various operating modes by radio amateurs allow them to communicate down the street or around the world, which makes the Amateur Service a true, independent Information and Communication Technology,” the report pointed out.





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