The ITU´s Radio Assembly (RA-23), World Radio Conference (WRC-23) and Conference Preparatory Meeting (CPM27‑1) concluded their almost 6 week of activities on December 19 at Dubai, UAE, where overall amateur service fared very well, despite the enormous pressures across the radio spectrum from LF to Terahertz. This is a tribute to the IARU team effort, that at times had to work throughout this period from 8:00 am to as late as beyond 2:00 am and on weekends.
Top of the amateur radio priority list was the coexistence studies with the secondary amateur and amateur-satellite allocation with the primary radio navigation satellite service in 23 cm (AI 9.1 Topic b). This had seen four years of strenuous effort in the run-up to WRC and resulted in a recommendation being agreed at the RA-23, followed by WRC-23 agreeing to mention the recommendation in a new footnote for the allocation, without incorporation by reference. Both the recommendation and the footnote are excellent outcome for the amateurs and for the coexistence of both services.
The recommendation, also recognized as guidance, covered the situation existed in the Region 2. During the study cycle, Inter-American Contributions and Proposals on that matter were developed by CITEL (Inter-American Telecommunication Commission) and reflected in the guidance: the existing spectrum management best practices and technical and operational measures may be sufficient to ensure protection of the RNSS and, If needed, other measures may be implemented by administrations based on their national circumstances, therefore it´s a non-obligatory recommendation with wide regulatory flexibility, taking account the inexistence of those interferences in Region 2.
Several other items were relevant to the amateur service and had been prioritized beforehand:
- The adoption of new allocation to airborne radar sounders in 40 – 50 MHz, adjacent to 6 m band. Discussions happening in the conference have been largely limited the operations to the polar area, reducing the risk of interferences.
- Re-allocations in 231.5 – 252 GHz for Earth Sensing, with positive results of the secondary and primary segments of the amateur 1 mm band unchanged.
- IMT new shared allocations on 3.3 GHz and 10 GHz in Region 2. These are challenging secondary bands. Instead of a region-wide designation on 3 cm band for IMT in Region 2, a related footnote was produced limited only to a few countries. Even administrations from Region 1 had opposed to the IMT identification, also considering the protection of EESS.
Every WRC agrees to an agenda-setting for the next conference. This theme had an unprecedented number of proposals for both WRC-27 and preliminary ones for WRC-31. Following the first battles and agreements before, the IARU team switched most of its effort to these future proposals to reduce the impact on the amateur services, since numerous amateur bands were under previous consideration. Here some of the topics:
- Space Weather Sensors – this potential item was a very concerning proposal, first considering all bands from 0.1−20 MHz, and other segments that covers all 10 m, 1.3 m, major part of the 6 m. Concerns were raised by several countries and strong team effort resulted in these allocations being removed from the topic.
- Lunar Communications – the future agenda item first will look for new allocations to the Space Research Service in the Moon, that initially included 70 cm and bands where some applications like EME potentially could be restricted. Again, due the teamwork, the UHF aspect of this item was modified to exclude the 70 cm. By this way, the educational and experimental Moon sounders build in partnership between universities and amateur radio institutions will continue to be developed on this band.
- For IMT, initially the 3 cm band was again previously included for future studies worldwide. As the conclusion of the discussions, the band was withdrawn from another round of consideration for mobile broadband.
Along to the future challenges, we have new studies for Wireless Power Transfer frequencies, Radiolocation, Space Research, EESS, IMT and unpredictable proposals that can arise during the next WRC study-cycle that could affect several bands. In other hand, it´s also planned the study of possible new allocation in the 275 – 315 GHz range, including for amateur and amateur-satellite service.
The RA-23, WRC-23 and CPM27‑1 outcome is the IARU team also worked effectively to minimize the possible negative impacts from future studies, as well took the opportunities for study possible new future bands. This is again a great result for amateur service from a team effort contributing to keep a more stable and protected radio allocations to all the operators worldwide.
At the conclusion of these conferences, IARU is very pleased with the overall result. The IARU team has already started to discuss and consider how to engage and resource for the next cycle leading up to WRC-27. IARU WRC-coordinator and Vice-President Ole Garpestad LA2RR expressed his pleasure with the results and complimented the extraordinary effort of the dedicated team of IARU volunteers who worked long hours to achieve the results that will benefit all amateurs.
Doreen Bogdan-Martin, ITU Secretary-General, mentioned amateur radio in her speeches at the WRC-23. In the opening remarks, Doreen recalled emergency communications: “It is amateur radio operators who are able to send damage reports in the epicenter of an earthquake when all other communication channels were down”. At the closing remarks, she reinforced the technical-experimental aspects of the service: “We also saw a well-supported compromise for amateur radio community and, of course, it is always terrific to see how active that community is. These WRC outcomes will help them continue to experiment and explore with new technologies, as well a supporting technical competence development.”
A total of 151Member States signed the WRC-23 Final Acts, a record of the decisions taken at the conference including both the new and revised provisions of the Radio Regulations. It represents the agreements on revisions to the global treaty governing the use of the radio frequency spectrum, both on Earth and in space. “The agreements reached at WRC-23 are a testament to the unwavering spirit of cooperation and compromise among all of our members,” said Mario Maniewicz, Director of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau. “Navigating the complexities of spectrum sharing to update the Radio Regulations has helped us forge a path that provides a stable, predictable regulatory environment essential for the development of innovative radiocommunication services for all”.
Check on this weblink the interview done by Tim Ellam, VE6SH, President of IARU, to the ITU staff at WRC-23: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6T8yYesD2kQ
Also follow the WRC-23 snapshot with opinions of several experts about the relevance of the radio spectrum and their organization: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=en1WtByYoDo
Featured Image: Plenary of the WRC-23. (Photo: ITU)
Also available in Español (Spanish).