NEWS FLASH – November 18, 2015

At the Sixth Plenary of WRC-15 held this afternoon (Geneva time) the proposal for a new secondary allocation to Amateur Radio at 5 MHz passed both 1st and 2nd readings.

This effectively ends the four-year trek to bring Agenda Item 1.4 to fruition. The changes to the Radio Regulations authorizing the new band will appear in the WRC-15 Final Acts which will be available provisionally at the end of next week and in a formal document some weeks later. The changes are tentatively expected to be effective January 1, 2017. Of course, in Canada, Industry Canada must still follow their processes – likely to include a public consultation – before authorizing Canadian Amateurs to use the new band.  Note: This means there is NO change to our current 60 metre allotments until Industry Canada (IC) acts.

The new allocation is for 15 kHz between 5351.5 and 5366.5 kHz and – for Canada – a power limit of 15 watts EIRP would apply.

The smaller-than-hoped size of this allocation, the unusual band edges and the modest power limit reflect the painful compromises that over 20 hours of stressful negotiations resulted in. It is worth reflecting that with both the US and Russia committed to “no change” along with a couple of dozen more countries the outcome defied the odds.

Previous Update:

At the International Telecommunication Union’s World Radio Conference in Geneva (WRC15), RAC representative Bryan Rawlings, VE3QN, has been working in the Canada delegation and with fellow Amateurs in other national delegations and the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) to gain a worldwide Amateur allocation at 60 metres.  The press release below from the IARU provides the latest status.  Please note that while Bryan is a full member of the Canadian delegation, Industry Canada does not pay his travel and living expenses for the month-long conference in Geneva, one of the most expensive cities in the world.  Your donations to the Defence of Amateur Radio Fund (DARF) allow RAC to be represented at the table at IC and at ITU conferences.  Consider donating so that a Canadian Amateur will continue to be at the table for future WRCs, protecting our existing bands and working to gain new spectrum.

From the International Amateur Radio Union:

The World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 (WRC15) is currently underway in Geneva. The WRC started 2 November and will conclude 27 November. Consensus has developed around a new 15 kHz-wide global secondary 60 meter Amateur Radio allocation at 5351.5-5366.5 kHz. Last week, Conference Working Group 4B agreed to the global secondary allocation, with power limits designed to protect primary services from harmful interference. The current compromise within WG4B making the allocation possible has also cleared Committee 4 but must clear one more level at the conference. The issue is not final until it does.

“While this is a positive step to a worldwide secondary Amateur allocation at 5 MHz it is not yet final until it has been approved by the Conference Plenary” noted Tim Ellam, VE6SH, President of the IARU. Ellam, who attended the first part of the Conference added “The 15 kHz allocation on a secondary basis is the result of significant compromise by a number of stakeholders in this portion of the spectrum. It will provide the opportunity for access to 60m for countries that do not presently have a domestic allocation.”

At the beginning of the WRC, a number of administrations and the regional telecommunications organization (RTO) representing Russia and 10 of its neighboring countries (RCC) were strongly and actively opposed to the new Amateur allocation. After more than a dozen sub-working group meetings, it became clear that the widest achievable allocation was 15 kHz and that a power limit in the neighborhood of 15 W effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP) would have to be part of the package.

“It took all the effort and resources of the entire IARU-team to ensure this 15 kHz compromise and to persuade some administrations to abandon their no-allocation position,” said IARU Vice-President Ole Garpestad LA2RR.

In other WRC15 developments, a possible agenda item at the next WRC for an Amateur allocation at 50 MHz in Region 1 cleared its first hurdle. A proposed agenda item to align the 160 meter allocation in Region 1 with the rest of the world was not likely to be accepted, however.

The International Amateur Radio Union WRC Team is headed by IARU President Tim Ellam VE6SH and Vice President Ole Garpestad LA2RR. In addition, the following Amateurs were a part of the IARU WRC Team: Reinaldo Leandro, YV5AM, President of IARU Region 2 and Faisal Al-Ajmi, 9K2RR, Vice-President of IARU Region 1.

A number of other Amateurs were part of the IARU WRC Team while serving on a national delegation: Colin Thomas, G3PSM, Hans Blondeel Timmerman, PB2T, Ken Yamamoto, JA1CJP, Bryan Rawlings, VE3QN, Tafa Diop, 6W1KI, Don Wallace, ZL2TLL, Dale Hughes, VK1DSH, Flávio Archangelo, PY2ZX, Ulrich Mueller, DK4VW, Brennan Price, N4QX and Jon Siverling, WB3ERA.

WRC 15 VE3QN Photo


WRC 15


Bryan Rawlings, VE3QN
Christine Hsu, Industry Canada
Flávio Archangelo, PY2ZX