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The headquarters of the International Telecommunications Union in Geneva, Switzerland at which World Radio Conferences are held.

Serge Bertuzzo, VA3SB – RAC International Affairs Officer

Bryan Rawlings, VE3QN – RAC Special Advisor at World Radiocommunications Conferences

The sole purpose of the Defence of Amateur Radio Fund (DARF) Trust is to support the travel expenses of a certified Amateur as a member of the Canadian official delegation at the International Telecommunication Union’s World Radiocommunications Conferences (WRC) and Preparatory Meetings in Geneva, Switzerland.

The WRC is the mechanism that sets international allocations for all users of the radio spectrum. Our delegate’s role is to assist our regulator, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), in all agenda issues that may influence allocations to the Amateur Radio Service. This may include helping defend existing Amateur bands from being reallocated or being subject to harmful sharing by other interested parties. And when an opportunity arises, this could also include advocating for new allocations.

The DARF Trust’s role is to provide funding for our delegate’s travel and living expenses in order to attend these various conferences. While made a member of the Canadian delegation, ISED does not provide any funds towards his participation. As most of these meetings are held in Geneva, one of the most expensive cities in the world, DARF’s funding is essential. Without DARF, there would be no Canadian Amateur presence at these international meetings or in the many meetings that take place developing and working out what becomes Canada’s position.

Canada is one of a small number of countries – Australia, Germany, The Netherlands, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States and Brazil – who regularly include a Radio Amateur in their official delegation. These Amateur delegates work closely with each other and with the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) representatives, including IARU President, Tim Ellam, VE6SH. This is important, as WRC voting is limited to member states.

The IARU is one of many industry sector members representing various special interests – telecommunications companies, marine and air carriers, etc – that attend, but have no vote.

Our delegate, Bryan Rawlings, VE3QN, regularly keeps us all up to date – through articles in The Canadian Amateur and on the RAC website – on the issues and processes that ultimately determine Amateur Radio frequencies around the world.

The DARF Trust was created by Tom Atkins, VE3CDM (SK) and Bill Loucks, VE3AR (SK), in 1991 to provide funding to ensure that a Canadian Radio Amateur would be part of these critical processes. Over the years, this need has only grown more critical with the explosion of mobile services and the need for more spectrum to service them. DARF is an independent legal Trust which is administered by RAC to ensure that any funds disbursed are only used for the purposes allowed by the Trust as follows:

1) Ensure that there are sufficient funds on hand for the Amateur delegate’s expenses to attend WRC meetings.

2) If sufficient funds are on hand, to also support travel to Preparatory Meetings when issues directly affecting our frequencies are being debated.

It may seem that this is a once every four year expense for the Conference. However, that’s just the end of one cycle of the process and the beginning of the next. Between one WRC and the next are many preparatory sessions where the real work to shape, negotiate and defend allocations take place. Our delegate typically attends two of these meetings each year, each lasting 10 to 12 days. Even with discounted airfare and hotel rates, it costs a lot to send a person to Geneva to work and live for two to four weeks each year.

If you have not contributed to DARF, please consider making a personal donation and also suggest a club donation to DARF at your next meeting. Donations of any amount are welcome. Every dollar helps and will only go to defending and expanding our access to spectrum. We especially thank those clubs and individual Amateurs who have made their DARF contribution. Your support is much appreciated.

Special thanks to the following individuals and clubs for their generous donations:

  • Pioneer Amateur Radio Club
  • Francois Daigneault, VE2AAY, in memory of Paul Tremblay, VE2ARQ
  • Ottawa Valley Mobile Radio Club
  • National Capital Chapter (70) of the Quarter Century Wireless Association
  • Paul Wickwire, VE6SC
  • Jason Timmis, VE7AG
  • Dale Jackaman, VE7GL
  • James Thompson, VE3BCA
  • BC North Shore Amateur Radio Club
  • Mississauga Amateur Radio Club
  • Allen McNeil, VE7BJA
  • Ottawa Amateur Radio Club
  • Penticton Amateur Radio Club

For the past several years Canada’s representative has been Bryan Rawlings, VE3QN, RAC’s Special Advisor at World Radiocommunications Conferences.

The Canadian delegation to Working Party 5A which monitors Amateur Radio issues. Front row (seated): Bryan Rawlings, VE3QN; Ms. Paramita Melanson, the new Chairman of the Canadian delegation; and Ali Shoamanesh of Telesat.Back row (standing): Dr. José Costa, the ITU Chairman of Working Party 5A; and Daniel Gratton of the Canadian Space Agency.

In addition to many meetings with our regulator – Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) in Ottawa – Bryan attended one meeting at ITU Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland in May 2017 and participated remotely in one other in 2016. For more information on the meeting visit: https://www.rac.ca/wrc-preparatory-meetings-may2017/

These meetings focused principally on preparatory work for WRC-19 scheduled for October 2019. Activity in May centred on ensuring that the Amateur Radio Service’s interests are heard with respect to four Agenda items (AI).

1) AI 1.16 which seeks an expansion of Radio Local Area Networks (RLAN) in the 5 GHz range where Canadian Amateurs have a secondary allocation from 5 725 to 5 925 MHz. We are seeking to maintain the Amateur allocation where there is much interest in Mesh networking for emergency communications.

2) AI 1.13 seeks an expanded contiguous allocation for International Mobile Telephony (IMT) – sometimes referred to as 5G. Here we are arguing the case for retaining our exclusive primary allocation at 47 to 47.2 GHz which is within the range being studied for IMT expansion.

Preparatory Meeting for WRC3) There has also been work updating the ITU Recommendation on Amateur Radio characteristics for use in band sharing studies. This may allow further consideration of new secondary allocations for Amateurs.

4) Finally, we have listened to and are lending our support to our Region 1 colleagues on their efforts to gain access to 50 to 54 MHz, which we already enjoy in Region 2.

Thank you for your support

DARF Trust Financial Summary for 2017

The summary provided in the table shows that DARF is still viable and will be able to support our delegate for several years to come. However, inflation and the trend that new donations are less than expenses continues to be worrisome in the longer term. The insatiable demand for mobile device connectivity means continued and increasing pressure on spectrum from large corporate and government interests with deep pockets. Only a strong Amateur presence at the ITU table to defend the bands we already have will protect the future of Amateur Radio. Without the funds to work with, our voices will not be heard. So once again, please consider a donation.

Donations can be made online by clicking on the “Donate” button on the RAC website or sent to RAC HQ. One easy way to donate is to include an extra $10 or $20 or more when you renew your RAC membership. Please make your cheque payable to “Radio Amateurs of Canada” and note in the memo field “DARF donation”. Call or email RAC HQ if you wish to donate by other payment methods or have a question on how to donate.

It costs a lot to send a person to Geneva to work and live for almost a month, even with discounted airfare and hotel rates. We all experience rising costs and are aware of the loonie’s falling buying power. If you have not contributed to DARF, please consider making a personal donation and also suggest a club donation to DARF at your next club meeting.

Donations of any amount are welcome. Every dollar helps and it only goes to defending and expanding our access to spectrum. We especially thank those clubs and individual Amateurs who have made their DARF contribution an annual event. Special recognition goes to the Ottawa Valley Mobile Radio Club for its two donations of $600 each, and also to Le Club Radio Amateur de Granby for its $600 donation in memory of Robert Leclerc, VA2RPL.

The summary below shows the worrisome trend that donations to support DARF have been less than what is needed to support our delegate. The continued demand for mobile device connectivity means even more pressure on spectrum from large corporate and government interests with deep pockets. This demands a strong Amateur presence at the ITU table to defend the bands we already have – not just the WRC Conference, but also at the preparatory meetings to be part of the discussion.

Defence of Amateur Radio Fund (DARF)
Financial Summary 2017

Starting balance$40,136,17
Donations and income on investments$4,558.15
Disbursements($6,320.52)
Ending balance$38,373.80
Net change($1,762.37)

Without the funds to work with, we won’t have our voices heard. So once again, please consider a donation. Donations can be sent to RAC Headquarters at the address shown below. Please make the cheque payable to “Radio Amateurs of Canada” and note in the memo field “DARF donation”. Call or email RAC HQ if you wish to donate by other payment methods or have a question on how to donate. For more information visit: https://www.rac.ca/donation/

Radio Amateurs of Canada
720 Belfast Road, Suite 217
Ottawa K1G 0Z5
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T. 1-877-273-8304 | 613-244-4367