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IARU and ITU group photo at WRC-19

The International Amateur Radio Union’s Executive with the International Telecommunication Union’s Secretary General, Houlin Zhao, at WRC-19. From left: IARU Vice-President Ole Garpestad, LA2RR; IARU President Tim Ellam, VE6SH; ITU Secretary General Houlin Zhao; and IARU Secretary David Sumner, K1ZZ. 

WRC-19 Update: Week 2

Bryan Rawlings, VE3QN – RAC Special Advisor

The World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19) is being held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt from October 28 to November 22, 2019. Bryan Rawlings, VE3QN, the RAC Special Advisor at World Radiocommunication Conferences, has provided the following update. We will also be including a report on the proceedings and outcomes of WRC-19 in a future issue of The Canadian Amateur magazine.

Slide of Bryan Rawlings at WRC-19

We are now two weeks into the World Radiocommunication Conference and the following is a quick summary of the status of the Amateur Radio issues which I outlined in my article in the November-December 2019 issue of The Canadian Amateur.

Six Metres for ITU Region 1

An allocation in six metres is taking shape. It has been a long and frustrating process and it is not quite over yet. Once it is “in the bag” I should be able to give you a definitive summary of what it will look like. Remember, our best case scenario has been that Amateurs in ITU Region 1 have a 4 MHz primary allocation similar to what has been available for decades in the other two ITU regions.

There are, however, a number of considerations which make this a difficult and unlikely outcome. The hoped-for allocation, however, should protect all existing arrangements while formalizing new options throughout the region. Hopefully, it will soon be possible to provide additional information.

47 GHz and 5G Mobile Telephony

The selection of frequency bands for 5G International Mobile Telephony continues to consume the time of many of the delegates to the Conference. The good news, however, and as reported earlier, is that the Conference has signed off with “No Change” for our primary allocation in 47 to 47.2 GHz.

Wireless Access Systems in 5 GHz

Our 6 cm secondary allocation in Region 2 is 5650 to 5925 MHz. Note: In the other two regions the upper limit is 5850 MHz.

For the 5850 – 5925 MHz segment the Conference has chosen “No Change” and this is a good outcome for Amateurs. The same outcome is hoped for the 5725 – 5850 MHz segment, but this is  still very much a work in progress as various footnoted exceptions are in discussion. Some of these are outcomes which Amateurs probably could live with as they restrict new mobile allocations to indoor use only and low (200 mW EIRP) power.

Other proposals are less welcome and we are hopeful the final verdict on this segment is either “No Change” as in the CITEL Inter-American Proposal or limited to tolerable changes of the type mentioned above.

Wireless Power Transfer for Electric Vehicles

This Agenda Item does not seek an allocation for Wireless Power Transfer for Electric Vehicles (WPT(EV)). Instead, it requests that studies identify which frequency ranges might be used with the least chance of causing harmful interference to radio services.

The Conference accepted the proposed frequency ranges, 19 – 25 kHz for “high” power and 79 – 90 kHz for “medium” power, and also the wording in the proposal emphasizing the need to continue studies into the interference potential of this technology to radio services at and above their operating frequencies. Essentially, this outcome has met the Amateur community’s objectives.

Agenda for Future Conferences (WRC-23 and WRC-27)

In a welcome departure from the process followed in previous Conferences, a review of the proposals for the next Conference planned for 2023 and, in certain cases, the Conference following – tentatively scheduled for 2027 – has begun early and with extensive involvement of the Conference delegations.

CEPT logo: European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT)The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) in particular has followed carefully a proposal by the CEPT, the European association, to study the compatibility of the Amateur secondary allocation in 1240 to 1300 MHz with the receivers used with the Galileo RNSS (GPS) system. There has been at least one instance of such interference.

The Amateur community would much prefer that this interference case be dealt with using existing mitigation processes – as it has been – rather than four years of study over the appropriateness of the Amateur allocation. The verdict is still out on whether this viewpoint will prevail.

The IARU has also carefully watched a 2023 proposal for an Earth Exploration Satellite System (EESS) using space-based radars in 40 – 50 MHz. While there are references in the proposal for protection, we have concerns that the new radars adequately protect the work done by Amateurs in our adjacent 50 – 54 MHz six-metre band.

Finally, despite the exotic location of this Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, compared with the usual venue in Geneva, Switzerland it is worth mentioning that WRC’s are gruelling experiences for all the delegates including those who are here defending Amateur Radio. Time spent at the Conference Centre can routinely stretch to 8 to 12 hours a day and this has included Saturdays and Sundays. It is worth emphasizing, however, as I pointed out in my article “The Importance of Showing Up”, that Amateur Radio would probably not survive in its present form if dedicated Amateurs were not willing and able to participate in these processes.

And, while I will return to this at the conclusion of WRC-19, I would like to acknowledge that once again, as in all previous ITU Conferences, the Canadian Delegation has extended every courtesy and accommodation to me and to our work for Radio Amateurs, and for this Canadian Amateurs are truly blessed.

Canadian Amateurs make this possible through the Defence of Amateur Radio Fund (DARF) so as to be able to cover the transportation and living expenses of our delegate at World Radiocommunication Conferences and at the Preparatory Meetings in Geneva in the intervening years. Try to think of this when you renew your RAC membership or when your club has some funds to spare.

Ma’a Salama from WRC-19 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

Bryan Rawlings, VE3QN
RAC Special Advisor