The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) represented the interests of the Amateur and Amateur-Satellite Services in Geneva at last month’s second Conference Preparatory Meeting (CPM) in advance of World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19) this fall. The February 18 – 28 gathering was aimed at reviewing and revising a 780-page Draft CPM Report containing initial WRC-19 negotiating positions for Amateur Radio-related agenda items, as well as nearly 200 documents proposing changes. Participants included two IARU representatives as well as seven others serving on national delegations and specifically tasked with representing Amateur Radio interests. Some two dozen volunteers also attended from more than a dozen countries engaged in WRC-19 preparation on behalf of Amateur Radio.
Although no blockbuster Amateur Radio-related matters are on the WRC agenda this time, several important items are under consideration. Delegates at WRC-15 approved an allocation of 5,351.5 – 5366.5 kHz to the Amateur Service on a secondary basis. Here’s what’s at stake this year.
Agenda Item 1.1, the primary Amateur Radio-related item, raises the possibility of improvements to 6 meters in ITU Region 1, where the international Radio Regulations include only allocations in a few African countries. Methods of addressing the agenda item outlined in the CPM Report range from a 4-MHz primary allocation shared with existing services to no change to somewhere between the two extremes. The WRC will only consider proposals offered by administrations or by regional telecommunications organizations. No impact on 6-meter allocations in Regions 2 and 3 is anticipated. “The meetings were challenging, because of strong opposition to a reasonably sized and primary allocation by a number of administrations and ITU members,” Beattie recounted in his report.
Agenda Item 1.13 is an effort to identify spectrum above 24.25 GHz that may be designated for International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT). Since 1979, the band 47 – 47.2 GHz has been allocated on a primary basis to the Amateur and Amateur-Satellite. No sharing studies of the 47 GHz band — normally a prerequisite to consideration of a new allocation — were conducted during the study period, but that did not prevent a belated effort by IMT interests to justify a mobile allocation and IMT designation. Even if the 47-GHz band escapes attention at WRC-19, it may very well turn up as an agenda item at WRC-23, “so we will need to be prepared to defend the band in the future,” IARU said in its CPM summary.
Agenda Item 1.16 covering radio local area network (RLAN) spectrum could impact the 5,650 – 5,850-MHz amateur band (5,650 – 5,925 in Region 2, the Americas). One proposed method overlaps the amateur allocation above 5,725 MHz, and if WRC-19 adopts this approach, then there may be issues for the Amateur Service.
Agenda Item 9.1.6 covers Wireless Power Transmission for Electric Vehicles (WPT–EV), a topic that has been gaining visibility recently. The IARU says it’s unlikely that changes will be made to the ITU Radio Regulations at WRC-19, but Beattie, who submitted a technical paperhe drafted to the IARU-R1 Interim Meeting set for late April, said that doesn’t remove the threat to the Amateur Service. IARU said it’s more likely that the focus of Amateur Service efforts will need to move to Regional Telecommunications Organizations (RTOs) and to standards organizations such as CISPR (International Special Committee on Radio Interference), which sets emission limits.
The IARU says that certain other agenda items have “some potential” to impact Amateur Radio but are less likely to pose serious difficulty. The IARU pledged to carefully monitor proposed agenda items for WRC-23 that could create significant future challenges.