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2023 News Releases




WRC 23 Update

Date : 22 / 05 / 2023
Author : Dale Hughes VK1DSH

Dale does Dallas;

The further adventures of an ITU-R Working Group Chair

21 May 2023, Dallas Texas

International travel isn’t for the faint hearted, I’ve been stuck in Dallas and I even ended up being a short-term illegal immigrant in Mexico; there’s been severe storms and volcanos which have closed airports, but all of that is another story...

These adventures came about because I had the dubious pleasure of attending the recent meeting of ITU-R Working Party 5A (WP5A) Link which was held in Merida, Mexico between May 9 and 18.

My reason for being there was to chair the meetings of Working Group 5A-1 (WG5A-1) which covers “Amateur and amateur-satellite services”. The main work during this meeting was to make progress on WRC-23 agenda item 9.1b which is a review of the 1240 – 1300 MHz frequency band following a small number of interference cases from amateur transmitters to Galileo radio-navigation receivers in Europe. The scope of the agenda item is to “… to study possible technical and operational measures to ensure the protection of RNSS (space-to-Earth) receivers from the amateur and amateur-satellite services in the frequency band 1 240-1 300 MHz, without considering the removal of these amateur and amateur-satellite service allocations …” (See WRC-19 Resolution 774 Link).

Unusually, I was the sole member of the Australian delegation attending the WP5A meeting, along with about 90 other people there in person and a similar number attending via the Zoom platform. Merida is in the Yucatan State of Mexico and the Mexican administration graciously hosted the meeting. The venue and facilities were fine and everything worked well, no doubt helped by the large diesel generator parked outside to ensure we had no power interruptions.

WG5A-1 held 13 meetings and made good progress on work towards its responsibility to address agenda item 9.1b prior to WRC-23 which will be held in November this year. The meetings and negotiations are becoming much more difficult and complicated as we move towards the conclusion of the work in WG5A-1 and it’s becoming apparent there may difficulties in meeting our objectives because of the recent involvement of the Russian Federation in our work. Had it not been for the interventions of the Russian Federation we may have completed our work this meeting, with only some finessing required for the final meeting later this year. However, we now have a much more complex situation to contend with, and it’s unclear what the agenda of the Russian Federation is in this matter. (Russia operates the GLONAS radio-navigation-satellite service system in the 1240 – 1260 MHz frequency band and there have been no reported cases of interference to their system.)

As it stands, we have tentative agreement from the administrations who represent the operators of the other radionavigation-satellite systems in the 1240 – 1300 MHz band on the measures that national administrations may employ to ensure coexistence between the amateur services and the radionavigation-satellite service. A key aspect has been the acceptance of a 1296 – 1300 MHz band segment at reasonable power levels for narrowband amateur applications, including EME operation. This is a positive development and the various amateur representatives at the meeting fought hard to make it happen. The remaining tasks are to try to get agreement on a midband segment of about 4 MHz for both narrowband and broadband applications around 1255 MHZ and settle on an amateur-satellite uplink segment of 2 MHz in the 1260 - 1270 MHz band. The expectation is that operation outside of these “preferred” frequency bands will be severely restricted.

These agreed “technical and operational measures” will be part of an ITU-R Recommendation that will provide guidance to national administration who may wish to implement the measures as part of their licensing conditions for amateur operators. While it is unfortunate that we have deal with such issues, the most important outcome is that we retain some access to the 23 cm band at reasonable power levels and the aim of work in ITU-R has been to achieve this. It’s very tricky because the amateur services are the secondary in the1240 – 1300 MHz band so some sacrifices may be necessary for continued access to the band. Despite the travel difficulties, it’s been apparent that face-to-face contact with our opponents outside of the usual Geneva environment has been beneficial because we have all been forced to live together for a period of time and this has meant that some more personal relationships have developed along with a better understanding of other point of view (except for the Russian Federation…).

All my expenses have been covered by the IARU International Secretariat and I thank my employer and Wife for their understanding in accepting an unexpectedly extended time away from home. I also thank the other amateur delegates for their work in their respective national WRC preparatory processes; it’s been a team effort.

Dale Hughes VK1DSH

Page Last Updated: Monday, 22 May 2023 at 12:03 hours by Peter Clee


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