Saturday, November 17, 2007

WRC-07 Wraps Up in Geneva

Courtesy of ARRL Newsletter Vol. 26 No. 46 (Nov 16, 2007)

The final working session of the 2007 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-07) in Geneva drew to a close Thursday afternoon, November 15. The signing ceremony for the Final Acts will take place Friday. According to International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) Secretary David Sumner, K1ZZ, the principal achievements and disappointments, as they relate to the Amateur Services, of the conference are:

* Maintenance all existing amateur allocations, including the 7.200-7.300 MHz allocation in ITU Region 2 (the Americas) that had been somewhat at risk in connection with consideration of additional allocations for HF broadcasting (see below).

* A new worldwide secondary allocation at 135.7-137.8 kHz with a maximum radiated power limit of 1 W e.i.r.p. (given the low efficiency of practical antennas for this frequency range, this limit is not as severe as it may sound).

* Inclusion of an item, "to consider an allocation of about 15 kHz in parts of the band 415-526.5 kHz to the Amateur Service on a secondary basis, taking into account the need to protect existing services" on the provisional agenda for WRC-11 (set for 2011).

* Avoidance of future agenda items that pose serious threats to key amateur allocations.

* Some improvement in the so-called "country footnotes" that provide for different allocations by country in all or part of the 1.8, 3.5, 50 and 430 MHz amateur bands.

* No new allocation for the Amateur Service in the vicinity of 5 MHz, and no agenda item to consider such an allocation at a future conference.

* No future agenda item to consider an amateur allocation at 50 MHz in ITU Region 1 (Europe, the former Soviet Union, Mongolia, Africa and parts of the Middle East).

The amateur issues were of course a minor part of the WRC-07 agenda, but the Amateur Service was involved in one of the most contentious agenda items dealing with allocations between 4 and 10 MHz. A series of European Common Proposals had proposed changes to allow for an increase of 350 kHz in HF broadcasting allocations, with a footnote for administrations to allow the Amateur Service to use 5.260-5.410 MHz on a secondary basis and with a radiated power limit of 250 W; however, HF broadcasting had no support from the other regional organizations and no compromise acceptable to all parties could be found. Ultimately the European administrations had to accept "no change" for broadcasting, effectively scuttling our chances for a 5 MHz allocation.

The IARU had hoped that if an allocation could not be achieved at WRC-07, an appropriate agenda item could be included for WRC-11. The 2007 conference, however, had little interest in taking up HF issues at the next conference, tentatively set for 2011, having little to show for a great deal of effort expended on HF in preparing for WRC-07. The only HF issues on the provisional WRC-11 agenda have to do with oceanographic radar applications and the implementation of new digital technologies for the maritime mobile service.

The International Telecommunication Union's planning for the next World Radiocommunication Conference begins on Monday in Geneva, with the convening of a two-day Conference Preparatory Meeting for WRC-11. Paul Rinaldo, W4RI, will attend on behalf of the IARU.