On the afternoon of Tuesday, February 7 (Geneva time), Committee 4 of the 2012 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-12) approved Option 1 to satisfy Agenda Item 1.23, with minor editorial amendments to the text received from Working Group 4C. Option 1 calls for a worldwide secondary allocation to the Amateur Service at 472-479 kHz, with a power limit of 1 W EIRP, with a provision for administrations to permit up to 5 W EIRP for stations located more than 800 km from certain countries that wish to protect their aeronautical radionavigation service (non-directional beacons) from any possible interference. Option 2 was NOC (no change to the current rules).
In keeping with the rules of the Conference, Committee decisions must be read twice in Plenary session; the decision of the Conference is not final until after second reading in Plenary. According to ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, quite a few additional administrations — mainly in the former Soviet Union and Arab states — will be adding their country names to the Footnotes prior to consideration in Plenary.
Iran proposed that the 800 km distance be changed to 2000 km, and have this cited in a Footnote, but there was no support. Both CEPT and CITEL, along with the Netherlands, opposed this change. Colin Thomas, G3PSM, is the CEPT spokesman and ARRL Technical Relations Specialist Jonathan Siverling, WB3ERA, is the spokesman for CITEL.
Footnotes offer an administration (a country) to “opt out” of the decision of a WRC, creating an exception to the table of frequencies in the Radio Regulations. For example, a country may say that it will not use a certain service in a portion of the spectrum that has been designated for that service by the WRC. Therefore, a footnote is created in the Radio Regulations for that portion of the spectrum, indicating a designated use is not available in that country, even though it may be available in many other parts of the world.
“Another issue we have been following closely is the introduction of allocations for HF oceanographic radars, which is Agenda Item 1.15,” Sumner said. “It is now clear that there will be no impact on amateur allocations, including the 5 MHz channels we are allowed to use in the US”.
Agenda Item 1.15 deals with oceanographic radar. “One of the candidate bands for the placement of oceanographic radar is 5.250-5.275 MHz,” explained IARU Secretary Rod Stafford, W6ROD. “There have been a number of administrations that have granted amateurs access to spectrum around 5 MHz. In fact,one of the bands listed by IARU as a spectrum requirement for a future allocation is 5 MHz. If oceanographic radar is operating in the 5.250-5.275 MHz band, that may impact the ability of the amateurs to obtain an allocation in that area”.
One of the responsibilities of each WRC is to set the agenda for the next Conference; WRC-12 delegates will therefore set the agenda for WRC-15. “Proposals for agenda items for WRC-15 are still in a state of flux,” Sumner explained, “so there is as yet nothing concrete to report. The agenda item for an amateur allocation around 5300 kHz is still alive, but a positive outcome is by no means certain”.
VIA the ARRL Web site.