The IARU member-societies have voted to admit two new members for Kyrgyzstan and Bahrain. The Amateur Radio Union of the Kyrgyz Republic (ARUKR) was founded in 1993; more information is available at www.qrzex.com. The Bahrain Amateur Radio Society (BARS) was organized in 2020 and replaces a previous association that no longer exists. Congratulations to the officers and members of our newest member-societies!
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has drawn special attention to World Amateur Radio Day on its web page:
Andrew J. Wolfram, KI7RYC, has donated the hamradio.org domain to the International Amateur Radio Union for non-profit educational use to promote the amateur and amateur-satellite services.
In accepting the gift IARU President Tim Ellam, VE6SH, said: “The hamradio.org domain offers a unique opportunity for which we are deeply grateful to Andrew. It is our intention to develop a website that can serve as a focal point for anyone, anywhere, who may be seeking information on amateur radio, which is better known as ‘ham radio’ by the general public.”
The IARU is the global federation of national amateur radio organizations with member-societies in more than 160 countries and separate territories. Since its founding in 1925 the IARU has successfully defended and expanded access to the radio spectrum by licensed radio amateurs internationally.
The Administrative Council (AC) of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) held its annual meeting on 8–10 October 2020. The AC is responsible for the policy and management of the IARU and consists of the three IARU international officers and two representatives from each of the three IARU regional organizations.
Originally planned to take place in Novi Sad, Serbia, just before the IARU Region 1 Conference in that city, both the AC meeting and the conference had to be held virtually owing to covid-19 travel restrictions. The virtual meeting format had the benefit of allowing participation by additional observers from the regional organizations and real-time presentations of reports to the AC from the specialized IARU coordinators and advisors.
Recently appointed EMC Coordinator Dr. Martin Sach, G8KDF, reported on what is being done on behalf of the IARU in CISPR, the International Special Committee on Radio Interference. Martin and his predecessor, Tore Worren, LA9QL, continue to work together to address the need for reasonable standards to limit the increasing threat of radio spectrum pollution from proliferating digital devices and wireless power transmission.
IARU Beacon Project Coordinator Peter Jennings, AB6WM/VE3SUN, reported on the status of the HF time-shared beacon network that is supported by the Northern California DX Foundation and the IARU. He explained recent and planned upgrades and the many applications and uses being made of the network.
Satellite Advisor Hans Blondeel Timmerman, PB2T, described the work of the Satellite Frequency Coordination Panel. Steps are being taken to address the growing number of non-amateur satellites using amateur-satellite spectrum.
Special Advisor for Emergency Communications Rod Stafford, W6ROD, explained his work representing the IARU in the ITU Development Sector (ITU‑D), particularly with regard to disaster communications, and preparations for the World Telecommunication Development Conference scheduled for November 2021. He highlighted an opportunity to promote amateur radio in ITU‑D as a training platform for youth.
Preparations are already underway for the next World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), currently expected to be held in 2023. A team of some 20 IARU volunteers from all continents led by IARU Vice President Ole Garpestad, LA2RR, is engaged in the preparatory processes of the ITU and the regional telecommunications organizations (RTOs). The AC reviewed a draft of preliminary IARU positions on the WRC-23 agenda items of concern to the amateur and amateur-satellite services. The Action Plan for the remainder of 2020 and 2021 was reviewed; it will be subject to continual adjustment in response to the continuing impact of the pandemic on international travel.
In 2019 a committee was formed to address the growing pressure on amateur spectrum allocations, particularly the secondary allocations, at 144 MHz and above. The committee reported on its work to date in defining present and future spectrum requirements. Additional information will be sought from the amateur community on how this spectrum is being utilized.
The AC received and discussed an in-depth report from its Working Group on the Future of IARU and agreed to steps for evolving toward a more flexible organization and strengthened relationships with all stakeholders in the global amateur radio community and telecommunications ecosystem.
An application for IARU membership from the Amateur Radio Union of the Kyrgyz Republic was received and will be submitted to the member-societies for approval.
Noting the many ways that the global amateur radio community has responded positively to the challenges posed by the pandemic, the AC agreed to develop a related theme for World Amateur Radio Day, 18 April 2021.
AC members attending the meeting were IARU President Tim Ellam, VE6SH/G4HUA; Vice President Ole Garpestad, LA2RR; Secretary David Sumner, K1ZZ; regional representatives Don Beattie, G3BJ, Hans Blondeel Timmerman, PB2T, Ramón Santoyo, XE1KK, George Gorsline, VE3YV, Wisnu Widjaja, YB0AZ, and Ken Yamamoto, JA1CJP. Participating as observers were regional executive committee members Sylvain Azarian, F4GKR, Mats Espling, SM6EAN, Jose Arturo Molina, YS1MS, Jay Bellows, K0QB, and Peter Young, VK3MV, and IARU Assistant Secretary Joel Harrison, W5ZN.
Additional virtual meetings of the AC will be scheduled in the coming months. It is hoped that an in-person meeting can be held in October 2021.
Because frequency allocations and amateur radio operating interests vary in different parts of the world, the development of band plans – voluntary guidelines on the use of the spectrum that is available to radio amateurs – is a responsibility of the three IARU regional organizations. Each of the three Regions has a band planning committee to focus on this work. In recent years there have been increased efforts to bring the regional band plans into alignment wherever possible. Final approval of band plan revisions is generally given by the regional conferences of IARU member-societies that are held every three years on a rotating basis.
This approach to band planning generally has kept pace with the evolution of amateur radio operating. However, the explosive growth in HF (below 30 MHz) digital modes, particularly FT8, has led to perceived overcrowding of HF digital mode band segments. Accordingly, a working group has been formed consisting of representatives of the three regional band planning committees. This is the first time the three Regions have joined together to directly coordinate band planning efforts.
The working group has already had fruitful discussions with the WSJT Development Group led by Joe Taylor, K1JT. Additional discussions, including with other HF stakeholders, will be held as part of a fundamental review of the different HF digital modes, and how they can be best categorized and arranged to share the limited spectrum available.
The main aim is to develop solutions that reduce congestion within very popular mode segments while preventing mutual interference between incompatible modes to the greatest extent possible. While the proposed band plan revisions will have to be approved by member-societies in each Region, recent administrative changes mean that the changes can be implemented without having to wait for the regional conferences.
Amateurs are encouraged to follow progress through their IARU member-society and the respective IARU websites, all of which can be reached via www.iaru.org.