The International Telecommunication Union’s World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) began November 20 and continues through December 15, 2023 in Dubai, U.A.E, for the purpose of reviewing spectrum matters related to the International Radio Regulations. WRC’s are held every three to four years and includes the Amateur and Amateur Satellite Service allocations.
The agenda of items to be reviewed for this WRC was established at the completion of the last conference in 2019. Of primary importance to the Amateur and Amateur Satellite Services is Agenda Item 9.1 topic b to address the amateur services use of the 23cm band and the co-frequency use by several radio navigation satellite service (RNSS) systems in the 1240 – 1300 MHz band.
IARU’s work began four years ago with preparatory study in ITU‑R to address this agenda item and has finally drawn to a close. Our concerted engagement in the ITU‑R working parties, study groups and WRC preparatory meetings ensured that the amateur services were properly represented during the development of two published ITU‑R reports, M.2513 and M.2532. These were followed by an ITU‑R Recommendation, M.2164, that formed the basis for the discussions at WRC-23.
During the WRC-23 deliberations, strong positions were expressed by all the parties involved. The result is a well-supported compromise for a footnote in the Radio Regulations regarding amateur and amateur satellite service operation in the 1240–1300 MHz range. The footnote reminds administrations and amateurs of the need to protect the primary RNSS from interference and provides guidance to administrations to allow both services to continue to operate in this portion of the spectrum. The compromise was formally adopted by the Conference Plenary on December 8 and is not subject to further consideration during the final week of the WRC. The IARU team continues its work on other WRC issues including the development of agendas for future conferences.
IARU President Tim Ellam, VE6SH, noted “This is a very good result for the amateur services. The decision reached at WRC-23 on this agenda item makes no change to the table of allocations nor incorporates by reference M.2164 into the Radio Regulations. The addition of a footnote that provides guidance to administrations in the event of interference to the RNSS is a good regulatory outcome for amateurs and the primary users of this band.”
The WRC also agreed to suppress the Resolution 774 which closes the issue and satisfies the agenda item.
IARU President Tim Ellam, VE6SH, thanks Barry Lewis, G4SJH, for his success in leading IARU’s work on AI 9.1b. Looking on is (l‑r) WRC23 SWG4B7 Chair Dale Hughes, VK1DSH, IARU Vice President Ole Garpestad, LA2RR, Tim Ellam, VE6SH, Barry Lewis, G4SJH, and IARU Secretary Joel Harrison, W5ZN