RAC Bulletin 2012-010E – Good News from WRC12 – A New Band.
At its Plenary meeting held 14 February 2012 in Geneva the World Radiocommunication Conference approved a new secondary frequency allocation to the Amateur Radio Service at 472 to 479 kHz. Having passed First and Second Readings it is normally a formality that this change be included in the WRC-12 Final Acts when the Conference concludes February 17th. The Table of Frequency Allocations would then be amended accordingly.
The new band at 600 metres will represent the return of amateurs to the medium waves – an area of spectrum we have not had access to since the earliest days of radio regulation.
As a secondary user, amateur radio shares 472 – 479 kHz with the Maritime Mobile Service who are the primary user in all three ITU Regions and with the Aeronautical Radionavigation Service who are a Secondary user except as noted in the following.
The new allocation to the amateur service is accompanied by several footnotes including, i) a number of countries will identify their intent to elevate the status of their Aeronautical Radionavigation Service to Primary as a step in ensuring protection from secondary users, and ii) the power which radio amateurs may use in 472 to 479 kHz will be limited to 5 watts (e.i.r.p.) except for amateur stations within 800 km of the borders of a number of countries – principally Russia, many of the former Soviet bloc and the Arab states. For those affected amateurs the limit will be 1 watt.
It is, of course, up to individual administrations to authorize use of the band by their amateurs. In the case of Canada, it seems certain that such authorization will be forthcoming; however, the process which has to be followed may take some time.
Canadian radio amateurs have played a central role in arriving at this successful outcome. The documents submitted through the ITU in support of this allocation were largely authored by Canadian amateurs – as was the important work done in assessing the efficiency of the antennas radio amateurs would likely use. Canadian amateurs have been present at ITU meetings in Geneva since 2009 to advance the cause of this allocation. Our regulator, Industry Canada, has been outstanding in their support of our work and in ensuring today’s success. Finally, our colleagues in the IARU, ARRL, RSGB, and DARC have all played major roles.
Bryan Rawlins, VE3QN
Amateur Representative on the WRC12 Canadian Delegation
Vernon Ikeda – VE2MBS/VE2QQ
RAC Blog Editor/RAC E-News/Web News Bulletin Editor