Yellowknife Amateur Radio Society

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada



Paul Coverdale, VE3ICV
RAC Special Advisor
Dubai – November 20 to December 15

The next World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-23) starts tomorrow. 

It will be held in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates from November 20 to December 15 and RAC Special Advisor Paul Coverdale, VE3ICV, will participate as a member of the Canadian Delegation.

World Radiocommunication Conferences, which take place every four years, are the venues for updating the rules (known as the Radio Regulations) governing all types of radiocommunications services on a worldwide basis. This includes the Amateur and Amateur Satellite Services.

In the past, World Radiocommunication Conference – and their predecessor World Administrative Radio Conferences (WARC) – have been beneficial to Amateurs in opening new spectrum such as the WARC bands and 60, 630 and 2200 metres. However, with the proliferation of commercial wireless services (especially 5G and 6G) there is increasing pressure on existing Amateur frequency allocations in the VHF, UHF and microwave regions. It is therefore important for the Amateur Radio community to participate in World Radiocommunication Conferences.

The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) provides a consolidated voice at World Radiocommunication Conferences and several other national Administrations include Amateurs in their delegations. Radio Amateurs of Canada works with the IARU and has participated in previous WRCs and the associated preparatory meetings for many years, under the auspices of our regulator Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED).

There are several Agenda Items related to Amateur Radio for WRC-23, but the one of most concern to the Amateur community is Agenda Item 9.1b:

“Review the amateur service and the amateur-satellite service allocations in the frequency band 1240-1300 MHz to determine if additional measures are required to ensure protection of the space-to-Earth segment of the Radio Navigation Satellite Service (RNSS) operating in the same band.”

The origin of this Agenda Item was an isolated case of interference in Germany several years ago from a high-power Amateur TV station. This case of interference was quickly dealt with by the German authorities.

The concern to Radio Amateurs is the possibility of unrealistic restrictions being applied to all Amateur operation in the 23cm Amateur band (a secondary allocation) due to the perceived potential for interference with a radionavigation-satellite service (RNSS) – a primary allocation.

The Amateur position has always been that any interference can be dealt with on a national basis – as it was in Germany – and doesn’t require any new Radio Regulations. Nevertheless, a new ITU-R Recommendation providing technical and operational requirements is being developed which is intended to assist Administrations and the Amateur and Amateur-Satellite Services to ensure the protection of the RNSS (space-to-Earth) in the frequency band 1240-1300 MHz.

These technical and operational requirements have been the subject of intense discussion over several meetings to try to reach a compromise between the Amateur and RNSS communities, which would allow Amateur operation in the 23-centimetre band to continue, albeit with some restrictions, while minimizing the possibility of any interference into RNSS systems.

Tentative agreements have been reached with respect to preferred specific frequency blocks and associated power levels for Amateur operation, but a key issue remains as to whether the technical and operational requirements should be seen as guidelines for use by Administrations if they feel it is necessary or be considered as mandatory for all Administrations to implement.

Stay tuned to the RAC website for updates during the conference. A complete report of the outcome of WRC-23 and its implications for the Amateur Radio and Amateur Satellite Services will be featured in a future edition of TCA.

WRC-23 –