The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) is a federation of national associations of certified radio amateurs, representing over 150 countries and separate territories around the world.

The three IARU Regions are organised to broadly mirror the structure of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and its related regional telecommunications organisations. The Regions comprise:
- IARU Region 1: Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Northern Asia
- IARU Region 2: The Americas
- IARU Region 3: Asia-Pacific

The IARU represents the interests of the Amateur Radio Service worldwide to relevant international organisations, promoting the interests of amateur radio and seeking to protect and enhance its spectrum privileges.

WRC07 update

WRC-07 Week 3: HF Broadcasting Empty-Handed, No 5-MHz Amateur Allocation

As the International Telecommunication Union’s 2007 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-07) in Geneva headed toward its fourth and final week, the proponents of additional allocations to HF Broadcasting conceded defeat and accepted that there will be no additional allocations made to HFBC at this conference. The slim possibility of a 5-MHz allocation to the amateur service also evaporated late Friday evening.

HFBC has been a contentious issue at ITU conferences for decades. At WRC-07, additional HFBC allocations between 4 and 10 MHz were supported by 25 European administrations and a few outside Europe but were strongly opposed by every other regional organization. Opposition to additional HFBC allocations was based mainly on a desire to protect military and other government fixed and mobile communications, although some of the administrations that were the most outspoken opponents of HFBC expansion authorize HFBC stations under their jurisdiction to operate out-of-band in the fixed and mobile allocations. Some HFBC proponents predict that the unsatisfactory outcome of the conference on this issue will lead to even more out-of-band broadcasting.

A footnote specifically authorizing administrations to allow amateur stations to use spot frequencies in the 5-MHz range was considered Friday evening at the Sub Working Group level as one of the last items of business concerning the 4-10 MHz range. The footnote failed to attract sufficient support and was withdrawn from consideration by its sponsor, the European regional organization (CEPT). This has no effect on the administrations that have authorized amateur operations under the no-interference provisions of Radio Regulation 4.4.

 

(L to R ) Tim Ellam, VE6SH, Ken Pulfer, VE3PU and Dave Sumner, K1ZZ at WRC 07

On a more positive note for radio amateurs, a secondary allocation of 135.7-137.8 kHz to the amateur service was approved on first reading in Plenary on Friday afternoon, November 9. This marks the first time since allocations to radio services began that the amateur service has had an allocation below the medium wave broadcasting band. The effective date is not yet set but is likely to be the date of entry into force of the Final Acts of the Conference. Of course, amateurs must wait until their own administrations authorize the new allocation before they can use it. Some administrations, while not wishing to block the international allocation, have indicated a reluctance to implement it in their countries because of various interference concerns.

 

The process of identifying possible frequency bands for future international mobile telecommunications (cell phones and beyond) is very contentious. One frequency range being examined is 2.3-2.4 GHz, which of course is of concern to us although there is no immediate cause for alarm.

 

Prior to every WRC we look for opportunities to clean up so-called “country footnotes” that allow individual administrations to depart from the regional or international allocations that are in the body of the Table of Frequency Allocations. It is gratifying that several countries have agreed to remove themselves from footnotes that apply to parts of 160 and 80 meters, 6 meters, and (in some European countries) parts of 70 cm.

Work continues on the agenda for future WRCs, tentatively scheduled for 2011 and 2015. There are many more proposals for agenda items for the next conference than can be accommodated, so only those with broad support are likely to be included. Committee work on the future agendas is scheduled for completion early next week.

Members of the core team of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) continue to attend the relevant meetings and work the halls on behalf of the amateur and amateur-satellite services. Support from numerous members of national delegations remains a vital component of this effort.

On Tuesday evening, November 6 the International Amateur Radio Club, 4U1ITU, held a dinner with a new amateur licensee, ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré, HB9EHT as the guest of honor. There were 43 members and guests present, including WRC-07 delegates from more than a dozen countries -- several heads and deputy heads of delegation among them. The club station is active on the air under the special call sign 4U1WRC.

 

The amateur services have been quite visible at the conference in other ways:

  • The special WRC-07 issue of ITU News includes an article under Larry Price’s byline setting out amateur radio’s aspirations for the conference.
  • An amateur radio emergency communications trailer brought from Germany was on display during the first ten days of the conference, parked strategically on the walkway between the conference center and the adjacent ITU building. A full-color explanation of amateur radio’s emergency communications capabilities and an invitation to visit the trailer was distributed in the delegates’ pigeonholes by the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau, as well as some additional information about the amateur services, resulting in a steady stream of visitors.
  • The IARU WRC-07 pin is a popular collectible and is being displayed on many lapels and lanyards around the conference center.
  • The IARU hosted a very successful reception for 200 key delegates on the evening of 31 October in the ITU cafeteria.
  • The International Amateur Radio Club (IARC) station, 4U1ITU, is operating under the special call sign 4U1WRC. The station is sporting new antennas that were erected especially for the conference; afterwards they have to be removed temporarily to make way for repairs to the roof of the building.
  • The IARC has invited delegates to take part, on the last Sunday of the conference, in an excursion to the Swiss National Museum of Sound and Image in Montreux.

The initial core IARU team consisted of Larry Price, W4RA, Ken Pulfer, VE3PU, Reinaldo Leandro, YV5AMH, and Paul Rinaldo, W4RI. Hans Zimmermann, HB9AQS was here to help out with the German trailer. Dave Sumner, K1ZZ arrived on October 24 and Tim Ellam, VE6SH arrived on October 30. Some team members will be leaving before the end of the conference.

 

We also have considerable help from amateur representatives on other national delegations and from Tafa Diop, 6W1KI, who is here for the first half of the conference representing the African Telecommunications Union. National delegates, a few of whom are here part-time, include:

Jim Dean, VE3IQ (Canada)

Ole Garpestad, LA2RR (Norway)

Hans Blondeel Timmerman, PB2T (Netherlands)

Jay Oka, JA1TRC (Japan)

Peter Lake, ZL2AZ (New Zealand)

Keith Malcolm, VK1ZKM (Australia)

Colin Thomas, G3PSM (UK)

Walt Ireland, WB7CSL (USA)

Jonathan Siverling, WB3ERA (USA)

Joong-geun Rhee, HL1AQQ (Rep. of Korea)

 

Other members of national delegations both licensed and unlicensed, are being of considerable assistance; their support and cooperation is deeply appreciated.