WRC-19 Update: Small Satellites and the 1240-1300 MHz band
WRC-19 entered its final week with effort aimed at pinning down the remaining difficult items, including the future agenda for WRC-23 and WRC-27; and preparing for its final plenary sessions to approve the results of various agenda items, including 50 MHz.
AI-1.7 Small Satellites: This surprisingly difficult issue was the first to reach a compromise. Ofcom had the role of CEPT coordinator for WRC-19 and put in a great effort towards resolving it. Based on a package of conditions, administrations agreed to low power/bandwidth downlinks in 137.025-138 MHz and a fair degree of flexibility for uplinks within the 148-149.9 MHz range. The results should enable more overtly commercial small satellites to be kept out of amateur satellite service allocations.
AI-10 Future Agenda: With little time left, sessions on Monday ran till midnight and then most of Tuesday thru to 3am on Wednesday morning – and even that didn’t resolve it all! A large number of proposals fought for support or tried to dodge objection on particular frequency bands etc.
From an amateur radio point of view the key item in this tortuous discussion was a WRC-23 proposal for a global review all amateur and amateur satellite activity in the 1240-1300 MHz band to protect RNSS receivers (notably Galileo-E6, but there are also Russian, Chinese and Japanese systems). Fortunately not all administrations or Regional Telecomms Organisations were convinced by the scale of the issue, or whether it should be a WRC priority compared to other topics.
Eventually France who had been the lead advocate for CEPT and the EU Commission (who are present as observers at WRC) reluctantly accepted a compromise at nearly 2am of a less onerous studies (rather than explicitly regulatory) agenda item. This is likely to lead to a ITU report or recommendations on technical and operational measures for 23cm amateur radio. This is more in line with the current internal CEPT studies that IARU is already supporting.
Other results for the AI-10 process saw the WRC-23 proposal for satellite-borne sounders in 40-50 MHz being fortunately made a secondary status one, and new concerns regarding further IMT (mobile broadband) identifications in the 3.3 and 10 GHz microwave bands (mainly in other regions). One side effect of the large number of proposals other inputs was that there will be a record number of deferred items which will now become preliminary proposals for WRC-27. A lesson from the process indicates how difficult it may be in future to achieve any upgrade to other amateur allocations.
AI-10: Midnight survival rations – kindly donated by Bryan Rawlings VE3QN
And Also: AI-1.13 5G Mobile (IMT-2020) and AI-1.16 5GHz Wi-Fi continued to run to the wire despite the final plenary sessions starting. The first announcement from the plenary process was that:
This year’s conference is officially the largest-ever WRC,
with 3,300 delegates attending.