IARU Aligns Satellite Coordination Guidelines with ITU WRC-15 Decisions

As the global federation of national associations of radio amateurs in more than 150 countries, the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) for many years has provided frequency coordination services for amateur satellites free of charge.

Often these satellites are constructed by students at universities and other institutions as a part of their educational experience. In general, they have been licensed to operate in the amateur-satellite service, which is defined by the Radio Regulations of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) as having the “…purpose of self-training, intercommunication and technical investigations carried out by amateurs, that is, by duly authorized persons interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest.”

Some administrations have issued experimental licenses for such satellites operating in amateur-satellite frequency bands. The IARU has coordinated these satellites as well, to reduce the possibility of harmful interference that might result from uncoordinated operation. Since 1 July 2014 it has not been possible to coordinate experimental satellites in the 144-146 MHz band because of the high probability of harmful interference in this heavily used band.

Educational satellite projects have grown in popularity as launch opportunities have increased. In 2012 the ITU World Radiocommunication Conference took note of the proliferation of what in Resolution 757 (WRC-12) it called “nanosatellites and picosatellites” and invited WRC-18 (now scheduled for 2019) to consider steps to facilitate their deployment and operation. Two Reports, ITU-R SA.2312 (09/2014) and ITU-R SA.2348 (05/2015), are instructive regarding the characteristics, definitions, spectrum requirements, and notification procedures of and for such satellites, which generally must use spectrum below 1 GHz for operational reasons.

At the following WRC in 2015, in place of Resolution 757 the Member States of the ITU adopted Resolution 659 (WRC-15) in which it was noted that the use of 144-146 MHz and 435-438 MHz by non-amateur satellites is not in accordance with the definition of the amateur-satellite service in the Radio Regulations. Resolution 659 cites the two reports mentioned above and makes it clear that the spectrum needs of what are now called “non-geostationary satellites with short duration missions” should be met either within the service in which the space station is operating or within the space operation service. Further, if new or upgraded allocations to the space operation service are required, studies should be limited to the frequency ranges 150.05-174 MHz and 400.15-420 MHz.

Accordingly, effective 1 August 2017 the IARU will be following revised guidelines for satellite frequency coordination.

The strong preference is for all satellites using spectrum allocated to the amateur and amateur-satellite services to operate under amateur licenses and within the definition of the amateur-satellite service and the service-specific Article 25 of the Radio Regulations. The IARU believes the definition is sufficiently broad to encompass nearly all educational satellite projects that include giving students hands-on experience with radiocommunication and are conducted under an amateur license.

The IARU will only coordinate a non-amateur satellite if an administration directs in writing that it be operated in an amateur-satellite band under an experimental or other non-amateur license.

Satellites with combined amateur and non-amateur missions will continue to be coordinated.

IARU Satellite Frequency Coordination http://www.iaru.org/satellite.html

IARU Satellite Coordination Status pages http://www.amsat.org.uk/iaru/

IARU issue Amateur-Satellite Service spectrum requirements

IARU_LogoThe IARU has released a revised edition of Spectrum Requirements for the Amateur and Amateur-Satellite Services.

The document mentions the need for the expansion of the 20m band from 14000-14350 kHz to 14000-14400 kHz which was the spectrum originally allocated to amateurs at the 1927 Washington Conference. No expansion to the 14 MHz Amateur-Satellite allocation is planned.

The IARU seeks expansion to 250 kHz of the Amateur-Satellite Service allocations at both 18 and 24 MHz.

A harmonized allocation for the Amateur-Satellite Service is sought at 50-54 MHz, to bridge the gap between 28 MHz and 144 MHz but it should be noted the IARU plans for a harmonized 50 MHz band at WRC-18 are for the Amateur Service only not Amateur Satellites.

The document notes that because of the crowding of the existing band 435-438 MHz with uncrewed amateur satellites and crewed space stations, it is desirable to study expansion of the band. This is exactly what the IARU were saying over 8 years ago, as yet they do not appear to have actually studied band expansion. See the 2008 IARU Spectrum Requirements document.

Regarding the existing 1260-1270 MHz Amateur-Satellite Service allocation the IARU say they seek the deletion of the “Earth-to-space only” restriction. They note that WRC-2000 allocated the band 1240-1300 MHz to the radiodetermination-satellite service for space-to-space use. In addition, WRC-2000 allocated the band 1260-1300 MHz to the radiodetermination-satellite service for space-to-Earth use such as for the European Galileo positioning system. These actions do not change the Amateur and Amateur-Satellite Service allocations but present new sharing situations and potential operating restrictions.

Due to the high level of interference from license exempt devices substitute spectrum for the Amateur-Satellite Service 2400-2450 MHz allocation is sought.

It seems the IARU no longer any intends to seek a global Amateur-Satellite Service allocation at 3400-3410 MHz.

There are no plans to improve the status of Amateur-Satellite allocations at 5 or 10 GHz.

Download the Spectrum Requirements document from
http://www.iaru.org/spectrum-requirements.html

Download the Summary Record of the IARU Administrative Council meeting held in Viña del Mar, Chile, October 7-8, 2016 http://www.iaru.org/administrative-council-meetings.html

IARU-R1: Global APRS Harmonisation and Satellite Coordination

IARU_Region_1_logoThe IARU Region 1 Interim Meeting was held April 15-17, 2016 in Vienna. Minutes for the C5 VHF/UHF/Microwave committee are now available.

Some 70 delegates from over 20 Member Societies discussed a wide range of issues in the VHF/UHF/Microwave, HF and EMC Committees. Recommendations from the meeting will be considered by the Region 1 Executive Committee at its meeting in early May 2016. If approved by the EC, these recommendations will become interim Region 1 policy until the next General Conference in 2017, at which time all Societies present will have the opportunity to ratify the proposals.

Among the key items in the minutes are:

4.1. Report of satellite coordinator C5_04
Graham Shirville G3VZV presented the report of satellite coordinator. G3VZV emphasized that the frequency coordination between the three Regions has to be improved for avoiding interference incidents like PC-Sat and some of the XW2 satellites.

Due to current reports from MS about some observations of harmful interference, RSGB is asked to prepare a statement for publishing to inform MS and members how to take care.

C5 chairman is asked to bring up the issue on EC meeting, because further AC action is required.

5.2. Band Planning 5 GHz: C5_10
VIE16_C5_Rec_06: To correct the satellite segment the table in chapter 4.9 by deleting “5790”, inserting “5830” and adding the footnote: “Any wideband system shall protect narrowband applications”.

6.1. General matters: C5_26
VIE16_C5_Rec_11A: To discuss an even more extended [Grid Square] locator system that is used for ATV (including IARU ATV contest) and for other purposes by using the Wiki and prepares a document for GC 2017 if necessary. (Note this will clarify the definition of 10 digit [character] locators used for microwaves etc see example at http://no.nonsense.ee/qth/map.html )

7.2. APRS Harmonisation: C5_41
VIE16_C5_Rec_23: The C5 chairman to answer Regions 2 and 3 that:
• 144.390 MHz is not suitable for Region 1 and that Region-3 should consider 144.800
• To consider an additional 144 MHz frequency (that might be compatible) with Region 2 and 3
• To also consider 435 MHz usage and newer APRS technologies (for the 2017 GC)

Download the C5 VHF/UHF/Microwave Vienna 2016 Minutes
http://tinyurl.com/IARU-R1-Vienna-2016-C5-Minutes

The input papers are available as a matter of record:

HF Papers http://www.iaru-r1.org/index.php/documents/Documents/HF/Interim-Meeting-2016-HF-Committee-C4-v4.zip/

VHF/UHF/Microwave papers http://www.iaru-r1.org/index.php/documents/Documents/VHF/C5-papers-v3.zip/

EMC Papers http://www.iaru-r1.org/index.php/documents/Documents/EMC/C7v3.zip/

IARU Paper: APRS Harmonization and removal of OSCAR sub-band

IARU_Region_1_logoIARU Region 1 has released the papers for the Interim Meeting to be held in Vienna April 15-17, 2016.

Among the papers for the C5 VHF/UHF/Microwave Committee is one on harmonizing APRS.

VIE16_C5_41_1.pdf – 144 /435 MHz APRS Harmonisation

The paper covers global band planning considerations and among the recommendations says:

Emphasise that spaceborne APRS must be confined to globally coordinated amateur satellite sub bands. Therefore items that are ambiguous and generate confusion in national band plans such as ‘Space communications’ and ‘New Oscar Sub band’ should be removed as soon as possible in all Regions in accordance with IARU-AC and Satellite Coordination guidance

It is believed that ‘New Oscar Sub band’ refers to the USA’s ARRL 144 MHz band plan and ‘Space communications’  to the Australian WIA 144 MHz band plan. These band plans, as well as those for some other countries, show 144.300 – 144.500 MHz as being for Amateur Satellite use.

Direct link for C5 VHF/UHF/Microwave Papers
http://www.iaru-r1.org/index.php/documents/Documents/VHF/C5-papers-v2.zip/

Links for all committee papers and email addresses of Committee Chairs are at
http://www.iaru-r1.org/index.php/88-news/1518-interim-meeting-vienna-2017
[Although URL says 2017 the meeting is 2016]

ARRL 144 MHz Band Plan http://www.arrl.org/band-plan

WIA 144 MHz Band Plan http://www.wia.org.au/members/bandplans/data/documents/Australian%20Band%20Plan%202m%20150729.pdf

IARU at WRC-15

IARU WRC-15 team inside CICG

IARU WRC-15 team inside CICG

With WRC-15 entering the 4th and final week the opportunity was taken to get most of the group together for a photograph.

Taken inside the main CICG meeting room, sitting from left to right is Bryan Rawlings VE3QN (Canada), IARU Region 3 Secretary Ken Yamamoto JA1CJP (JARL), Hans Blondeel Timmerman PB2T (Netherlands), Colin Thomas G3PSM (UK).

Standing from left to right is IARU Vice-President Ole Garpestad LA2RR (Norway), IARU Region 2 President Reinaldo Leandro YV5AM, Ulrich Muller DK4VW (DARC), ARRL Chief Technology Officer Brennan Price N4QX (USA) and IARU Region 3 Director Don Wallace ZL2TLL (New Zealand).

Not pictured was Flavio Archangelo PY2ZX (Brazil) who worked tirelessly with the CITEL group and Dale Hughes VK1DSH (Australia) the sub-working group Chairman who successfully steered the 5 MHz agenda item through to a successful conclusion, IARU President Tim Ellam VE6SH and IARU Region 1 Vice-President Faisal Alajmi 9K2RR (Kuwait/ASMG) .

Photo courtesy of LA2RR

In his report for Day 16 of the conference Colin Thomas G3PSM says:

Discussions took place on suggested frequency bands for possible new or an upgrade of existing allocations to the space operations service within the frequency ranges 150.05-174 MHz, 400.15-420 MHz [and 420-450 MHz] for short duration satellites.

This potential future agenda item is an attempt to overcome the problem of non-amateur nano- and pico-satellites using the amateur service bands. No decision was reached and the document has been passed to plenary for decision.

WRC-15 reports http://rsgb.org/main/blog/category/news/special-focus/wrc-15/

IARU Region 1 http://iaru-r1.org/

IARU Region 3 Conference

IARU-R3 LogoThe ARRL reports on the 16th International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) Region 3 triennial conference held in Bali, Indonesia, October 12-16.

Working Group 2 (WG2) dealt with such operational and technical matters as emergency communication, digital modes, a common APRS frequency, and Region 3 band plans. Titon Dutono, YB3PET, chaired WG2, and ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, served as its secretary. In all, working group members discussed 37 papers and submitted recommendations to the conference for adoption.

Among recommendations adopted was one to ask the IARU Administrative Council to make available information on the use of the Amateur Satellite Service for member societies, satellite groups, Amateur Satellite operators, and concerned radio amateurs. This information would include, but not be limited to, criteria for a satellite to be in the Amateur Satellite Service and the procedure for IARU satellite frequency coordination.

The conference also adopted adjustments to the Region 3 band plans. Region 3 directors will consider making the format similar to that used in Regions 1 and 2.

Read the full ARRL story at
http://www.arrl.org/news/iaru-region-3-conference-opens-with-a-gong-adopts-recommendat

The Chinese Radio Sports Association / Chinese Radio Amateur Club submitted a paper titled Amateur Satellite Guide which said “Amateur satellite projects may rely on a wide range of cooperation between radio amateurs and other parties, as the consequence, the nature of the mission can be complicated. Without a set of definite criterion, the service classification of a mission may not be crystal clear to both satellite operators and other radio amateurs, especially when the radio payload supplies amateur service but also covers certain kind of other tasks.”

The CRSA/CRAC proposed “that the IARU AC shall consider to make available some information on use of the amateur satellite service for member societies, satellite groups, amateur satellite operators as well as concerned radio amateurs.”
http://www.iaru-r3.org/16r3c/docs/055r1%20Amateur%20Satellite%20Guide.docx

CRSA/CRAC paper on the number of radio amateurs – paper also notes Beijing has allocated 135.7-137.8 kHz to the Amateur Satellite Service
http://www.iaru-r3.org/16r3c/docs/054%20CRSA-CRAC%20Report.docx

The Working Group 2 report recommended a common APRS frequency of 144.390 MHz for High Altitude Balloons and terrestrial use. The Region 3 Directors will be consulting with IARU Regions 1 & 2
http://iaru-r3.org/16th-triennial-conference-of-the-iaru-r3-documents/#058

Papers submitted for the conference may be seen at
http://iaru-r3.org/16th-triennial-conference-of-the-iaru-r3-documents/

IARU Region 3 Act on Band Plan Satellite Allocations
https://amsat-uk.org/2015/08/21/iaru-region-3-act-on-band-plan-satellite/