Friday, October 11, 2019

WRC-19 to Get Under Way Later This Month; IARU Keeping Tabs

The 2019 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-19) will soon be under way in Egypt. The four-week gathering of telecommunication officials from around the world begins on October 28 and will set International Telecommunication Union (ITU) policy and determine international frequency allocations for the next four years. 
The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) has observers at the conference and is keeping tabs on several agenda items directly impacting amateur radio. Those include a proposal for greater access to the 6-meter band in Europe and Africa, protecting existing amateur radio bands and setting the agenda for the next WRC, scheduled for 2023.

The IARU's Administrative Council met in late September to finalize plans for WRC-19 and to discuss additional issues, primarily working with standards organizations to try to minimize "spectrum pollution" resulting from non-radio noise sources such as wireless power transfer for charging electric vehicles.

ARRL Reps Meet with Congressional Reps

Members of the ARRL Ad Hoc Legislative Advisory Committee met in September with several members of Congress to "reacquaint the lawmakers with Amateur Radio's most-pressing issues," request their continuing support and "seek their input on the best ways to achieve ARRL's objectives in Congress," according to the ARRL Letter

The committee had previously made a comprehensive review of perceived deficiencies in the Amateur Radio Parity Act, a bill aimed at reducing limitations on amateur radio operation in private land use regulations, and discussed its proposed changes with the members of Congress. At press time, there had been no updates on the results of those meetings.

FCC Says No to Three Hams' Petitions

The FCC has turned down three petitions for rule making filed by hams. According to the ARRL, two of them asked the Commission to limit vanity call options to those available in the call area in which the applicant lives. The third sought FCC pre-emption of state and local distracted driving laws as they apply to using amateur radio transceivers while driving.

On the call sign petitions, the FCC said it has considered the matter more than once in the past and continues to see no real problem that would justify regulatory changes. Regarding distracted driving laws, the Commission said it sees no conflict between those laws and its rules, and that a driver "can comply with these laws by using a hands-free attachment or by parking the vehicle prior to using a handheld device, both of which are contemplated by our rules regarding two-way radios.”