Friday, November 22, 2019

WRC-19 Wraps Up; Hams Gain Worldwide 6-Meter Allocation

The 2019 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-19) in Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt, has concluded with a win for hams who enjoy six meters.

Key achievements overall, according to top International Telecommunication Union (ITU) officials at a wrapup news conference, included identifying new orbital slots for broadcast satellites; setting new rules for non-geostationary satellites, with a focus on "mega-constellations" of small interconnected satellites to provide 5G broadband coverage worldwide; rules for Earth stations in motion to provide greater connectivity for people aboard planes, ships and trains; global harmonization of millimeter bands for 5G while protecting incumbent services; and identifying frequency bands for HAPS - High Altitude Platform Services - which would provide internet access to remote locations via floating platforms roughly 30 miles above the Earth's surface.

The major interest for hams was a proposal to provide worldwide harmonization of amateur allocations at 6 meters, which is not currently designated as an amateur band in ITU Region 1 (Europe, the Middle East and Africa).

Responding to a question from CQ, ITU Terrestrial Services Chief Nikolai Vassiliev reported that the conference had reached final agreement on a worldwide 50-MHz allocation, noting that "this is a very interesting band" capable of supporting communications over several thousand kilometers when conditions are right.

In addition, ITU Space Services Chief Alexandre Vallet assured CQ that the new rules on non-geostationary satellites will apply only to commercial satellites and will have no impact on the Amateur Satellite Service.

We will have more details, particularly on the 6-meter agreement, as they are released.