A World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 (WRC-23) agenda item proposing to study a range of frequencies, including potentially reassigning 144 – 146 MHz as a primary Aeronautical Mobile Service allocation, drew little opposition at a meeting of the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) Project Team A. The team is responsible for some aspects of CEPT WRC positions, and the meeting was held June 17 – 21 in Prague, Czech Republic. Introduced by France, the proposal targeting 144 – 146 MHz would be part of a broader consideration of spectrum allocated to the Aeronautical Mobile Service. Another issue addressed during the meeting concerned the sharing of the Amateur Radio 1240 – 1300 MHz band with Europe’s Galileo GPS system.
“We hear only one admin[istration] (Germany) opposed the 144 MHz proposal — no one else,” the UK Microwave Group tweeted following the meeting. Otherwise, it has been carried forward to the higher-level CEPT Conference Preparatory Group (CPG) meeting in August.
The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU), which was represented at the Prague meeting, expressed “grave concern” to any proposal that would include 144 – 146 MHz in the proposed Aeronautical Mobile Services agenda item. That comprises the entire available 2-meter band in ITU Region 1. IARU has pledged to make every effort to fully protect Amateur Radio interests and seek the support of regulators for their view.
IARU Region 1 President Don Beattie, G3BJ, said prior to the meeting that the IARU would “energetically” promote its opposition in Regional Telecommunications Organizations (RTOs) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) “to obtain assurances that the spectrum will remain a primary allocation for the amateur services.”
The 144 – 146 MHz band is allocated globally to the Amateur and Amateur Satellite services on a primary basis, and is the only globally harmonized Amateur Radio VHF band. A widely used segment of the Amateur Radio spectrum, 2 meters supports a broad base of terrestrial users, repeater systems, and satellite stations, including the International Space Station.
According to the meeting minutes, the proposal provides no justification for targeting 144 – 146 MHz, and the IARU believes that sharing with airborne systems likely would be difficult and lead to constraints on the development of the Amateur and Amateur Satellite services there. IARU suggested that alternative proposals might be developed that could provide further spectrum for the aeronautical applications without impacting this Amateur Service spectrum.
IARU is expected to brief member-societies, requesting that they discuss the French proposal with their governments in advance of the August CEPT-CPG meeting. France could seek to introduce the same proposal to study 144 – 146 MHz for aeronautical use into other RTOs.
Meanwhile, further discussion on the 23-centimeter band study proposal is anticipated prior to the Conference Preparatory Group meeting in August. The proposal was raised in the wake of reports of interference to the Galileo navigation system, but IARU has said it’s aware of only “a handful of cases” of reported interference to the Galileo E6 signal on 1278.750 MHz. Work on this issue will continue in other specialized CEPT forums in the interim.
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