At least two European telecommunications regulators appear inclined to give serious consideration to a French proposal to allocate 146 – 148 MHz to the Aeronautical Mobile Service on a primary basis. A number of International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) Region 1 member-societies have written their governments’ regulators, expressing opposition to the proposal, aired at a June CEPT meeting. The matter remains a regional issue at this stage but could become an agenda item for World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 (WRC-23).
In response to a letter from Switzerland’s IARU member-society USKA to telecommunications regulator BAKOM, the agency’s head of frequency planning assured USKA that this was not a matter of depriving radio amateurs of primary use, but said “so-called co-primary” usage of 144 – 146 MHz by both services could be examined.
“We don’t see how the Amateur Radio Service…and the Aeronautical Service could co-exist without operating restrictions,” USKA said in a report that asks, “Is the 2 Meter Band Threatened?” The article’s author, Bernard Wehrli, HB9ALH, advised radio amateurs to keep using 2 meters and to avoid taking on the issue individually. “Of course, our goal is to preserve primary use of the 2-meter band, and we will do our utmost to avert such ‘co-primary’ usage,” Wehrli said, adding that USKA was in close contact with the German and Austrian IARU member-societies.
Meanwhile the Netherlands IARU member-society VERON reports what it called a “disappointing response” from national regulator Agentschap Telecom to a call from Dutch radio amateurs that 144 – 146 MHz be protected. According to VERON, an initial Agentschap Telecom response indicated that the French proposal “fits in with Dutch frequency policy” that encourages joint and shared use of spectrum. VERON said Agentschap Telecom has indicated that it’s necessary to take a good look at actual use of the segment and to have insight into compatibility.
On July 20, radio amateurs in the Netherlands conducted a 2-meter “propagation experiment” aimed, at least in part, at demonstrating that hams use and need the band. “VERON shares the opinion that this proposal has no viability,” the organization asserts, pointing to remarks from IARU President Tim Ellam, VE6SH/G4HUA, that said the proposal to share 144 – 146 MHz would require 4 years of studies and reach the same conclusion.
Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) President Dave Wilson, M0OBW, also wrote to the UK’s telecoms regulator Ofcom, strongly expressing the RSGB’s concerns about the effort to put the issue of including 144 – 146 MHz among bands for Aeronautical Mobile Service use on the WRC-23 agenda.
Wilson said RSGB “views the French proposal as lacking a proper understanding of the implications of sharing an aeronautical application with weak-signal terrestrial and space communications services.”
Ellam told ARRL this week that he’s not concerned that some telecommunications regulators are giving serious consideration to the French proposal at this point. “I think this is just part of the ongoing discussions,” he said.
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