144 MHz and the WRC process

| July 1, 2019

RSGB has been a key part of a joint International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) effort and are working hard on both national and international levels to ensure a positive outcome for World Radio Conference-19 (WRC-19) items (50 MHz, Wireless Power, microwave bands etc) and WRC-23 Agenda proposals (144-146 MHz and 23cms).

With regard to 144-146 MHz, for the avoidance of doubt we have been deeply engaged in the joint IARU effort regarding future agenda items (which has also included 23cm/Galileo). If adopted and agreed, a French proposal would add aeronautical mobile across the global Primary 144-146 MHz amateur and amateur satellite allocation. As proposed, it is not an eviction or re-allocation of amateurs, but nonetheless is unwelcome and presents significant challenges. Unlike some other bands where amateurs do share, aeronautical applications are amongst the most difficult due to the altitudes and long free-space distances involved.

The timeline for future WRC items is much tighter than some may realise with final European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) decisions made during 26-30 August 2019 (CEPT-Conference Planning Group Meeting #9 in Ankara), for those proposals that will then be put forward to ITU WRC-19 in October. If agreed, at WRC, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) would start work on them in Nov-2019 and that would continue during 2020-2023 for WRC-23. Clearly if an item can be kept off the agenda, it can save years of significant effort and uncertainty.

For our region, CEPT Project Team A (CEPT-PTA) is the group that is tasked with such proposals. Briefly to date:-

  • April: CEPT PTA Meeting#6 Bucharest, April 1-5 – This was the first consideration of various proposals including an earlier version of the French aeronautical proposal. The IARU representative succeeded in requesting it be re-scoped to be bands above 146 MHz (instead of bands above 144 MHz).
  • May: Friday 31 May – RSGB attended Ofcom’s preparatory (International Frequency Planning Group) meeting for future agenda items ahead of PTA#7 below, making our positions clear on both 23cm/Galileo and 144 MHz. At the time, the newer French aeronautical proposal (Doc PTA(19)090 which specifically identifies 144-146 MHz)  was not available and no formal position was taken by Ofcom.
  • June: CEPT PTA Meeting#7 Prague, 17-21 June – As widely reported, despite efforts before and at the meeting, most regulators were neutral and the aeronautical proposal was therefore adopted by CEPT. The minutes include a strong statement by IARU but the proposal went forward to the higher level CEPT-CPG body that will decide in late August.
  • For info: CEPT has 48 member states and a proposal needs >10 administrations in favour and no more than 6 objections, thus neutral positions can therefore be quite dangerous. For info in PTA#7 only the German administration (BNetzA) objected to the inclusion of 144-146 MHz. Once agreed a proposal becomes a ‘Common Proposal’ that all 48 states are expected to sign up to and propose at WRC. (Some may also be subject to European Commission policy as well)

Since PTA#7 our work has continued. RSGB has been busy preparing further inputs to stress the importance, innovation, investment and complexity present in the 144 MHz band. We are also in receipt of the latest IARU briefing material as part of ongoing efforts for all Member Societies to lobby their regulators ahead of the August CEPT-CPG meeting. 

We are very aware that this topic has understandably animated and concerned the community, with a number of online petitions amongst other media threads. However it is important that these and other comments should be based on the correct background facts. It would be unfortunate if ‘careless comments cost bands’. 

This issue and indeed our wider work on Spectrum/EMC is an illustration if one was ever needed for amateur radio to speak with a unified voice.  

For further information please also see our focus pages at

Category: Front Page News, WRC-19