Strategy and the Spectrum

| December 8, 2017

The recent RSGB Strategic review highlighted a number of priorities including Spectrum and closely related issues of Growth, Research and Participation.

One basic fact is that without spectrum there would be no amateur radio. The RSGB Spectrum Forum is unusual in its extensive range of participants from both inside the Society and external specialist groups. These include experts from HF to microwave enthusiasts and collectively represent a very wide cross-section of the hobby. Overall we take a broad outlook as we recognise there are aspects around Spectrum Access, Developments, Usage and Protection. These range from frequency allocations, licensing and band plans, via new technologies and modes, to EMC, background noise and a host of Ofcom and international matters. Our annual meeting generates a large collection of reports – the 2017 meeting proceedings have just been published and provide a snapshot on amateur radio activity, emerging trends, band plans, EMC, the recent IARU Region 1 Conference and the World Radio Conference in 2019 (WRC-19).

Activities in 2017 included a record effort at the IARU Conference, as well as participation in CEPT preparatory meetings for WRC-19. The agenda includes the goal of 50MHz harmonisation and the innovations we plan for it whilst trying avoid the setbacks we saw with 5MHz and other threats. On the home front we also continue to facilitate innovation via a range of NoVs for additional frequencies at VHF and microwaves.

At a more basic level in 2017 we released illustrated licensing guidance to assist users and trainees and plan to expand this further in 2018. With only a few Spectrum Managers, we are grateful to the wide range of groups and volunteers who work with us on all this.

“The RSGB Spectrum Forum is unusual in its wide and extensive range of participants from specialist groups”

Looking ahead, one of our challenges is participation levels (sometimes termed spectrum occupancy) – spectrum is a valuable resource and we need to demonstrate that we are using it actively. We keep a close eye on licence numbers and band occupancy data, as do the Regulators. The old adage of ‘use it or lose it’ applies to the spectrum we have allocated to us and the Spectrum Forum continues to look at ways to increase amateur activity, particularly at VHF, UHF and microwave.

The Society’s goal for 2022 is to continue to have an active and thriving community. The Spectrum Forum is working hard on a variety of issues throughout the year but we all have a responsibility to our hobby and the next generation. I wish you all the best for 2018 but do please keep an open mind and be prepared to support your hobby – it needs you!

Murray Niman, G6JYB
Chairman, RSGB Spectrum Forum

Category: Front Page News, RSGB Notices, RSGB Strategy 2022