International Telecommunication Union WRC-12 Weekly
WRC-Weekly - Issue 2
Previous Issue No. 2, 30 January - 3 February 2012

Week Two: Full steam ahead

Protecting lightning detection systems

The conference has given an answer to how lightning detection systems can be protected — in order to protect us. Not only does lightning kill people, it also creates electromagnetic emissions, which automated systems use to detect and predict lightning strikes, for example, the automated Arrival Time Difference (ATD) system in use since 1987. The data provided by the ATD system are used by meteorological organizations worldwide. In particular, the data are valuable in forecasting for aviation, especially over the oceans and the large areas of land where national lightning detection systems do not exist.

ITU-R studies done in the context of agenda item 1.16 and Resolution 671 (WRC-07) on “Recognition of systems in the meteorological aids service in the frequency range below 20 kHz” showed that the use of systems under the MetAids (passive) service in the 8.3−11.3 kHz range was possible while being protected from emissions of other systems. The studies concluded that an allocation to the meteorological aids service (passive) in the 8.3−11.3 kHz frequency band would provide necessary recognition and long-term protection to this application.

Based on these findings, the conference decided to allocate the additional frequencies in which the meteorological aids service is protected by pushing the band down from 9−11.3 kHz to 8.3−11.3 kHz. New provision No. 5.A116 says that use of the 8.3−11.3 kHz frequency band by the meteorological aids service is limited to passive use only.


Existing services also protected

The conference decided that, in the band 9−11.3 kHz, meteorological aids stations cannot claim protection from radionavigation stations notified prior to the date of entry into force of the WRC-12 Final Acts. For radionavigation stations notified after that date, sharing with the meteorological aids service is to be worked out using the most recent version of Recommendation ITU-R RS.1881.

Additional allocations in the frequency band 8.3−9 kHz are given in new footnote 5.B116 to the radionavigation, fixed and mobile services on a primary basis in Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, the Russian Federation, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar, Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic and Tunisia, and in new footnote 5.C116 to the maritime radionavigation and maritime mobile services on a primary basis in China. Resolution 671 has been abrogated, having served its purpose.


Aeronautical mobile to protect other primary services in 37−38 GHz band

A number of countries are deploying space research service earth station receivers in the band 37−38 GHz to support manned near-Earth missions and deep-space missions. Use of the wider bandwidth available in the 37−38 GHz band is necessary to support the increasing data requirements of these missions.

This frequency band is currently allocated on a primary basis to the fixed, mobile, space research (space-to-Earth) and the fixed-satellite (space-to-Earth) services. The aviation community wishes to investigate the possibility of using the band for applications such as wireless avionic intra-aircraft communications to support data, voice, and video communications.

Meanwhile, studies have been carried out in accordance with Resolution 754 (WRC-07): “Consideration of modification of the aeronautical component of the mobile service allocation in the 37−38 GHz band for protection of other primary services in the band”. These studies have shown that the aeronautical mobile service has the potential to cause interference to other systems operating in this band. So under agenda item 1.12, the conference looked at how to protect the primary services in the band 37− 38 GHz from interference.

The conference decided to exclude the aeronautical component of the mobile service allocation in the 37−38 GHz band to ensure a proper protection of existing and planned fixed, space research and mobile services.


Aerospace surveillance

Under agenda item 1.14, the conference addressed the lack of spectrum available for large-scale air and space surveillance operations on the basis of Resolution 611 (WRC-07): “Use of a portion of the VHF band by the radiolocation service”. The development of new applications in the radiolocation service is closely linked with growth in the number of space objects, including artificial debris. These applications are planned for aerospace surveillance and tracking the launch and maneuvering of spacecraft.

The conference approved a new footnote (5.A114), giving an additional allocation in the frequency band 154−156 MHz to the radiolocation service on a primary basis in some countries. The footnote limited usage of the frequency band 154−156 MHz by the radiolocation service to space-object detection systems operating from terrestrial locations. The operation of stations is subject to agreement obtained under No. 9.21 of the Radio Regulations.

Potentially affected administrations in Region 1(Africa, Europe and Arab region) are to be identified using the instantaneous field-strength value of 12 dB for 10 per cent of the time produced at 10 m above ground level in the 25 kHz reference frequency band at the border of the territory of any other administration. In Region 3 (Asia and Australasia), the interference-to-noise ratio value of −6 dB (or −10 dB for applications with greater protection requirements, such as public protection and disaster relief) for 1 per cent of the time produced at 60 m above ground level at the border of the territory of any other administration is to be used to identify potentially affected administrations. Out-of-band equivalent isotropically radiated power (e.i.r.p.) of space surveillance radars must not exceed −16 dBW in the frequency bands 156.7625−156.8375 MHz, 156.5125−156.5375 MHz, 161.9625−161.9875 MHz and 162.0125−162.0375 MHz.

ITU-R studies of the band 154−156 MHz revealed the potential for harmful interference to maritime mobile service safety channels and the automatic identification system (AIS) channels used on aircraft and other high altitude craft. The maritime community wanted maritime services to be given an appropriate level of regulatory protection through the Radio Regulations for existing and planned maritime systems that operate in, or adjacent to, the frequency range 30−300 MHz. These maritime systems include distress, safety and AIS-related operations on search and rescue aircraft and other high altitude craft.

The aviation community, which also operates a number of services in various bands within the frequency range 30−300 MHz, including the instrument landing system and air-ground communications, wanted protection that met the demanding requirements of a safety of life service. Resolution 611 (WRC-07) has been abrogated, having served its purpose.


Convergence between space services

Agenda item 1.2, which covers several different matters, calls on the conference to take appropriate action to enhance the international regulatory framework. Work on convergence between space services has been completed, with the conference deciding that no change is required to the Radio Regulations in this regard.

The convergence of radio technologies and increasing use of digital technologies led to a review of spectrum management practices to ensure that spectrum regulation is keeping pace with this trend. ITU-R studies carried out under Resolution 951 (Rev.WRC-07) on “Enhancing the international spectrum regulatory framework” concluded that there is no need for changes to the international spectrum regulatory framework. Most countries believe that maintaining the current international spectrum regulatory framework provides sufficient flexibility to enable new technologies and convergence of services.


Conference revises and updates Resolutions

Radiation from industrial, scientific and medical equipment

The conference has amended Resolution 63 (Rev.WRC-12) on the “Protection of radiocommunication services against interference caused by radiation from industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) equipment”.

The revised text indicates that the interference analysis method and the radiation limits of ISM equipment, developed by the International Special Committee on Radio Interference (CISPR) to protect analogue radiocommunication systems, may not provide protection to digital radiocommunication systems, which may be more sensitive to interference. This is unacceptable, particularly in the case of systems belonging to radionavigation or other safety services. The variety and evolution of digital technologies used in digital radiocommunication systems suggest a need for continuous review of CISPR Publication 11.

To ensure that radiocommunication services are adequately protected, Resolution 63 (Rev.WRC-12) envisages studies on the limits to be imposed on the radiation from ISM equipment, within and outside the frequency bands designated in the Radio Regulations for this use. It invites ITU-R to provide the necessary characteristics and protection criteria for relevant digital radiocommunication systems in order to enable CISPR to review and update, as needed, the limits on radiation from ISM equipment. ITU-R should also continue, in collaboration with CISPR, its studies relating to radiation from ISM equipment — giving priority to studies that would permit CISPR to define limits in Publication CISPR 11 on radiation from ISM equipment inside all the bands designated in the Radio Regulations for the use of such equipment. The Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau will bring this Resolution to the attention of CISPR.


High-density applications in the fixed service

Resolution 75 (Rev.WRC-12): “Development of the technical basis for determining the coordination area for coordination of a receiving earth station in the space research service (deep space) with transmitting stations of high-density applications in the fixed service in the 31.8−32.3 GHz and 37−38 GHz bands.”

This updated resolution cites Recommendations ITU-R F.1760 and ITU-R F.1765 as benchmarks for methodologies to derive the aggregate equivalent isotropically radiated power (a.e.i.r.p.) for transmitting stations of high-density applications in the fixed service in bands above 30 GHz. The a.e.i.r.p. can be used to assess the potential interference from these stations to other services.


Frequency sharing between the mobile-satellite service and the radio astronomy service

Resolution 125 (Rev.WRC-12): “Frequency sharing in the bands 1 610.6−1 613.8 MHz and 1 660−1 660.5 MHz between the mobile-satellite service (MSS) and the radio astronomy service.”

This revised resolution cites Recommendation ITU-R RA.769 as the benchmark for threshold levels of interference detrimental to the radio astronomy service. ITU-R is to continue studying the effectiveness of Recommendations aiming to facilitate sharing between the MSS and the radio astronomy service, and the Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau will provide the results of the study to a future competent conference. The resolution urges administrations to participate actively in this evaluation.

Wireless access systems including radio local area networks

Resolution 229 (Rev.WRC-12): “Use of the bands 5 150−5 250 MHz, 5 250−5 350 MHz and 5 470−5 725 MHz by the mobile service for the implementation of wireless access systems including radio local area networks.”

According to the updated text, these bands will be used by the mobile service for the deployment of wireless access systems, including radio local area networks, in accordance with the most recent version of Recommendation ITU-R M.1450. In the bands 5 250−5 350 MHz and 5 470−5 725 MHz, the mitigation measures found in Annex 1 to Recommendation ITU-R M.16521 must be implemented to ensure compatible operation with radiodetermination systems. Administrations with existing regulations prior to WRC-03 may exercise some flexibility in determining transmitter power limits.


Conference observes a minute of silence in tribute to the memory of Richard C. Kirby

Richard Cyril KirbyRichard Cyril Kirby died on 26 January 2012 at the age of 89. Having just learned this sad news on Friday (3 February), ITU Secretary-General Dr Hamadoun I. Touré invited the conference to observe a minute of silence in tribute to the memory of Dick Kirby, as the radio community called him.

Dick Kirby was the Director of CCIR, the International Radio Consultative Committee (known under its French acronym CCIR, which stands for Comité consultatif international des radiocommunications). He was Director of CCIR from 1 September 1974 to 28 February 1993. And when CCIR was replaced by the Radiocommunication Sector (ITU–R), following a decision of the Additional Plenipotentiary Conference in Geneva in 1992 to create this Sector, he served as Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau from 1 March 1993 to 31 December 1994.

Dick Kirby was born on 22 November 1922. When he was 14 years old, he was employed by Western Union, learned telegraphy and earned his first Amateur Radio licence. Dick Kirby’s lifelong passion was radio telecommunications. International radio communication standards became an important part of his career when, in 1948, he joined the United States National Bureau of Standards (NBS) in Washington DC. He worked in the Central Radio Propagation Division where he coordinated ITU studies in frequency management for worldwide high frequency (HF). In 1955, Dick Kirby was appointed Chief of the Ionospheric Research Section at NBS, becoming Chief of the NBS Radio Communications Systems Division in 1959. As a physicist and research engineer, he contributed to the development of communications systems using scatter propagation.

His years at the helm of CCIR, then BR, saw a marked increase in the attention paid to telecommunication development. This arose, first, from the need to plan expanding services within developing countries (often for the first time), and second, from the opportunity to introduce new systems, for example, mobile, and thereby exercise a “technology leap-frog” towards present-day technologies. Dick Kirby was very much a part of these developments. During his tenure he worked with others to develop global standards for high-definition television (HDTV), digital sound broadcasting and mobile and satellite communications.

Delegations from all regions of the world asked the Secretary-General to transmit their deepest condolences to Dick Kirby’s family, saying that the ITU community, and ITU–R in particular, had suffered a sad loss.


In brief

Treatment of editorial corrections to the Radio Regulations

A number of typographical and other obvious errors in different languages have been detected in the 2008 edition of the Radio Regulations and reported to WRC-12 by the Bureau and by administrations.

Proposed corrections are under review by the relevant Committees and will be communicated to Committee 7, which will, in turn, consolidate them in a conference document to be noted by the Plenary Meeting.

These editorial corrections will not be included in the Final Acts of WRC-12 but, with the agreement of the conference, the Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau will include them in the subsequent edition of the Radio Regulations.


Not an official document – For information only.


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