The Backbone Of VHF Amateur Radio May Be Under Threat

A story that has been on the burner for several weeks is disturbing proposal to be presented at the ITU 2023 World Radiocommunication Conference. It originates from the French spectrum regulators and is reported to be by order of the Paris-based multinational defense company Thales. The sting in its tail is the proposed fall of amateur radio into the secondary status of the widely used two-meter band (144 MHz) to allow its use by aircraft. The machinations of global spectrum policy do not often provide stories for Hakkai’s readers, but this should raise concerns beyond the narrow confines of amateur radio.

Most parts of the spectrum are shared by more than one user and there are usually primary and secondary occupants whose use depends on not interfering with other users. If you have used 435 MHz radio modems, you will encounter this, this is a tape shared with both radio amateurs and others, including government users. While some countries have wider bandwidth restrictions, the two-meter band between 144 MHz and 146 MHz is distributed with primary status to radio amateurs around the world, and it is this status that is at risk. This is the latest news from ARRL there is little opposition to the pan-European regulator CEPTwhich seems to cause concern among the amateur radio community.

Why should this bother you? If you are a radio amateur, you should be very worried that a group that has provided the “glue” for so many vital services for many decades may be threatened, and if you are not a radio amateur, you should be worried that A commercial defense contractor in a country can so easily give way to the degradation of a globally open resource governed by international treaties written in the time of your grandparents. Amateur radio is a different regulatory entity from the unlicensed spectrum that we now rely on for so many things, but the principle that it is a free resource for all its users remains the same. If you are interested in keeping the spectrum you use anywhere on the dial, we suggest you support your national amateur radio organization to oppose this measure.