A friend brought this news to my attention today. If all this makes its way up the ITU World Radio Conference and gets adopted it is more likely that amateur radio will be kicked out of the 144-146MHz segement as a primary service. Let’s try to get to the bottom of this.
At the end of the Southgate article there is a link to the CEPT website where we can download documents for the upcoming CEPT meeting. The document of interest is called PTA(19)090 (direct link to he document) and consists of a zip file. The zip file contains a PDF document explaining that there is a legit need for non-safety aeronautical applications such as data links for border control, fire surveillance etc. There is lots of blah-blah about not having frequencies clearly identified for that purpose. Among other band the document simply proposes to re-allocate 144-146 on primary basis to aeronautical services for such needs (see page 5 note a)
a) that the band 144-146 MHz is allocated to the Amateur and Amateur-Satellite on a primary basis in all Regions and may be considered for possible new allocations to the aeronautical mobile service on a primary basis;
Yep, primary basis! They intent to kick amateur radio out of the 144-146MHz band, worldwide! This means hams worldwide would be forced to cease any emissions as soon as the primary service is getting on air. No more repeaters, APRS, SSB, you name it… Since aircrafts can have a very large coverage radius when flying high-altitude, cohabitation will be impossible.
There is also a second set of documents from a few french ham radio organizations where we actually learn that this proposal is driven by Thales Group, a manufacturer of unmanned aircrafts.
IMHO ther is no need to panic for now, as this topic will be first discussed at the european level CEPT and from this point on will be moved to global discussion at the next World Radio Conference. The CEPT meeting will be held from June 17th to 21st in Prag CZ, so stay tuned.
Edit: While I was commuting back home I thought “Why the heck target the 2m amateur band ?” And I came to the following conclusion simply because it is already coordinated worldwide. Other bands have different services depending on ITU region or country. 144-146Mhz is allocated to amateur worldwide, this would save lots of hassle and discussion with dozens of different radio services…
Edit 2:I see some rants about ARRL doing nothing. Actually, the ARRL can’t do nothing for now beside monitoring the issue. This is something being discussed at european level and might be submitted or not to the next World Radio Conference. This currently an european thing and I hope that european amteur organizations will be able to stop the proposal before it hits the World Radio Conference agenda !